Herriman boys cross country finish second in state; girls make improvementsDec 01, 2023 10:16AM ● By Josh McFadden
It was a close call, but the Herriman boys cross country team narrowly missed out on a state title.
At the Oct. 24 state meet, the Mustangs took second in Class 6A, falling only behind American Fork, which boasted the top three individual runners. The Mustangs had 39 points, while American Fork had 33 (in cross country, the lower the score, the better). Herriman had five of the top 12 runners at the championships. Junior Tayshaun Ogomo was the top Herriman runner with a time of 15:21.9, placing fifth. Teammates Jonah Tang, a junior, and senior Jack Beckstrom were sixth and seventh with times of 15:22.2 and 15:22.3, respectively. Junior Micah Tang ran the race in 15:31.3, coming in 12th.
Meanwhile, two other runners were in the top 24 for the Mustangs. Senior Hyrum Wood was 17th with a time of 15:37, and fellow senior William Steadman placed 24th by completing the race in 15:46.2.
Despite losing to American Fork, Herriman head coach Doug Soles is confident his team can turn the tables at the upcoming Nike Cross Nationals.
“It has been a great season,” he said. “The boys team only lost one meet with a close second at state. We will look to qualify to Nike Cross Nationals and hopefully reverse that to American Fork and come home with a national title.”
At state, Soles was impressed with the number of runners that finished so high. These same runners are also capable of running with the best cross country competitors in the nation, he said.
“For the boys team, seeing our junior and senior boys combine for the top pack in the nation has been really exciting,” he said. “Any one of these boys can finish top 10 at state and top 40 at nationals. That kind of depth is unique to just a few teams a year. Jack Beckstrom, Will
Steadman, Max Hofheins and Hyrum Wood are having a pretty legendary senior campaign.”
Despite coming up short for a state championship, Soles was pleased with the team’s progress and the improvements it made from last year. He is eager to see what next season brings and has lofty expectations for 2024.
“The future looks bright for us,” he said. “Our boys team should be the No. 1-ranked team in the nation with what we return next year. We see ourselves being faster than this year’s team, which has spent most of the season ranked No. 1 nationally. [Ogomo], Jonah Tang, Micah Tang, Noah Manwaring and Bryce Runnells all return to make a formidable top five.”
Not to be overlooked, the Herriman girls team performed well at state and surpassed Soles’ expectations. The girls placed fifth at state, with senior Alayna Wardle coming in 12th with a time of 18:41.5 in what Soles said was “a major highlight.” Fellow senior Rachel Crosby was 28th with a time of 19:22.6.
“The girls consistently ran 2-3 minutes faster than they did the year before as a team and made big strides in training,” Soles said. “It feels like the girls are on the right path to continue to be one of the best teams in Utah.”