At first glance, you wouldn’t have known that the Pine View girls cross country team finished in second place at the state cross country meet for the second consecutive year at Sugar House Park on Wednesday.
While it would have been a major accomplishment for any the other 15 teams who participated, an empty feeling remained as tears ran down the faces of each of the seven competitors.
It wasn’t that the team or head coach Dave Holt was disappointed in the way they ran the race — with every Panther runner finishing in the top 30. The frustration came several hours later as it was finally announced that Stansbury had beaten Pine View by one-point, 60-61, to claim the 3A state title.
After the individual medals were handed out, and just before the team trophies were given, it was announced over the public address system that judges were looking into possibly disqualifying one or even two runners who made their way out of the race boundaries.
That of course put the final results on hold as judges talked with coaches and players to find out what exactly happened. Despite an initial disqualification, a Stansbury player was cleared of wrongdoing to give the Stallions a one-point victory over the Panthers.
“It’s really unfortunate,” Holt said. “All of the girls on every team worked so hard to get to this point, and to have this situation end up the way it did was tough for everyone involved.”
Coaching for more than 12 years at his alma mater, Holt got his team together one-last time to offer some words of encouragement.
“I told the girls that the final results don’t change how amazing you really are,” he said. “They really are a tight-knit family and each one of them put their heart and soul into the team and as a coach I couldn’t ask anything more of them.”
Stansbury coaches said afterwards the ending was one of the craziest things they had seen. They congratulated Coach Holt and the Panther team.
Looking at the silver lining, Pine View will lose just one senior to graduation next season and the Panthers look like the early favorite next season.
“Losing Meskerem (Stucki) will be tough, but luckily we do have a lot of great runners coming up,” Holt said.
Stucki’s teammates said that she is a great example, who is fun, determined, works hard, and has been a great leader in 2015.
Desert Hills came in fourth overall and placed three runners in the Top 11. Bailey Brinkerhoff and Lily Poulton — both freshmen — finished third and fifth respectively, while Laynee Wells finished in 11th. Cedar’s Mic Webster, also a freshman, finished ninth overall.
Follow Justin Giles on Twitter @Justingiles22.
Top 10 finishers
1. Kennedy Powell (Union) 18:58.4, 2. Zoe Hales (Stansbury) 18:59.4, 3. Bailey Brinkerhoff (Desert Hills) 19:00.5, 4. Madison Carr (Park City) 19:01.0, 5. Lily Poulton (Desert Hills) 19:04.2, 6. Maggie Beazer (Stansbury) 19:07.3, 7. KaSandra Nordgren (Stansbury) 19:10.1, 8. Meskerem Stucki (Pine View) 19:11.3, 9. Mic Webster (Cedar) 19:14.6, 10. Jennette Larsen (North Sanpete) 19:19.7
Top 10 team scores
1. Stansbury 60, 2. Pine View 61, 3. Park City 83, 4. Desert Hills 88, 5. Cedar 123, 6. Canyon View 200, 7. Snow Canyon 230, 8. Tooele 249, 9. Bear River 275, 10. Logan 298.