Grand County High School cross country 2019

Grand County High School cross country hosts the Red Rock Invitational at the Moab Golf Club on Sept. 11. [Photo by Kevin D. Brydie / Moab Sun News]

Grand County High School (GCHS) cross country runners Evan Ellison and Kylah Ricks each took first in their respective races at the Red Rock Invitational at the Moab Golf Club on Wednesday, Sept. 11.

The pair lead the Red Devils to a win in the girls division and a second-place finish in the boys division, racing on their home course for the only time this season.

Ricks conquered the home course in 18:54 and was followed by three teammates in the top 10. Anika Scherer took third at 20:38; Jessie Anderson came in seventh at 22:50; and Bella Welch came in tenth place at 23:01.

“To have four girls finish in the top 10 is exciting,” GCHS cross country coach Randy Martin said. “We had an outstanding race. We're able to practice at the Moab Golf Club quite frequently so the team knows the course forward and backward. It was Anika's first race of the year, and she had a great race.”

Martin added that Welch ran a gutsy race, having been combating shin splints for the past several weeks.

Rounding out GCHS's score was Alexa Stripeika in 35th at 26:37 and Rachel Thompson in 36th at 26:41. GCHS finished with 52 points, while Emery was second with 75.

For the boys, three GCHS runners finished in the top 10, led by Ellison's 16:17 and Malachi Ricks' third-place 16:33. Arthur Hawks ran ninth at 17:32, Patrick Johnson ran 20th at 19:28 and Johnathan Martineau ran 29th at 20:03 for a score of 62 points, which was bested by Carbon's 42 points.

“Carbon has a good group of seniors that have been in the program training since they were freshman,” Martin said. “They'll be fun to watch come mid-October.”

Martin praised Ellison's performance in the race, following a tumultuous 2018 season.

“Evan ran in Ryan Lewis's shadow for the first two years he was in high school, then last year he had a rough time with injuries and illness,” Martin said. “He really trained hard all off-season. I'm happy and proud that he was able to take first at the home meet this year with the crowd behind him.”

The Red Devils also had a 39th-place 20:52 from Soren Indergard; a 42nd-place 21:22 from Daniel Thayer; and a 51st-place 22:14 from Tyler Stash.

GCHS is scheduled to run at the Carbon Invitational in Price on Wednesday, Sept. 18.

“The kids have had good week of practice, putting in a lot of miles and really running hard,” Martin said. “We should see a little bit lower times and a little better score.”

GCHS next competes at the John Thornton Invitational in Blanding on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 3 p.m.