Alta boys place third in state cross country meetDec 01, 2023 10:50AM ● By Josh McFadden
Alta’s boys cross country team finished third at the 5A state championships. (Photo by Roger V. Tuttle)
In a highly competitive field, the Alta boys cross country ran with the best Class 5A had to offer. And the Hawks weren’t far from winning a state title.
Alta was the top Region 6 team at the state meet; the next-closest league opponent was Brighton, which placed seventh. But the Hawks were 81 points ahead of the Bengals, distancing themselves as the top Region 6 team. Among all teams in 5A, Alta was third, 37 points out of first and 27 behind the second-place team, Viewmont. Maple Mountain captured the 5A crown.
Alta had two of the top eight individual runners at the state championships and three in the top 22. The fastest time for the Hawks came from sophomore Aidan Neal, who had a blazing time of 15:42, good enough for sixth place. In eighth place overall and second for Alta was senior Cooper Walbeck, who had a time of 15:51.2. Fellow senior Cameron Archer was 22nd overall, running the race in 16:12.6. A pair of juniors came next for the Hawks. Jack Jensen was 37 with a time of 16:27.9, while Ethan Mendes ran the course in 16:34.9 to finish 46th.
Two other Alta runners took part in the 5k race at the state championships Oct. 26. Senior Kevin Law had a time of 16:55.5. Meanwhile, Myles Jessen, just a freshman, finished in 17:15.3.
The third-place finish was a big improvement from last year’s 17th-place showing. Neal improved to sixth from 54th the year before.
The Alta girls placed 15th at the championships. The top Alta runner was Camilla Grant, who was 56th in the race with a time of 20:45.2. Six other Alta runners finished the race in under 22 minutes. Only 36 seconds separated junior Ruby Lewis, senior Natalie Walsh, freshman London Vierkant, sophomore Katelyn Vickers, freshman Avery Baker and senior Katie Koski. The girls improved significantly from last season. At the 2022 championships, only two Hawks participated, and Alta didn’t place among all the 5A schools.
Both the boys and girls will have some strong runners back next season. Among those who ran at state, five girls team members and four boys team runners will return to the Hawks in 2024. λ