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Steve Griffin
Spectators line the course during the boy's varsity race in the Highland Invitational high school x-country race at Sugarhouse Park in Salt Lake City on Friday, Aug. 17, 2018.

The toughest part of Timo Mostert’s job isn’t coming up with training plans or race strategies.

It is convincing talented young runners why they should ask more of themselves than the world does.

“We live in a society where doing enough to get by is kind of what society does,” said the American Fork boys cross country coach who leads his 21st team for the Cavemen to Wednesday’s state championships at Sugarhouse Park. “Lots of people are satisfied with just getting by. But that’s not a very satisfactory way to live.”

In persuading young athletes to do more than is required, he’s built a perennial contender at both the state, regional and national level.

“(We) try to convince them to seek out their potential, to try and push themselves to greater things,” he said. “Hopefully that will bleed over into all aspects of their lives.”

" It’s a team that’s really familiar with everything we do. We just try to get them to believe they can consistently improve year to year and do things to help the team out. "
American Fork boys cross country coach Timo Mostert

As American Fork tries to defend the 6A state title with most of last year’s team returning, including three all-state runners, Mostert said the real challenges come from not being satisfied with a win or an individual accomplishment. Real satisfaction comes from growth, sacrifice and the kind of discipline that is rare.

“Half our team is seniors,” he said, “And half of them have raced for American Fork since their freshman year. It’s a team that’s really familiar with everything we do. We just try to get them to believe they can consistently improve year to year and do things to help the team out.” This year’s team is led by Dalton Brems, Luke Grundvig and Carson Clinger. They will have plenty of competition – individually and as a team in Wednesday’s state meet. Some of the top runners are Riverton’s Joey Nokes and his teammates Ty Davis and Tanner Rogers, as well as Northridge’s Max Wehrli and Bridger Altice. Jacob Halverson and Daniel Larsen lead the Davis Darts.

On the girls side, Lone Peak is the team to beat with a No. 2 national ranking from MileSplit.com. The Knights return four of last year’s team. They are led by Reagan Gardner, Eliza Mason, Ali Bybee, Taylor Smart, Kenzie Meldrum, Hallie Kemp, and Maddie Hafen.

The Knights are enjoying their fourth season under coach Courtney Meldrum’s leadership and the program has grown from about 10 girls to more than 70. This year’s team is very competitive and deep with a lot of shifting among the top runners.

“The biggest thing is they’ve really become a team, they’re really united as a group,” said Meldrum. “They’ve worked really hard, and it’s paying off for them.”

The Davis girls are running well and are led by Ellie Lundgreen, Hope Preston and Rosalind Schraedel. The American Fork girls are led by Lily Nettesheim, Mackenzie Hess, Madison Hess, and Hailey Hess.

Pleasant Grove was last year’s champion, and they’re led by seniors Mya McKown and Erika Olson.

In 5A, Springville’s Grant Gardner hopes to not only earn his first individual state title, but also lead his team to the top of the podium for the second straight season. He took second as a junior and is one of the fastest runners in the state in any class.

Spanish Fork’s Wyatt Evans, and Woods Cross’ Jason Davis. Thomas Boyden leads Skyline, while Jalen Anderton and Adam Wall lead Farmington High and Andrew Crowther leads Skyridge.

Bountiful girls are led by led by Laurie Murphy and Trisha Thompson, while Springville is led by Heidi Sumsion, Mariah Skinner and Bethany Blakey. Olympus girls are led by Kate Thomas and Jane Fredrick.

Mountain View’s Helena Miyazawa leads a team hoping to challenge for top honors. Last year’s 5A state champion Skyline girls are led by Grace Burnett and Blaklee Butler.

Maple Mountain and Corner Canyon will also be in the mix with returning talent.

Steve Griffin
Runners sprint through the trees during the girl's varsity race in the Highland Invitational high school x-country race at Sugarhouse Park in Salt Lake City on Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. .

In 4A, Skyridge senior Andrew Crowther and Bonneville senior Ayden Womack lead their teams. Matthew Thatcher and Tyler Nance, Deseret Hills, leads a stacked team into the state meet.

On the girls side, Desert Hills boasts some of the fastest individual runners in any class. The Thunder are led by Bailey Brinkerhoff, Samantha Nelson, and Lauren Luekenga. Pine View brings a strong team led by Allie Baker and Jessica Hill.

Cedar has a strong squad led by Kaysie Klemic and Harley Taylor, while Ogden is led by Bonita Gray and Kate Allred. Bear River’s Madison White is running well.

In 3A girls, Richfield is running well and is led by Seonna Southwich and Avery Foster. Cabon is led by Regan Hansen and Emma Haddock. Juab is led by Maura Williams and Emilia Anderson. Grand has a strong group led by Kylah Ricks and Anika Scherer.

On the boys side, Emery edged Richfield for the 3A state title with a tie-breaker. Both teams return talent and should be in the mix on Wednesday. Morgan could contend, as well, with Carson Wilkins and Stanford Porter leading the way.

For Carbon boys, Ryan Page leads the way.

In 2A girls, North Summit looks to defend its title behind the leadership of Elizabeth Zwahlen and Alicia Smith.

Parowan is running strong with leadership coming from Brooke Reed and Ellen Orlemann. Rowland Hall and Millard should also be in the mix.

Last year’s runner-up was Millard, and Jarren Camp leads a solid team. North Summit looks to defend its state title with senior Cody White and junior Gideon Gren.

In 1A girls, Taylia Norris leads a strong team into the finals, alongside teammates Abigail Holman and Lacey Marshall. Norris won the 1A title as a sophomore and hopes to earn her second straight championship while leading her teammates to a title after finishing second to Milford High last fall.

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Milford is led by sophomore Kinley Spaulding and junior Akaydeh Livingston, as well as junior Taylor Alger.

On the boys side, Adam Bunker hopes to repeat as 1A individual champion, as well as help his very talented team repeat as 1A team champions. With talents like Alan Pettit, Hyrum Johnson and Lucas Hatch, the Buckaroos are heavy favorites to repeat.

Panguitch boys, led by Porter Schoppe, Luke Reeder and Hagen Miller will be the top challenger in the 1A contest. Last year nine of the 10 top finishes came from Monticello and Panguitch.