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American Fork holds off Lone Peak to win 6A girls cross country title

By Darnell Dickson - | Oct 27, 2021
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American Fork cross country runners pose for photos with the state championship trophy after winning the 2021 6A state girls cross country race at the Regional Athletic Complex in Rose Park on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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American Fork cross country runners accept the state championship trophy after winning the 2021 6A state girls cross country race at the Regional Athletic Complex in Rose Park on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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American Fork cross country runners pose for photos after winning the 2021 5A state girls cross country race at the Regional Athletic Complex in Rose Park on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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American Fork sophomore Avalon Mecham (right) leads the pack during the 2021 6A state girls cross country race at the Regional Athletic Complex in Rose Park on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Lone Peak cross country runners recover after the 2021 6A state girls cross country race at the Regional Athletic Complex in Rose Park on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Runners compete in the 2021 6A state girls cross country race at the Regional Athletic Complex in Rose Park on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Runners compete in the 2021 6A state girls cross country race at the Regional Athletic Complex in Rose Park on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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American Fork cross country runners prepare before the 2021 5A state girls cross country race at the Regional Athletic Complex in Rose Park on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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American Fork seniors Avery Moore (right) and Abigail Barlow run during the 2021 5A state girls cross country race at the Regional Athletic Complex in Rose Park on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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American Fork sophomore Avalon Mecham (left) finishes second behind Herriman senior Addi Bruening during the 2021 6A state girls cross country race at the Regional Athletic Complex in Rose Park on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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American Fork runners celebrate after winning the 2021 6A state girls cross country race at the Regional Athletic Complex in Rose Park on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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Medalists pose for photos after the 2021 6A state girls cross country race at the Regional Athletic Complex in Rose Park on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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The Lone Peak cross country team poses for photos after taking second at the 2021 6A state girls cross country race at the Regional Athletic Complex in Rose Park on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)

For the last several years, the Class 6A girls cross country title has been pretty much between American Fork and Lone Peak.

The Cavemen had won five state titles heading into Wednesday’s finals at Rose Park’s Regional Athletic Complex, the last in 2018. The Knights, meanwhile, had won the past two 6A crowns.

On Wednesday afternoon, American Fork’s depth won out as the Cavemen claimed their sixth state championship since 2009.

American Fork’s top five runners finished second, fifth, tenth, 26th and 27th to score a meet-low 70 points while Lone Peak (4, 7, 14, 31, 33) was the runner-up with 89 points.

“Lone Peak has won the last two years and we were second but we won it before that,” AF coach Bruno Hunziker said. “It’s been kind of a trade off.”

American Fork sophomore Avalon Mecham and Herriman senior Addi Bruening staged a good battle and were on each other’s heels at the two-mile mark. Bruening had a strong kick to finish at 17:28.3, less than two seconds ahead of Mecham, who was third in last year’s race as a freshman.

AF senior Abigail Barlow, who won the divisional meet two weeks ago, raced into fifth place and senior Avery Moore took 10th.

“I wanted to be a little bit better, but yeah, I’m glad that I was Top 10,” Moore said. “It was a good course. I was really glad I was here for the divisional meet, too. It was a little bit shorter this time. The first two miles today went well and my second mile was faster than everyone here. My third mile was rough, but I made it. This is my first state championship and it feels great.”

Lone Peak’s top finisher was senior Taylor Rohatinsky, who ended up fifth, and freshman Boston Bybee, who was seventh.

American Fork slotted two seniors, Hazel Baird and Natalie Jensen, in 26th and 27th place, respectively, to earn the title.

We’ve been running strong all year,” Hunziker said. “We have four seniors and they are pretty great. They are a very confident team and we haven’t lost any races this year. Going in we knew it was going to be a battle between us and Lone Peak. They are a very, very good team and they gave us a good challenge today. That’s the closest anybody has been to us all year. There was a lot of pressure and the stakes were high but the girls were able to withstand the pressure and pull of the win. That’s six championships since 2009. So I’m really proud of the seniors. That’s a great way to go out.”

One of those seniors was Moore, who was 11th in last year’s race.

“I just liked how close everyone is and how positive everyone is,” she said. “We really work together and it’s a good environment.”

Hunziker added: “Their growth has been unreal. Some of these girls I’ve had since the ninth grade and they have just improved immensely. It’s just amazing to watch four years go by, what they’ve done and all the hard work they’ve put in. I’m so proud of the girls for that awesome job today. It’s a great way for our seniors to go out and we’ve got a pretty good young core coming so we’re hopeful we’re going to continue this. Hopefully we’re still there next year to compete.”

For complete details from the state cross country meet, go to UHSAA.org.

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