Clipper Staff Writer
KAYSVILLE — Graduation is tough on high school sports.
The Davis High girls’ cross country team, state title winners for the past three years, lost three of their best runners to graduation this past spring. Still, coach Corbin Talley said that other team members are ready to take over leadership responsibilities.
“We took a big hit, but the other girls have really stepped up,” he said. “The state title is our goal again, and we’re getting ready to go back.”
Shea Martinez, who also won individual state titles in the 800- and 1600-meter races for the past three years, runs for the BYU track team. Ellie Child, who often finished races just behind Martinez, runs for Weber State. Joanna Boyd, another top runner, is on the Utah State University track team.
“Shea and Ellie were our 1-2 punch,” said Talley.
Despite the loss, this year’s leaders are already making themselves known. Taylor Cox, who was ranked 13th in the U.S. in the 3200-meter race last spring, is still a part of the cross country team. Ashley Tyndall, who finished 11th at last year’s state meet, and Hannah Albrechtsen are also expected to be leaders.
Talley is also looking to some of the younger runners on the team.
“We have a few girls just coming into ninth grade who are running really well,” he said.
The Davis High boys’ cross country team, who finished second at last year’s state meet, will face an even more challenging fall season than the girls. They lost 11 runners to graduation this spring, leaving only two returning with any varsity experience.
“We got hit really hard,” said Talley. “We may not be where we were a year ago.”
Skylar Williams, one of the two runners with varsity experience, finished 12th at last year’s state meet. He also ran in the championship race at last year’s Nike Southwest Regional Championships and finished in the top 30. Stokton Smith, the other returning runner, finished in the top 30 at last year’s state meet.
“Those two are looking pretty strong,” said Talley.
Beyond that, his focus will be on getting the young runners more seasoned.
“They have the enthusiasm and the unity,” he said. “We just need to give them the experience. I’m excited for what they can do.”
Both teams will get the first real test of their mettle this Thursday, Aug. 22, at the Highland Invitational in Salt Lake. More than 30 teams from across the state will compete, including Davis High.
“It’s our first big meet,” said Talley. “After that, we’ll be able to see some of our big competition for the season.”