The Utah State 1A Cross Country Championship was held on Thursday, October 12, at the Rose Park Regional Athletic Complex in Salt Lake City.
Left to right, photos by Jerry Melrose:
Madelyn “Maddie” Osterhout, Valley senior, paced herself into a stellar career-concluding seventh place [21:11.60] among a field of 72 runners. She led other Womens Team members: fellow-senior #30 Kaitlynn Baird [24:09.60], junior #43 Kaylee Brinkerhoff [25:29.60] and sophomore #49 Leah Lunceford [26:03.03].
Warren Spencer, Buffalos junior, in top-form on his way toward a fifth place ribbon and medallion. His time of 17:48.20 in the 5,000 Meter event was a Personal Record (PR) for the season. Other Valley runners in the field of 101 competitors were freshman #63 Ammon Lacey [21:38.20], freshman #68 Dallin Lee [21:45.60] and junior #89 Hadley Harris [23:45.50]. Photos by Rachel Spencer.
In reviewing Valley’s 2023 campaign, first-time Head Coach Emily Lacey shared some insights regarding the Buffalos’ achievements, saying, “The 2023 Cross Country season in Valley was excellent! We had more than 30 athletes compete this year,” she candidly notes. “Many of them began training in the summer. Everyone made significant progress and met many goals. There were so many celebrations it’s hard to begin to list them. A few highlights include Warren Spencer winning first [18:01.30] at Piute and fifth [17:48.20] at State. Maddie Osterhout regularly placed in the Top-Five and came away with seventh [21:11.60] at State. Our Varsity Womens Team (including Kaylee Brinkerhoff [25:29.60] for 43rdplace and Leah Lunceford [26:03.30] for 49th-place at State) was the most competitive we’ve ever had, with several second-place finishes after (the eventual) State champs, Panguitch (with three Top-10 racers there: #1 Tabi Henrie [19:03.60], #4 Brooke Albrecht [19:46.00] and #6 Annie Yardley [20:21.30] for a total of 41 Team points). Several times our fastest three women were in the Top-10, with athletes winning their first-ever medals and Top-10 finishes.”
Addressing the squad’s up-and-comers, she adds, “Another highlight was the middle school girls’ team. They brought home the trophy twice, including a great win at home. Kloe Crofts and Kassidee Cox battled each other all season, pushing each other to faster races each week! The middle school boys’ team saw some great races, with Tristan Ingram bringing home the win, and always Top-Five. Several athletes met personal goals, starting with running the whole race. Not every goal ends in a medal, but each day of dedication, and effort, and determination paid off. And every athlete left feeling like they accomplished something worthwhile.”
Then, with her concluding observations, states, “Our trip to State was a great experience! The race was extra special as we cheered our seniors, Maddie O. and Kaitlynn Baird [24:09.60 for 30th-place] in their final race. Elora Williams (recording a 16th-place Personal Record [24:25.60] set on October 12 during the Valley Invitational Meet at Thunderbird’s Golf Course), also, finished her final season with us; but left for Europe before State. We were ready for the day, and every single Valley runner ran a Personal Best at State! This is a rare occurrence, and we are so proud of our team. Way to go, Valley Buffalos!”