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As close as it gets: Gochnour wins

Highland's Kate Stringfellow, left, and East's Madeline Gochnour race toward the finish in the Region 6 championship Wednesday.
Highland's Kate Stringfellow, left, and East's Madeline Gochnour race toward the finish in the Region 6 championship Wednesday.
Laura Seitz, Deseret Morning News

Three-tenths of a second is all that separated East's Madeline Gochnour and Kate Stringfellow of Highland at Cottonwood Complex on Wednesday.

Gochnour's final surge was barely better than her opponent's but good enough to win the Region 6 championship.

"I've never had a finish that close," the freshman Gochnour said. "I just kept thinking that I didn't want to give up."

Stringfellow was one of three Highland runners to finish in the top five. Clara Toronto came in third while Haley Stringfellow was fifth. East had four in the top 10, including Breana Cobler (fourth), Mary Anderson (sixth) and Susannah Hurst (seventh).

Highland won the team competition, edging East 41-45.

An elated Sarah Ingebretsen, the Rams' coach, was excited for her runners.

"We knew it would be close and I'm so proud of the girls," Ingebretsen said. "It's always good to get a big win that no one expected you to get."

Murray was third with 59 points, led by Sara Pickett's eighth-place finish. Teammate Sara Evans finished 10th. West came next (84), paced by Hannah Moore and Kajsa Vlasic in ninth and 11th, respectively.

Cottonwood (160) was fifth. Stacy Rector was the top Colts finisher in 19th place. Olympus was sixth with 164 points and was led by Maria Gardiner in 18th place. Granger had 179 points. Its top finisher was Tanya Santana (29th).

For the boys, West junior John McMinn lived up to the self-imposed pressure to take the individual title, winning by more than six seconds.

"I won region last year, so I had to win again this year," McMinn said. "There was a lot of pressure."

East's Stefan Leseuer came in second place and was one of four Leopards to place in the top 10. Clayton Kearl was third, Mael Glon ninth and Zach Zobell 10th. Highland's Beau Hicken and William Watkins rounded out the top five.

East ran away with the team title with 36 points, followed by Highland (62). The Rams' Abdi Issaq finished in 13th place. West was third (78) and, other than McMinn, its highest finisher was Tyler Strickland in 16th place. Murray finished fourth (84) and was led by Preston Evans in sixth place. Cottonwood (96) was fifth, paced by Elvis Machado in eighth place.

Olympus (167) had a top 10 finisher in Brandon Bush (seventh) and Cyprus (206) was led by Nick Roddy in 39th place.

"The guys fought today, and they ran as a team," East coach Bill Cobler said. "All year long, they've worked hard as a team, and they've done anything I've asked of them. They're happy with this result."