Red Devils run to 3A West title; Lady Devils 3rd
The Evanston High School cross country teams have been running at the front or near the front of the pack all season, and that didn’t change at last week’s 3A West Conference Championships in Riverton.
Though the meet was moved up a day — from Thursday to Wednesday — due to weather concerns, coupled with the fact the course was an unfamiliar one — that didn’t stop Evanston from having one of its best meets of the season. Led by three runners placed firmly in the top 10 — and their fastest five runners placing in the Top 13 — the Red Devils won the team title with 39 points, well ahead of second-place Cody, with 63. Three Red Devils — Paul Baxter, Bryan Baxter and Aidan Conrad — earned All-Conference honors.
“Our boys were kind of the Black Sheep — nobody expected us to come in and do as well as we did,” EHS head coach Nate Conrad told Elan Oliff, of mylocalradio.com. “But we kind of knew what we had, and it was good to see that the boys executed the game plan that we had set up, and followed through with the potential we had seen on paper. We shocked a lot of people on Wednesday afternoon, it was a lot of fun.”
The Lady Devils finished third overall, with one runner — Jocelyn Capener — posting a Top 10 finish, and earning All-Conference honors.
“The 3A West side of the state is really competitive on the girls’ side, with Powell and Cody the powerhouse cross country teams,” Conrad said. “They duked it out with each other, but we were right on their heels, which was really cool. I wouldn’t say they had a bad day, but they didn’t run their best — they ran pretty good, with some great performances from a couple of girls. But they fought, they competed and they came away with a third-place finish, and that’s something to be proud of.”
Runners from eight schools participated on the boys’ side, with the Red Devils finishing first with 39 points. Cody was second with 63 points, followed by Riverton with 67 points; Lander and Mountain View rounded out the top five, with 98 and 100 points, respectively.
On the girls’ side, the Lady Devils finished third with 71 points. Cody ran to the top spot with 41 points, followed by Powell with 52; Green River and Lander rounded out the Top 5, with 126 and 132 points, respectively.
The EHS cross country team will head to Cheyenne Saturday for the 2023 State Cross Country Meet, held at the Cheyenne Country Club. Like the 3A West Conference course, the state course will be completely new to the EHS teams, but since there wasn’t a state preview meet this season, it will be new to the rest of the teams competing, as well.
“The state has sent out some videos [of the course], so we’ve been able to watch those, and get an idea of what it looks like,” Conrad said. “But we’re totally new to it — our plan is to get up to Cheyenne as quick as we can on Friday, spend a couple of hours on the course — we’ll walk it, the kids are going to run it, just to get a feel for it, and make our game plan for Saturday. We’re excited — I think we’re in a good spot mentally and physically, so we’re really looking forward to trying to do something special on the 21st.”
EHS junior Paul Baxter continued his stellar season as the top Red Devil finisher at the 3A West Conference meet, placing third, with a time of 16:37.77. Freshman Bryan Baxter — Paul’s younger brother — was fifth, with a time of 17:00.07.
Another Red Devil junior — Aidan Conrad — rounded out Evanston’s All-Conference performers with a seventh-place finish, posting a time of 17:24.94.
Senior Jamar McDowell just missed All-Conference recognition with an 11th-place finish, crossing the line in a time of 17:45.70. Freshman Breck Barton was 13th, just four seconds behind McDowell at 17:49.64.
Other notable finishes for the Red Devils included Dallin Horrocks (20th, 18:23.61), Gideon Stahl (25th, 18:31.59), Justin Moon (29th, 18:42.82), Jamison Williams (33rd, 19:02.63), Croydon Francis (36th, 19:05.02), Hendrix Prete (40th, 19:15.81), Colby Farrens (48th, 19:41.58), Josh Hilton (57th, 20:27.17), Mason Young (62nd, 20:41.63) and Jaycee Kohler (81st, 22:56.82).
Lady Devil senior Jocelyn Capener ran her best race of the season to take 7th place and earn All-Conference honors, the only Lady Devil to finish in the Top 10. She posted a time of 20:42.09.
Junior Eliza Day was second among the Lady Devils, placing 12th, with a time of 20:57.72. Jasmine Tapia (21:17.19) and Julia Barton (21:20.38) finished 15th and 16th, respectively, while Hallie Prete rounded out Evanston’s Top 5, placing 21st, with a time of 21:32.12.
Other notable finishes included Talia Conrad (22nd, 21:34.26), Liesl Botts ( 26th, 21:49.98), Kessnie Johnstone (34th, 22:24.60), Emma Lonsway (39th, 22:50.15), Avery Barker (44th, 23:01.34), Bella Dover (51st, 23:51.96), Brette Francis (54th, 23:58.57), Penelope Botts (57th, 24:39.31) and Adalee May (62nd, 25:03.06).