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Draper Journal

Chargers run off with state title

Jan 17, 2019 12:27PM ● By Catherine Garrett

Corner Canyon’s boys cross-country team reacts to the news that the Chargers had won the 5A state title over nationally ranked Skyridge Oct. 17 at Sugarhouse Park. (Photo courtesy Devin Moody)

The Region 7 champion Corner Canyon boys cross-country team came into the 5A state championships Oct. 17 at Sugarhouse Park knowing they were up against one of the best teams in the country in 21st-ranked Skyridge. The Chargers were led by three runners in the top 10 with junior Mark Boyle — Region 7’s individual champion who finished in second place, six seconds back of Springville’s Grant Gardner — and fellow All-State runners junior Alex Harbertson, who came in seventh, and junior Caleb Johnson, who placed ninth to win the title.

“It was a special moment to see the boys hold up the trophy and see them overcome with joy,” head coach Devin Moody said. “It felt so rewarding. It was even more special to watch the exact moment when they found out; that was like a moment from a movie. It was just pure joy and an overwhelming sense of pride. They knew it was possible, but we came in knowing how good Skyridge was and knew it would be a huge upset if we could pull it off.”

Boyle said it felt “surreal” to win the championship he began dreaming about during the summer after a team time trial. Throughout the season, Corner Canyon ran well, but “Skyridge was always a step ahead,” according to Boyle. “At state, we didn’t have a real strategy to beat them. We just ran our race like every other one,” he said. “Our coach structures our training to peak very late in the season and that is why we only had mediocre races leading up to state. I think this strategy is the way to go and paid off in the form of a state championship win.”

Junior Nate Beltran (13th) and junior Arik Manwaring (16th) — who achieved Second Team All-State and 3rd Team All-State recognition, respectively — also scored for Corner Canyon in leading the Chargers to a 12-point win over the Falcons. Senior Stephen Glod (34th) and senior Peter Oldham (60th) also competed at state for the 5A championship.

Moody said that despite the “high stakes” of the state meet, he encouraged his athletes to look at the race as “another day at the office.”

“That was a key element to our victory,” Moody said. “We didn’t get caught up in the ego of being better than anyone else or the prize of getting a trophy. Our main goal at the end of the day was to execute our race plan and let the chips fall where they may. There was a sense of calm and they were ready and prepared.”

At the Region 7 meet the week before state, Corner Canyon placed six runners in the top 10 in a “fast race” behind Boyer, Harbertson (second), Beltran (fourth), Manwaring (fifth), Glod (seventh) and Johnson (10th). Oldham and Jake Orr also finished 11th and 15th, respectively. 

“Our boys stayed relaxed and patiently waited until the second and third miles to make their move,” Moody said. “They executed perfectly in running patiently and working as a pack. It was the perfect mental preparation for state.”

Boyle said a “solid performance” at region brought the Chargers to a more even level with Skyridge heading into state.

The Chargers had placed sixth in the 2017 state race and Moody said this year’s group embraced the “underdog” role. “No one had us on their radar,” he said. “It worked in our favor and we just slowly improved the whole season and had our best race when it mattered most.” 

On the girls side, defending 5A champion Karli Branch, who was also the Region 7 individual champion, finished in fourth place in her final high school race. The senior led Corner Canyon to eighth place as a team, just six points out of sixth place.

Junior Kallyn Chynoweth (31st), junior Jaden Singleton (43rd), junior Kali Richardson (63rd), freshman Avery Hartey (64th), sophomore Maryn Granger (82nd) and junior Alexia Larsen (99th) also competed at state for Corner Canyon.