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Draper Journal

JDCHS cross country ready to run

Sep 07, 2018 01:31PM ● By Jana Klopsch

Juan Diego senior Noah Reninger was one of two Soaring Eagle runners at the 4A state championships last year and is back to help lead his team to a chance in the postseason. (Photo courtesy Julie Talbott)

By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]

Senior Noah Reninger and junior Kristi Deffner, who both placed ninth at the 2017 Region 11 championships, return for the Juan Diego Catholic High School cross-country teams to lead a young squad this season.

Senior Patrick Ulmer and sophomores Keegan Gilbert and Kenyon Johnson will also be looked to for significant contributions to the boys squad while junior Kiely Rasmussen returns to help lead the girls team along with junior Lizzy Raven, who sat out last year with a knee injury after a productive freshman season. 

“It’s tough, given our small size,” Head Coach Julie Talbott, who is in her fourth year, said. “Quite a few of our key runners graduated in the spring, so we have a young team, especially for the boys.”

“I believe that this upcoming season will be great for the team,” Reninger said. “We have some great kids putting it all out there and I think all of us will see some impressive personal bests this season.” 

“I’m pretty excited for this cross-country season,” Deffner said. “We have a lot of new girls and most people returning from last year, which I think will really give us a stronger and more united team and I think that we will have a great season this year.” 

Talbott also noted the addition of freshman Valeria Rico, one of the top runners for Saint John the Baptist Middle School last season. “We have also attracted additional girls to the team, which is great, because we have always had a very small team,” Talbott said. “The next couple of years will be an exciting development period for us.” 

The teams have been training with a focus on “building a solid endurance base,” according to Talbott, while also building core strength to avoid preventable injuries. 

Also on the 2018 squad are seniors Hailey Hilliard, Tommy Howells and Nick Kasue; juniors Sierra Bieling, Braxton Castellano, Aspen Hodlmair, Kendall Neuman, Elizabeth Raven, Alex Talbott, Preston Tenney, Ashley Tynan and Liam Vogel; sophomores Aidan Hodlmair, Aaron Kolff, Landon Johnson, Thomas Kuhrke, Samantha Lengerich, Vivian Lundeen and Ana Rico; and freshmen, Kel Vogel and Haley Welker. 

“The team has done a lot to prepare for the season,” Reninger said. “We have been training every morning and have been pushing ourselves with every workout.” 

“A lot of people have been coming to practices over the summer which leads to a stronger team,” Deffner said. “We’ve been pushing each other to run farther and faster and it’s amazing to see all the hard work come together. It’s awesome to see the difference from the beginning of the summer to the end, and I hope that everyone just keeps improving from here.” 

Talbott will be assisted by Joe Elliott on the coaching staff again this season. 

“We are working on developing a strong and consistent team,” Talbott said. “We are continuing to expand our program and coach our team in a way that provides both the physical and mental skills needed for each athlete to continually progress throughout the year.” 

At the Highland Invitational Aug. 17, Deffner placed sixth individually to lead the girls to a 16th place finish in the JV division. Rasmusen (44th), Hodlmair (94th), Bieling (161st), Lengerich (203rd) and Welker (261st) also finished among the 297 runners.

For the boys, Reninger finshed in 50th place, leading the team to a 28th place finish with Kasue (190th) Ulmer (192nd), Johnson (249th), Johnson (254th), Howells (327th), Talbott (332nd , Castellano (333rd), Liam Voegl (349th), Kel Vogel (404th) and Kuhrke (419th) among the 433 runners. 

Juan Diego will also compete at the Round Valley Trail Complex in Park City Aug. 23, Wheeler Farm Aug. 29, the Cottonwood Complex Sept. 5, Tooele Sept. 12, the Bob Firman Invite in Boise, Idaho Sept. 21–22, the Park City Invite Sept. 28 and the Catholic Championship at Wheeler Farm Oct. 3. The region championship is scheduled for Oct. 10 at the Cottonwood Complex with the 4A state championship Oct. 17 at Sugar House Park. 

“We want to send a full girls and boys team to state, rather than individuals,” Talbott said. “There is a strength in numbers, and we want our runners to have that success as well as the additional support and motivation that the team provides.” 

“I can’t wait to see what we can do this season!” Deffner said.