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Draper Journal

JDCHS runner best in state

Dec 16, 2021 09:30AM ● By Catherine Garrett

JDCHS sophomore Ethan Stevens won the 3A state girls cross country title Oct. 27 at the Regional Athletic Complex in Rose Park. (Photos courtesy Ethan Stevens)

By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]

Juan Diego Catholic High School sophomore Ethan Stevens won the 3A state girls cross country individual title in a time of 19:28 Oct. 27 at the Regional Athletic Complex, coming in nearly four seconds faster than Carbon’s Beverly Lancaster.

“I had envisioned Ethan’s race and it happened just as I had seen it. It was mind blowing and I was just going crazy,” said head coach Joe Elliott. “Of all the thousands of kids that lace up their shoes, very few get to end the season with a gold medal. It is so rare and it was pretty awesome.”

“It felt good to win,” Stevens said. “I was really happy with my performance.”

Stevens was in fourth place in the race at the first and second mile markers before beginning to pass the leaders, including Lancaster in the final 100 meters. 

“I just started thinking of how I wanted to be able to accomplish winning state and that seemed to be enough in sprinting at the end,” Stevens said. 

“Ethan had been getting better and better as the season progressed and is such a great runner. I knew there was a shot, especially since there was no clear favorite,” Elliott said. 

The Region 15 champion led the girls team to an eighth place finish as a squad. Other placers at state were sophomores Isabelle Pickers, Allie Sloan, Maude Poirier, Olivia Young, freshman Domiona Marine and junior Nicole Merhi.

Growing up, Stevens said tag was a favorite game and then running became the sport of choice by middle school. “It’s definitely a hard, painful sport and there have been times where I hated it, but it is very validating,” Stevens said.

The sophomore from South Jordan said, “Running has shown me that I’m way more competitive than I thought and that I can definitely work harder than I thought I could to reach my goals.”

The JDCHS boys team also placed eighth at state behind junior Patrick Reilly’s 19th-place individual finish. Also competing in the Soaring Eagle team lineup at state was sophomore Gabe Woods, freshman Shepherd Foy, sophomore Hobie Hodlmair, sophomore Curran Madden, senior Emmy Martinez and sophomore Connor Orges.

“It was a dog fight every day for the boys and they made each other better throughout the course of the season,” Elliott said. 

Elliott said that the more than 40 runners on his team showed up every day competing against themselves and each other to produce a “special team” and a “special year.”

“Toward the second half of the season, I could see that this young and talented group was really good, from the fastest to slowest and they did the best with what they had,” he said. “It wasn’t any magic workouts I’m producing. This is just a bunch of kids who worked hard and pushed each other all year to improve. It’s startling how much ground we’ve covered this year in a season of growth. And, we’ve got a lot of kids coming back next year who are already wanting to work and get better for next year.”