The 4A state championships had an equal share of upsets and strong traditional powers, as the Timpview boys and Mountain View girls both took home team titles. Timpview junior Jonathan Nelson won individual honors in a time of 15:49.5 on a cold, sloppy 3-mile course, and Orem's Krystal Harper came from behind to win her second state championship, surging from fifth to first over the last mile to finish in 19:11.
"It really hasn't set in yet," Nelson said. "I was surprised to find myself where I was."
Springville senior Spencer Gardner gapped the field the first two miles until Nelson and Mountain Crest senior Neal Ferrin took the lead with just under a mile to go. Nelson put eight seconds on Ferrin in the last 800 meters to pull away for the win. Not bad considering Nelson didn't even make the Thunderbirds varsity just a season ago.
"He was a JV last year in the band. I encouraged him to run when he could and he did OK," Timpview coach Brian Kuhlman said. "He was committed this year, and it shows. He was a little worried about how to run the course, but he put on a clinic today on how to run it."
Senior Brian Fletcher finished 16 seconds behind Nelson in fourth place, as the pair led Timpview to its second team title in as many years over a very deep field.
"You could see three Mountain Crest guys up front, and it scared me," said team captain Krys Gardner. "But as we came around the lake and I saw Jon pulling, it just felt awesome. We knew we had to pick off our guys and give it 100 percent or we weren't going to get it. They gave us a run."
Mountain View's girls team may not have been on anyone's list of pre-race favorites after a 15-point loss to Orem at its region championship. But that didn't stop the Bruins from putting three in the top 12, including a two-three finish by senior Katie Harris and sophomore Ashley Robison. Robison finished 30th in 5A last season.
"We really wanted to win," Robison said. "As a team we worked really hard all summer and pushed each other all season long."
Coach Mike Hunter gives all the credit to the girls.
"Since last year I knew we could be a top three team," he said. "But I think the girls had the most belief. 47 points might be lowest we've scored all year."
Harris finished 11 seconds behind Harper, who had to come from behind to win.
"I gave up halfway through the race," Harper said. "But at about two miles I just decided I wanted it." After passing a tight pack of four, Harper gapped the field over the last mile, cruising in for her second individual championship.