Pocatello’s Dallin Bird ran 16 minutes, 44.5 seconds at the Soda Springs Cardinal Classic on Saturday, finishing third in the boys race and leading the Indians to a third-place finish in a high-powered field at Kelly Nordic Park in Soda Springs.
“I think (this meet) is a great way to start the year,” Bird said. “It gives people an idea of what cross country is about. It just helps us know what we can work on and ... where we are.”
District 5 counterpart Preston put two runners in the top 10 — Riley Reid finished ninth in 17:05.9 and Sam Jeppsen 10th in 17:11.7 — to narrowly beat Pocatello to second place with 92 points to the Indians’ 105.
Idaho Falls had five runners in the top 21, led by second-place finisher Mitchell Athay’s time of 16:31.7, to win with 59 points. It was the second consecutive win at the Cardinal Classic for the Tigers.
Peter Visser ran 16:20.4 to take the individual title for Star Valley (WY), which placed fifth.
Highland’s Jared Harden finished fifth in 16:58.4, leading the Rams to a ninth-place finish, one spot ahead of Blackfoot.
Century was 14th and host Soda Springs finished 16th. Other local teams included West Side (18th), Snake River (20th), Grace (24th) and Bear Lake (25th).
On the girls side, Soda Springs finished sixth and was the top 3A or below finisher.
Brynlee Simmons finished 18th in 21:02.9 to pace the Cardinals.
”Brynlee Simmons had a great race for us today,” Soda Springs coach Jeff Horsley said. “We had a lot of alumni here cheering on their siblings and younger kids they don’t even know. We’ve got great cross country fans and a great community.”
The fans that were there got to see some history in the girls race.
Three-time defending 5A state champion Lexy Halladay of Mountain View ran 18:40.61 to smash the course record, becoming the first girl ever to break 19 minutes.
She defended her title from 2017, the last time Mountain View attended the Cardinal Classic.
Her effort wasn’t enough to give Mountain View the team title, as defending 5A state champion Boise put four runners in the top six, led by Rosina Machu in second at 19:32.1, to outpoint the Mavericks 36 to 76.
“It’s a big commitment for (Boise and Mountain View) to come here,” Horsley said. “I think on their way home they’re gonna stop and preview the state course (at Portneuf Wellness Complex). They don’t get to come over here very often. I talked with some of their kids and they all commented on the course being true cross country. This isn’t a track meet.”
Bear Lake’s Elli Kelsey finished 10th in 20:35.9 to lead the Bears to a ninth-place finish. Highland (10th), Pocatello (13th), Preston (15th), West Side (16th), Century (17th), Blackfoot (18th), Snake River (19th), Rockland (23rd) and Grace (24th) also competed.