“We have a mix of both experienced senior varsity runners and talented but inexperienced freshman runners,” Martin said. “It will be interesting to see how this all comes together over the next two months as we compete for an opportunity to participate in the state championships in October.”
The team participated in regular early morning summer workouts during the months of June and July to build up the stamina that is necessary to run a three-mile race.
“We try and get the team conditioned during the summer so team members can come to the first day of practice in shape and ready to compete,” Martin said.
The team practices every morning beginning at 6 a.m., doing long, hard, steady runs combined with speed work on the high school track and running steep hills, Martin said.
“We spend time at each practice focusing on proper running form, endurance, strength and speed,” he said.
This year’s boys’ team is anchored with seven returning letterman from last year’s state qualifying team, including seniors Treyton Helquist, Adam Jenkinson, Skyler Johnson and Jackson Knowles. Junior Andrew Hugentober and sophomore Cody Jones are also returning to lead the boys’ team, which finished in eighth place at last year’s state championships.
Newcomers to the team include freshman Aaron Hawks, Alan Snow, Cameron Wakefield and Mackay Wakefield.
“Treyton Helquist, Adam Jenkinson, Jackson Knowles and Andrew Hugentobler give us a very solid top four runners,” Martin said. “We will spend the early part of the season watching to see who on the team steps up to take that fifth position on the varsity team.”
The girls’ team includes two returning state qualifiers, senior Mercedes James and sophomore Annie Heywood. Joining the two veteran runners are freshman Jayelyn Knowles and Alexa Pierce.
“Though we have a small number of runners on our girls’ team this season, there is a considerable amount of talent and I expect that they will compete at every meet,” Martin said.
Martin is assisted in coaching the team by assistant coaches Brandi Heywood and Greg Poettgen.
The team’s challenging schedule opens up on Thursday, Aug. 22 with one of the premier races in high school cross country – the Highland Invitational in Salt Lake City. The team also has cross country meets scheduled in Monroe, Castle Dale and Blanding and Grand Junction, Cortez and Delta, Colo.
The team’s only home meet of the season is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 25 at the Moab Golf Course. The cross country season concludes with region and state meets in mid-October.