The cross country season is finally all wrapped up. This was quite possibly the most successful season in DXC history. The girls finished with their 4th state title in the past 5 years, a 6th straight region title, 3 all-state athletes (Shea, Madi, and Joanna), 1 individual state champ (Shea), a 6th place finish in the competitive Nike Southwest Regional, and a boat-load of PRs. The boys finished with a 2nd place state finish in one of the strongest years ever, a 16th straight region title with a record team time, 4 all-state athletes (Brad, Brayden, Preston, Logan), a 2nd place finish at the Nike Southwest Regional, some awesome PRs, and finally a 3rd place finish at the Nike National Championships.
The trip to NXN was absolutely amazing. Not only were the boys able to spend time on the Nike campus with Olympians, but we were able to run our best TEAM race of the year against the greatest teams in the U.S. The 5k course in Portland is one of the most challenges courses we run. It takes a great amount of physical strength, mental toughness, and TEAMwork. Our boys really came through in a year that ended up being one of the fastest in NXN history. Our goal was to come home with a trophy - a "podium finish". We knew we had a shot at top 3, but that it would take a strong race. Our plan was to go out aggressively, establish our position, and then be tough as we moved over the final mile of the course.
We were on the far right side of the starting line - box 31 out of 33. It ended up being a perfect box for our race plan. We were set up on the outside around the first long turn 400m into the race. Our boys stayed outside around the turn and established their position. By the time they reached the first timing chip check point at 1k, we showed up on the screen in 3rd place behind Carroll, Texas and Christian Brothers, NJ. As I squinted across the course to the big screen at the finish line, I could barely tell that Davis was listed in 3rd. Being in the right position helped our boys to relax, but also to run with the excitement that we were doing what we set out to do. The boys looked great over the first 3k. They worked together and were able to move slightly up through the pack. Brad and Brayden were moving very well together around 45th place - with mostly individuals in front of them (those who didn't count in the team score), Preston was running in the pack about 5 seconds back, and Logan and Skylar were moving their way through the group together about 10 more seconds back. Plus we had our 6th man, Alex, running really close to where Logan and Skylar were. When the scores flashed up again at mile 2, we had held our 3rd position - and we had moved up about 20 points. Carroll and Christian Bros were very close at the top, and we were about 80 points back. Over the final 2k of the race, we had to really dig deep to keep our top 3 spot. It was all about heart, desire, and determination. I could tell that the boys were not going to give in - they were going to run like horses all the way to the finish. Over that final mile, every one of them raced with pure guts. We picked up another 15-20 spots as a TEAM and established our spot on the podium as some of the teams right behind us began to fade.
In the finish area, we weren't positive that we had held on to 3rd place, but we were pumped because we knew the boys had run a very strong race - just what we thought it would take. They grabbed us for an interview, which told us we must be in the mix. They were also interviewing Arcadia (last year's champs), so we weren't assured our top 3. I was really pleased with the boys interviews - they gave credit to their teammates for pushing them and for working together to get there and for racing with heart. Finally they gave us the word that we needed to move over to the awards stand because we were top 3. The boys were so excited. There were a lot of hugs and a lot of smiles. We could not have been prouder as coaches - Brad had a huge smile and kept saying "We did it!"; I think we high-fived about 30 times in the finish area. They had worked so hard for this moment--making it so satisfying. We were all smiles on the stage as the CEO of Nike presented us with the Nike Goddess Trophy (see attached picture). At the closing ceremonies later that night, the boys were each given mini Nike Goddess trophies.
The 3rd place finish is the highest by any Utah team (boys or girls) in the 8 year history of the race. The boys teams to make it in the past include Mt View (2004), Alta (2008), American Fork (2009-2010-2011) and the Davis boys in 2010 and 2011. The Utah girls teams have been Fremont (2004-2005) and Davis (2007). It is a representation of our entire TEAM and all of the hard work from every runner and all of the support that we give each other.
I have posted a bunch of pictures on facebook if you have not yet had the opportunity to see them. I will also try to post some video on youtube and send out the link. You can see a lot of the race videos at www.runnerspace.com
It was truly a great day in DXC history:
Brad Nye - 15:57, 15th place (TEAM score)
Brayden Cromar - 15:59, 18th place
Preston Johnson - 16:09, 32nd place
Logan Wood - 16:13, 34th place
Skylar Williams - 16:29, 58th place
Alex Hedquist - 16:40, 77th place
Jackson Sagers - 17:14, 125th place
1. 91 - Lincroft (Christian Brothers), NJ
2. 95 - Carroll, TX
3. 157 - Davis, UT
4. 183 - Arcadia, CA
5. 255 - Palatine, IN
6. 257 - American Fork, UT
What's next? Let's put a lot of focus into preparing for the indoor and outdoor seasons by working hard and increasing our mileage to give us the base we need to be setting PRs through April and May.
Can we make it back in a year? You betcha. The boys and the girls! But it will take 362 days of heart, sacrifice, discipline, teamwork, humility, and determination. We will face challenges along the way, but the satisfaction that comes at the end of the road will be worth it.
Thanks again for the opportunity to coach you and to be a part of this great TEAM. Thanks for being committed and for putting the TEAM first.
Much Love -