BOISE, Idaho — With a year under her belt, Rawlins High School Cross Country sophomore Sydney Thorvaldson has only gotten better.
The state’s most dominant female runner improved to two spots from her finish at last year’s Nike Cross Country Northwest Regional Meet, taking first this year in 17:24.10.
Thorvaldson said that her finish came as a surprise.
“I really wasn’t expecting to do that good going in, just because it was a really competitive field going in this year,” Thorvaldson said. “But it was great to see that I came out on top.”
Not only did she outdo the competition, she ran faster than she ever has.
The time exceeded her finish at national’s last year by 12 seconds, and was a new personal best for her.
The sophomore from Raw-Town beat the top high school runners from Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and (of course) Wyoming. Thorvaldson finished 14 seconds ahead of Montana’s class A high school cross country champion, Billings Senior High School (Montana) senior Tiahna Vladic (17:38.00), who took second.
“It’s so cool to compete with those girls, because they can stay with me,” Thorvaldson said. “It’s so cool to have that competition where you know them, and you’re all racing. It was really fun.”
Saratoga High School sent a champion of its own to the meet.
Back-to-back class 2A boys state champion junior Jarom Herring placed 21st in the boys’ Rising Stars race. His 17:45.50 finish was more than 15 seconds shy of his state championship run (17:29.77) on Oct. 20.
Herring is emerging as a promising runner in the region, but Thorvaldson is already there and at the top.
With the best finish in the Northwest, Thorvladson is getting ready for the Nike Cross Country National Meet in December.
Earning All-American honors with a ninth place, 17:58.7 finish at last year’s national meet, Thorvaldson is dealing with the challenges and pressures of wanting to outdo what she has done in the past.
She, however, is up for the task.
“I did good last year, so it’s kind of stressful wanting to do even better than that,” she said. “But overall, I’m excited and that experience was so much fun, so I’m really excited to go do that again.”
Thorvaldson will run in the high school national cross country meet on Dec. 1 in Portland, Ore.
Bartlett brothers coming in hot
The one family that seems like it’s never-ending is the the Bartletts down in Saratoga.
Greg Bartlett is the activities director; Heather is a teacher at Saratoga Middle-High School and the girls basketball varsity head coach; Gage is the oldest of Greg and Heather’s children, and a Saratoga Class of 2018 graduate, renowned as one of the most dominant players to play class 1A basketball; and Gavin, the second child, is a current sophomore and a member of this year’s class 2A Cross Country state championship team, as well as a member of the basketball and track teams.
But wait, there’s more.
Next up to continue the Bartlett legacy are the eighth grade twins Grant and Grady.
The brothers have come in first and second in all of their middle school races around the state all season, and wouldn’t fall far from the trend at Northwest Regionals.
Crossing the line in 10:08 on the 3,000-meter middle school course, Grant won the regional race; Grady placed fourth at 10:17.
“It was amazing,” Grant said.
Grant edged the second place finisher by just a tenth of a second.
“It was a pretty hard race,” he said. “At the very end, I thought I was going to lose.”
But he didn’t; he never does.
Grant spoke about how much fun it is for him to be able to go around the state and consistently beat other opponents, but he couldn’t do it without his biggest rival: Grady.
Pushing each other to their limits, the twins have a sibling rivalry on and off the course that makes them better.
“It pushes me because I don’t want to let him beat me,” Grant said.
Grant is excited about being able to take his talents to the high school level next season; however, he and Grady’s freshmen years will mark the beginning of their end as Saratoga athletes.
Don’t be alarmed.
When their four years are up, the youngest of five brothers — Griffin — will be anchoring the fourth generation of Saratoga Bartletts, keeping the family traditions alive.