LAYTON — Mountain Crest boasts a pantheon of excellent runners in the storied past of its cross country and track and field programs — a collection of region champions and state champions that have made the school a powerhouse in both sports.
Now the Mustangs can add another pair of names to that growing list.
Senior runner Neal Ferrin won the Region 5 boys cross country race, finishing in 16 minutes and 2 seconds and junior Laura Hatch was the top finisher, with a time of 19 minutes and 7.6 seconds, in the girls race at Layton City Park Wednesday afternoon.
There wasn't much doubt Mountain Crest would win both races. It was a matter of which Mustang runner would come out on top.
Ferrin bested three of his teammates — Kevin Dickey, Zak Dymock and Skylar Riggs — for his region title. In the girls race, Hatch outlasted fellow Mountain Crest juniors Talina Nelson and Whitney Curtis for the top spot.
For Ferrin, this is the perfect build up for the 4A meet at Sugar House Park next week.
"If you have a good region race, it definitely boosts your confidence for state," Ferrin said.
Ferrin's confidence should be higher than the trees after making the most of his chance to fill a void left by the departure of last season's strong senior class and finally seeing his name in the same company as former Mustang champions like Justin Hedin.
"There were a lot of good seniors that graduated (earlier) this year," Ferrin said. "It's awesome to even be compared to them. They're great runners."
Hatch credited earning her first region title to making substantial strides in her running skills since her sophomore season. She feels like she reached this point because she not only has a stronger appreciation for the sport, but also gets more enjoyment out of it.
"I've just had fun with it," Hatch said. "Having fun with it I really think makes you run faster. I tried to have that kind of attitude about it this year."
There were a few runners that shined for the rest of the region:
Woods Cross senior Sarah Edwards was the top finisher not in a Mountain Crest uniform on the girls side. Edwards took fourth place with a time of 19 minutes and 52.9 seconds. Box Elder's Hope McConkie rounded out the top five, finishing 2.1 seconds behind Edwards.
Bonneville and Roy also had top-10 finishers. Lakers junior Felicia Hammons claimed ninth place with a time of 20 minutes and 16.5 seconds. Royals sophomore Shaina Kassebaum came in 10th, 3.8 seconds behind Hammons.
On the boys side, Bountiful sophomore Cubby Taylor finished in 16 minutes and 31.7 seconds to claim fifth place. A pair of Roy runners, Brett Lechtenberg and Justin Berry, finished sixth and seventh respectively.
Woods Cross, Bonneville and Sky View grabbed the remaining top-10 spots. Wildcats senior Zach Zimmerman finished eighth with a time of 16 minutes and 55.1 seconds. Lakers senior Lorne Nelson was ninth with a finishing time 8.3 seconds behind Zimmerman's. Bobcat junior Devin Pierson came in 10th place, crossing the finish line at 17 minutes and 10.1 seconds.