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Cottonwood Heights Journal

A dedicated group of runners from the Brighton cross country team has already gotten plenty of work under their belts for the 2019 season.

Aug 29, 2019 09:03AM ● By Josh McFadden

The Brighton cross country team continues to grow and improve. Head coach Angie Welder hopes this season leads to more success at state. (Photo courtesy of Angie Welder)

By Josh McFadden | [email protected]

While many of their peers may have been relaxing by the pool, cooling off in the mountains or staying out of the heat in some other way, members of the Brighton cross country team were preparing for the season in near-triple-digit temperatures.

Such is the life of a cross country runner. 

To be successful in a competitive region, Brighton head coach Angie Welder knows her squad needs to work hard and continually improve. She believes the program is making strides to achieve those objectives. 

Last season, the girls teams reached the state championships, but the boys fell agonizingly short, barely missing the postseason.

“I expect to send both varsity boys and girls to the state championships this year,” Welder said. “Our varsity boys missed it by one measly point. That resonated with many returning athletes, and I know that they’ve got the desire and motivation to make sure that they get there this year. The talent is there, and if the work and commitments remains as it has so far, I have no doubt Brighton will be well represented at the state championship in October.”

Welder is excited about the boys squad because she believes it is her best squad in years. Speedy sophomore Adam Kohlmann is the boys team’s lone returning state qualifier. Senior Alec Searle continues to improve and has become a team leader. Welder said he has “perfect form and a speed that will certainly help our team as the season progresses.”

On the girls side, Welder highlighted sophomore Cara Rupper.

“[She] is one of the most dedicated runners on the team,” she said. “Cara is not only a fast runner, but she’s mentally about as tough as they get, and she’s one that looks forward to a killer workout. I’m excited to watch her lead our varsity girls team.”

The Bengals have plenty of challenges ahead this season, but Welder knows a positive attitude and a desire to perform well isn’t something this team lacks. She said most of her runners ran between 200 and 250 miles this summer, with some athletes going even farther. This included running together as teammates and solo runs on the weekends and in the evening. 

“This particular group of kids has the commitment and desire to bring their best every day to practice,” she said. “You can’t teach commitment and hard work; that has to come from the athlete. This group of runners has that. They encourage each other, they work hard, and they show up every day, even when its 100 degrees, because they know that every practice is a deposit in the bank and that the fall season depends on the work done at practice every single day.”

Brighton will face some new opponents this season, as it moves to Region 6 from Region 7. Other teams are closer to Brighton, making travel easier. Welder and her runners are looking forward to seeing some new faces and encountering new challenges