With 250 meters to go in the 5A state cross country race at the Regional Athletic Complex, Springville High School coach, Sam Smith called out to her number five runner, Adri Bird to kick it in gear. Smith wasn’t sure how close the race was, but she knew that every place counted, and if Bird could just pass a few more runners, they might just have a chance at taking state.
Bird, who is one of three seniors on the varsity team, dug deep, passing three girls in those final meters, earning the points her team needed to clinch its fifth straight state title.
The team won the title by five points, which, by cross country standards, the win was really as close as it gets.
The sport of cross country is scored by awarding the first place winner one point, the second place with two points, and so on and so forth. Each varsity team has seven runners, with the first five finishers in each team having their individual places scored. In the end, the team with the lowest score wins, and this year Springville won over Timpanogos, 78 to 83.
According to Coach Smith, this year has been a bit of a struggle for their varsity team, particularly the number five spot.
“They know how to keep it exciting, that’s for sure,” Smith said of the state meet. “Adri has been injured all year with bursitis in her hip flexor. Her first real race was two weeks before state. She had a really good race there, but we really didn’t know what we had going into state. This meet showed that every single person matters.”
Senior, Lydia Templeman was the second runner for the team, and placed 12th at the meet with a time of 18:55.5. She said that she, too, was encouraged by the cheers of spectators – particularly her dad.
“I went into the race feeling pretty confident in myself and our team,” she said. “Throughout most of the race, I was running alongside one of the Timpanogos girls, with the two of us pushing each other throughout the whole race. I started to lose my confidence. … It wasn’t until about 150-200 meters away from the finish that I heard my dad cheering for me. He screamed, ‘Lydia! This is your moment! Go get those three Timpanogos girls!’ That’s when I flipped the switch. I thought to myself that the least I can do is my part for the team. Already feeling I was sprinting as fast as I could, I managed to go even faster and pass four girls before I finished – two of them being Timpanogos girls, which helped in a big way to secure our team’s win by five points.”
Although this was my fourth year winning a state title, this was definitely my favorite year, she said. Barely pulling it out in the end made the win even sweeter. I’ve loved running with Springville High School and all the girls on the team. To me it is very special to have gone through it all with my cousin, Sara Galbraith, who is the other senior with four state titles.”
Sarah Galbraith, who is also a senior, finished third for her team and 15th overall with a time of 18:58.30. She, too, acknowledged a rough start to the season, but said that pushing through with heart as an individual with a team goal, is what brought her through.
“The race went very well, and I was super proud of myself!” She said. “I was in the zone and felt a lot more positive throughout the race, which made it easier for me to tell myself to catch a few girls in front of me and put a few surges throughout the race. Our team had a rough start to the season, but we kept working hard and pushing each other and it paid off. It means so much to have been a part of this winning team for all four years, and it is such a great accomplishment.”
While the state championship may be in the rear view mirror, that doesn’t mean that the cross country season is over. Next up is Nike Cross Country Southwest Regionals in Mesa, Arizona on November 19.