Bingham High junior Adam Haynes finished sixth at the 5A state cross country championships to lead the Miners to a ninth-place showing Oct. 22 at Sugarhouse Park. On the girls side, junior Whitney Rich placed 13th and senior MarLee Mitchell took 31st to pace Bingham to a ninth-place finish.
“I put in double the time as my team throughout the summer in trying to achieve a top 10 finish at state this year,” Haynes said. “I wanted to push myself, and that’s what drove me—every run and every mile was all worth it.”
Bingham coach Alisha Paxton said she was impressed with Haynes stepping up to lead the Miners team. “Adam has led every workout and has pushed himself more this year than any in the past and proved at state that our powerhouse runners are still in the game,” she said.
Haynes, the son of Mike and Melinda Haynes of South Jordan, was projected to finish no higher than 15th in the state race and that fueled the junior even more.
“I knew I could be seventh or eighth, and I knew how much work I had put in for it,” Haynes said. “It’s a great feeling and sense of accomplishment.”
Haynes started running his freshman year to stay in shape for other sports and enjoyed it so much it became his primary focus. He fought through patella tendinitis last year, but he has continued to use former teammate – and three-time state champion – Andrew Brewer’s times as benchmarks for himself.
“I tried to push myself as hard as I could to hit all of Andrew’s times,” Haynes said.
This year at state, Haynes had an identical time – 15 minutes, 36 seconds – to Brewer’s 2013 state race, in which he placed fourth.
On the girls’ side, Rich set a personal record at state, running the 3-mile course in 18 minutes, 41 seconds, in pursuit of her goal of a top-15 finish.
“With about 800 meters left, I heard my mom yelling that I was in 16th place, and I just turned it up and passed three runners,” she said. “I was really happy with how I finished and glad to end on a strong note.”
Rich, daughter of Scott and Tami Rich of South Jordan, was injured all summer with Achilles tendonitis and limited her races early on this season.
“Whitney worked so hard, she outdid her last year’s state performance,” Paxton said. “It was a frustrating season for her in many ways, but her positive, patient attitude proved that work ethic is really the key to success.”
Senior MarLee Mitchell, daughter of Jeffrey and Kathryn Mitchell of South Jordan, finished a disappointing 31st at state after two top-15 finishes the past two seasons.
“I was really stressed at the race and could tell immediately it wasn’t going to go well, and I stopped competing,” she said. “But, my coaches and the people cheering me on helped me finish.”
“MarLee has a determination and focus that has already proved to be successful,” Paxton said, of the 2013 Footlocker Finalist who plans to continue running in college.
Max Bailey (38th), Cameron Smith (63rd), Christian Swensen (76th), Tyler LeBaron (81st), Austin Jager (86th) and Brennan McCleary (87th) ran for the boys at state while Ashlyn Henry (40th), Jenessa Soutas (74th), Rachel Young (77th), Clara Wahlquist (88th) and Jessica Teply (104th) rounded out the girls’ line-up.