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Draper Journal

Young runners leading JDCHS cross country

Oct 04, 2021 11:55AM ● By Catherine Garrett

Juan Diego Catholic High School sophomore Ethan Stevens recently took fifth at pre-state Sept. 15 against a stacked field. (Photo courtesy Joe Elliott)

By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]

The Juan Diego Catholic High School cross country program return a young squad from teams that placed in the top 20 at last year’s state championships. The Soaring Eagle team has just three seniors—Parker Chamberlain, Emmy Martinez and Lucas Ortiz—among its 45 runners this year.

“We don’t have a lack of talent, we just have young talent,” said head coach Joe Elliott. “We just need to make sure they get their miles and keep them healthy while they’re developing.”

The boys team is led by junior Phil Reilly while the girls squad’s No. 1 runner is Ethan Stevens.

Elliott said he has “high hopes for where we’re going to end up,” in the 3A ranks. “This is a driven group who has worked hard,” Elliott said. “Everyone’s fast, but I know what they’re capable of and they’re right where they were last season and even better.”

Juan Diego “ran as good as we could” through the first couple of races this season before competing at Wardle Fields Sept. 8 where Stevens placed first to lead the girls team to first place. Other top 10 runners were Isabella Pickers (second), Olivia Young (seventh) and Allie Sloan (eighth). 

On the boys side, Reilly came in second for the Soaring Eagle squad who took second place as a team. Gabe Woods finished fourth with Shepherd Foy in seventh.

“The team ran pretty well,” Elliott said. “We definitely went out and raced instead of going on a glorified run, so that’s the development we want to see. It was the step we needed as a team so we’ve got to keep taking them every race from here on out.”

At the pre-state meet Sept. 15 at the Regional Athletic Complex, Stevens placed fifth in the 9/10 girls race with Pickers coming in 11th and also receiving a medal. They led the girls to ninth place among 16 teams. The boys placed 13th out of 21 teams.

“We had some pretty strong showings against the teeth of 5A and 6A competition,” Elliott said. “We were just focused all day, and executed with tons of our kids hitting personal bests. So, overall it was another solid step in the season.”

Juan Diego hosted a regional race Sept. 22 with Stevens finishing first among the girls and Reilly winning the boys race while leading his team to first overall. “We defended the home turf in the first meet here in seven years,” Elliott said.

The Soaring Eagle team is also scheduled to compete at the Sanpete Invite (Fairview) before the region championships Oct. 14 at Wheeler Farm. The 3A state championships will be held Oct. 27 at the Regional Athletic Complex.

Also on the 2021 squad are juniors Jasper Abanto, Emily Anderson, Maren Carbaugh, Madi Chamberlain, Elizabeth Cruz, Elijah Earhart, Jacob Galang, Emmalyn Jacobs, Noah Jones, Nicole Merhi, Alexus Quayson-Sackey, Emma Shami, Jackson Shemwell, Zach Weller and Jessie Whitehead; sophomores Sara Brunslik, Elizabeth Cruz, John Deffner, Hobie Hodlmair, Rantic Ishanov II, Thomas Jones, AJ Lefort, Curran Madden, Aidan Mulligan, Adriana Newton, Connor Orges, Maude Poirier and Dylan Rodriguez; and freshmen Dylan Angerbauer, Noah Ceballos, Hunter Chamberlain, Lauren Keegan, Domiona Marine, Jackson Stolz, Matthew Tita and Roberto Villeta.

“We just want to keep working hard and get faster,” Elliott said.

Elliott is being assisted by former Soaring Eagle runners Kristi Deffner and Thomas Kuhrke on the coaching staff this season.