Brighton girls cross-country run to ninth-place showing at state
Nov 06, 2018 01:52PM
● By Jana Klopsch
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
Entering this season, the Brighton girls cross-country team had little experience under its belt. But that didn’t stop the Bengals from performing well during the year, especially at state when it counted most.
Brighton competed against numerous other school at the 5A state meet, Oct. 17 at Sugar House Park and Highland High School. After all athletes had run, the Bengals emerged in ninth place. Not bad for a team that returned just one competitor with state experience from last year.
“I was so proud of our varsity girls for securing a top-10 finish,” said head coach Angie Welder. “After not even sending a full varsity team last year, this marks a huge milestone in the growth and progress of Brighton cross-country.”
Youth was served for the Bengals at the state meet. There was only one senior on the Brighton team this season, and its top three finishers at state were underclassmen. Freshman Caroline Rupper had the best results for the Bengals. She finished 15th overall with a time of 19:06. Sophomore Jocelyn Summers ran the state meet race in 20:06, good enough for 44th. Bailee Giles, a junior, was right behind in 45th place with a time of 20:07.
Considering how young her team was and how little experience it had in state meets, Welder was thrilled with her team’s effort and accomplishments.
“Our athletes performed extremely well at the state championship,” she said. “Our varsity girls team knew all season long that making it to the state championship was the end goal. They never lost sight of that. It was exciting to see how everyone would react to the experience. I couldn’t have been prouder of their performance. Last year, we didn’t qualify either our girls or boys team and only sent two athletes who qualified individually. This year, we easily secured a qualifying spot and placed in the top 10 for 5A. That’s huge progress in one year.”
On the boys side, the Bengals sent freshman Adam Kohlmann to state. He finished the course in 17:33.
“It’s pretty rare for a freshman to compete in the state championship, so it was awesome for Adam to have that experience,” Welder said.
As a team, the boys missed out on qualifying for state by just one point at the region meet.
“After working so hard all season, I will never forget looking at the final results at region and realizing that our varsity boys missed qualifying by one single point. It was heartbreaking. They worked so incredibly hard all season, and to be so close to making it to the state championship was hard. That said, I think it motivated the boys to work even harder next year to secure that qualifying spot.”
This season’s success didn’t come without hard work and commitment from every athlete. It was gratifying to Welder to see her team members embrace the challenge. She also loved how her older runners gelled so well with newcomers and made them feel part of the squad.
“What I will remember most about this year is watching these athletes develop a pure love for running and competing,” she said. “They welcomed tough workouts, knowing it would make them better and stronger runners. Beyond that, I was genuinely impressed with how our seniors mentored our younger runners. Our senior runners stepped up and welcomed our new freshmen and sophomores openly and helped to create an environment where everyone got along and worked together.”
Though the 2019 season is several months away, Welder is already looking forward to seeing how her athletes build on the momentum from this season. She’s optimistic about the prospects of continued development.
“I can’t wait for 2019,” she said. ‘We’ve got a lot of momentum for next year, and I truly believe that our athletes will be faster and younger. We are young, but our young runners are our fastest. My expectation next year is to send a full varsity girls and boys team to the state championship.”