EHS cross country teams win Evanston Invite

The EHS boys’ cross country team jumps out to a fast start Friday, en route to a first-place finish at the Evanston Invitational, held at Purple Sage Golf Course. Seven of the Top 10 runners were Red Devils, led by a second-place finish bt Derek Parks. (HERALD PHOTO/Kati Baxter)

Parks, Tapia finish second for Red Devils, Lady Devils

The Evanston High School cross country teams made the most of their home-field advantage last Friday, with both the Red Devils and Lady Devils winning the team titles at the Evanston Invitational, held at Purple Sage Golf Course.
“It was a good day,” said EHS head coach Nate Conrad. “We made some tweaks to the course, to make it a little faster, something the kids could enjoy a little bit better. The kids responded well to it. It was a little bit easier – times were a little quicker than last year – but not by much. Purple Sage is such a hard place to find a flat area where you can get three miles worth of running. But it was awesome, it was a lot of fun.”
Of the Top 10 boys’ finishers, seven were Red Devils, led by a second-place finish by Derek Parks (17:39.30). Hyrum Baxter (17:43.90), Paul Baxter (18:06.90) and Jamar McDowell (18:18.40) finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively, while Gideon Stahl placed seventh (18:29.20). Aidan Conrad (8th, 18:34.10) and Jaydon Welling (19:07.70) rounded out the Red Devils’ Top 7.
“The boys produced really, really well,” Conrad said. “Derek Parks led the way for us, followed by Hyrum and Paul Baxter, which was pretty remarkable, because Paul is dealing with a weird foot injury – he has a bone that’s popped out down in the arch of his foot, and it’s causing pain. He experienced it the day before the meet, and the doctor popped it back in, told him he’d be good to go. It popped out again on race day, and I asked him, “When do you think it started hurting again?’ He said, ‘About five steps into it.’ So we’re dealing with that, a little bit.”
Conrad said he was pleased to see a few of the runners with a chance at making the conference and state roster perform well at their home invite.
“We were missing Brazeden Mecham, but our top seven continue to produce really well,” Conrad said. “Gideon Stahl ran a great race, and Jamar McDowell was phenomenal – he ended up being our fourth-place finisher on the team. It was really fun to see, because he’s been putting it together the last few meets and in practice, and he finally posted a really great time, so that was awesome.”
“Jayden Welling – one of our seniors who’s been dancing around that Top 10 area – he turned in a really great race,” Conrad added. “The kids came in with the expectation that the course was going to be a little bit harder, but they came away knowing the level of effort they put into the race was something to celebrate, and be proud of.”
On the girls’ side, Lady Devil Jasmine Tapia gave eventual winner Karley Sabey from Lyman all she could handle, placing second with a time of 21:04.90. Jocelyn Capener (21:39.80) and Emma Lonsway (22:28.10) finished third and fourth, respectively, while Aubrey Horrocks (22:43.30) crossed the finish line in seventh place. Liesl Botts (22.47.30) and Talia Conrad (23:02.80)