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3A cross-country championships: Kylah Ricks wins her third straight state title

The Morgan girls won their third straight team championship with Emery winning the team championship in the boys competition.

Kylah Ricks of Grand County takes first place in the 3A girls state cross-country championship race at Soldier Hollow in Midway on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020.
Kylah Ricks of Grand County takes first place in the 3A girls state cross-country championship race at Soldier Hollow in Midway on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

MIDWAY — Thursday’s 3A state cross-country championship may have marked Kylah Ricks’ final run for Grand County High, but it won’t be the last race she’ll run.

Not by a long shot.

Being raised in a family of runners that now operates a running company, Ricks has been racing since she was old enough to walk, and it certainly shows.

Ricks entered Thursday’s championship a two-time state champion, having won her prior championships by a minute and a half and the other by 40 seconds. This time around she beat out Morgan’s Oakley Olson by a relatively tight 11 seconds, while being grateful for the added challenge.

“I knew they had a new girl coming in from Morgan who was really fast, so I studied how she ran coming into this and fortunately had just enough to beat her,” Ricks said. “It feels great. It feels awesome to go out like this.”

As for Olson, she led the way for Morgan, which earned its third straight team championship.

“We started out three years ago with a pretty young team, so it’s just been great watching these girls all work together and grow together to now win a third straight state championship,” Morgan coach Brennen Fuller said. “We had Oakley finish real high and then a bunch of girls finish in the top 20, so it really was a team effort and I couldn’t be prouder of how they all ran.”

High finishers for Morgan included Kate Heywood, who finished in 12th place, along with Melanie Bybee, Bailey Beckstrom, Ella Stevenson and Clara Compton, who finished in 15th, 16th, 17th and 19th, respectively.

“We focus hard on running for each other — running like a family, and pushing for one another when it hurts, and I think you saw us do that today,” Fuller said. “Oakley has been such a tremendous leader for us and her pushing everyone, and then everyone else pushing for one another — that’s what got it done.”

Finishing second in the team competition was North Sanpete, with freshman Mari Briggs setting the pace for the Hawks with her third-place finish. Carbon placed third, paced by Ambree Jones and her ninth-place finish.

While Ricks seemed to win her championship with relative ease, Morgan’s Gabe Sargent needed everything he had to win individual championship honors in the boys competition.

A senior, Sargent collapsed after crossing the finish line nine seconds ahead of Richfield’s Richard Crane, and stayed on the ground for several minutes as well-wishers came to congratulate him.

“I wanted this thing so bad and have worked so hard to get it. It feels amazing,” Sargent said after catching his breath. “I think the course played to my advantage with having to go up more hills than we’re used to. I took third last year and just knew I wanted to go out on top this year, so doing it feels amazing.”

Sargent’s offseason regimen included running at least 50 miles per week and making certain to leave nothing on the course in any of his races, particularly his final race on Thursday.

Pulling down the team championship was Emery, which beat out Richfield by a single point, making each and every contribution of the upmost importance.

“We run well as a pack and we did that today and we definitely needed everyone,” said Emery coach Talina Labrum. “We knew it was possible, but that it was going to be hard coming in. ... Fortunately all of them ran as hard as they could and we were able to come out on top.”

Top honors for Emery went to Bryar Meccariello, who finished third, with Merritt Meccariello and Jess Christiansen finishing eighth and ninth, respectively.

“We were able to get three top-10 finishes, which was awesome, and like I said, we need all of them today to get this done,” Labrum said.

Class 3A state cross-country championships

Boys team scores

1. Emery, 66

2. Richfield, 67

3. Morgan, 78

4. Union, 114

5. Judge Memorial, 116

6. Carbon, 143

7. Manti, 153

8. North Sanpete, 226

Boys individual results

  1. Gabe Sargent, Morgan, 17:34.1
  2. Richard Crane, Richfield, 17:43.1
  3. Bryar Meccariello, Emery, 17:50.0
  4. Arthur Hawks, Grand County, 18:26.8
  5. Parker Wallace, Morgan, 18:32.9
  6. Jett Davenport, Union, 18:35.9
  7. Kobe Cruz, Carbon, 18:42.4
  8. Merritt Meccariello, Emery, 18:42.8

Girls team scores

  1. Morgan, 49
  2. North Sanpete, 78
  3. Carbon, 86
  4. Manti, 90
  5. Richfield, 143
  6. Grantsville, 145
  7. Union, 149
  8. Judge Memorial, 195

Girls individual results

  1. Kylah Ricks, Grand County, 20:00.5
  2. Oakley Olson, Morgan, 20:11.0
  3. Mari Briggs, North Sanpete, 21:40.3
  4. Fiel Woods, Manti, 21:43.8
  5. Annette Rooney, Judge Memorial, 21:50.7
  6. Kayli Baker, Delta, 22:10.7
  7. Jamie Holt, Richfield, 22:13.1
  8. Paige Curtis, Delta, 22:17.1