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South Valley Journal

Providence Hall Junior High wins state title again

Nov 07, 2018 03:48PM ● By Jana Klopsch

The Providence Junior High cross country team captured it second and third boys and girls state titles. (Jessie Ballard/Providence High Junior High)

By Greg James |  [email protected] 

Providence Hall Junior High School has once again brought home a state cross country championship

The Patriot boys captured their second straight title; the girls captured their third straight. The junior high teams compete in the eighth-grade division of the Utah Charter and Small School Athletic League.

“It was an amazing season,”  Patriots’ head cross country coach Jessie Ballard said. “We went undefeated and the boys and girls both took first at regionals. Then I am not sure how, but they both took state again. Every year, I feel like we are not going to do as well, but they end up right where we want them.”   

The boys title came relatively undisputed. They finished 29 points ahead of APA Draper and 38 in front of Summit Academy Draper. 

Tyler McDougal finished second overall on the 2-mile course. He completed the event in 12 minutes 14 seconds, only 11 seconds behind APA Draper’s Andrew Ludwig the state individual champion. 

In team cross country events, the top five runners score points for their team based on their finish. The top team is based on the lowest score derived from their runners, similar to golf.

The Patriots’ Josiah Dunn finished fourth overall; Joseph Ungerman finished fifth. 

“We try to make it fun,” Ballard said. “This is junior high, and everyone can participate. I think we had about 80 kids on this years team. I also think training in Herriman is a big advantage. We have hills everywhere we go.”

The girls team edged out Summit Academy Draper with 37 points. 

Maili Page finished second overall to Annie Mccoard from Freedom Prep in Provo. Page finished the course in 13:39. Marisa Bridges placed sixth overall, and Jocelyn Nelson was seventh. 

“I think in this end of the valley kids participate in the running events, but we have found that this is a good secondary sport,” Ballard said. “The kids can use it to stay in shape for football, soccer or even dancing. Most kids don’t know about the racing concept. Cross country takes in everyone.”

The UCSSAL currently has 14 schools that participate in eighth-grade cross country. Six teams competed at the state meet Oct. 3. The meet was held at the Big Cottonwood Softball Complex. 

“Cross country is more than just the technique of running,” Ballard said. “To win as a team, you need to stick together. Encouragement is helpful, and learning that when it is not a good running day how someone else can pick the team up. These kids work so hard. We have so many that tell me that after practice they go home and run with their family. They just want to get out.”

“It is fun to go and see these kids progress,” Ballard said. “A lot of our kids go to Providence High School or Herriman. To see them succeed in running and cross country. Most of our kids make time to get their school work done and stay on top.”