SALT LAKE CITY — In the fall of 2011, a junior at Logan High School burst onto the Utah prep cross-country scene.
A 50th-place finisher the season before, Cache Valley native Jerrell Mock finished a close third place at those state championships, a meteoric rise that proved to be merely the beginning.
The following year, Mock did even better, finishing as the runner-up behind state champion Jacob Heslington.
His success eventually took him to Fort Collins, Colorado, where Mock would compete on the Colorado State cross-country and indoor track teams.
Compete fails to accurately convey the success Mock found in northeast Colorado, however.
The reality is he excelled.
During his time as a Ram, Mock earned multiple All-American honors, not to mention All-Mountain West designations, Academic All-American awards, even NCAA Division I Athlete of the Week.
This past fall, his final season at Colorado State, he helped the Rams to a ninth-place finish at the NCAA championships, the best finish for the school in 40 years (1978).
Early Tuesday morning in Salt Lake City, the Colorado State alumnus laced up his running shoes again.
As he is wont to do, Mock excelled, taking first place in the Deseret News Classic 10K, with a time of 28:08.4, unseating two-time defending champion and UVU alumnus Jason Lynch along the way.
Lynch finished second with a time of 29:07.3, 59 seconds behind Mock, while Anthony Costales, a Chico State alumnus, rounded out the top three finishers with a time of 29:31.9.
The race itself was something of a dream come true for Mock.
“I grew up in Logan. I went to high school at Logan High. I am a Utah boy,” said Mock. “I have wanted to do this race since I was in middle school. I was just too scared to do it in high school, and in college it never worked with my schedule.
“I am excited that I was able to have a chance to come back, be back in Utah, and finally run this race. To do this well is even better.”
His victory wasn’t guaranteed, as the downhill nature of the course offered a significant challenge.
“I have never run a race like this one. There is a LOT of downhill,” said Mock. “I usually do well on uphill, but downhill is always kind of a mystery.
“I was definitely nervous going into it. Some guys can just mob on the downhill. I raced to just keep up until it kind of leveled out a little bit.”
When the course did level, Mock turned on the jets, creating enough separation for the next downhill stretch.
“I really pushed the flats.” said Mock. “I just wanted to hang with those top guys.”
It didn’t take long for Mock to discover that he could do more than just hang with the top competitors, and his pace of 4:32 per mile ultimately proved too much for the field to overcome.
JOCELYN TODD REPEATS, KIND OF: The women’s side of the competition was a similar story, only with perhaps an even more impressive victory.
Former Iowa Hawkeye and Utah Ute Jocelyn Todd came away with the win, with a time of 32:31.2.
Todd came into the racethe defending champion in the Deseret News Classic half marathon.
This time, around she decided to change things up a bit, in no small part due to the women who were competing in the 10K.
Sarah Sellers, the former Weber State Wildcat who finished in second place at the most recent Boston Marathon, University of Utah All-American Grayson Murphy, defending Deseret Classic 10K champion Taylor Ward and 2008 Olympian Lindsey Anderson were but some of the women to run, all of whom motivated Todd to compete.
“I saw Sarah Sellers was doing it, and Taylor Ward always crushes it, and I wanted to change things up before my next marathon,” said Todd. “I thought this would be the perfect race. It is at home, I could sleep in, and it’s not my event so it was low pressure, but high stakes.”
Whether it was the challenge of elite competition or the extra sleep, Todd was simply electric.
She dominated the field, finishing nearly a minute faster than the second-place finisher, Murphy (33:12.4).
“In marathoning I have a mindset to get out conservatively and run with the pack. I like to see where I am at and evaluate,” said Todd. “There were points in the race today where I planned to try and break away at, but it happened earlier because I felt so good.
“I told myself I had to take advantage, and I before I knew it I had them.”
Ward rounded out the top three female competitors with a time of 33:20.2, while Anderson finished in fourth place (33:26.5).
Sellers was the seventh-place women's finisher, coming in with a time of 34:01.1.