The Lone Peak girls cross country program has suffered through a couple of disappointing finishes in recent years.

The Knights had a shot to win in 2017 but finished third behind Pleasant Grove and American Fork.

Lone Peak looked like the favorite heading into the 2018 competition but ended up in second-place behind the Cavemen.

When would the Knights get over the top?

Lone Peak emphatically answered all the questions with a dominant performance in Wednesday’s 6A state competition at Sugar House Park as four Knight runners finished in the Top 6.

The key to that success, according to Lone Peak head coach Courtney Meldrum, was getting back to enjoying the sport.

“These girls have no idea how good they really are,” Meldrum said. “We haven’t told them rankings or stats. We just wanted them to run happy. Our theme this year was doubt not, fear not. We didn’t doubt ourselves and that was fun to watch as a coach.”

With that mindset, it was fitting that fun-loving Knight junior Eliza Arrington ended up winning the race, crossing the finish line in a time of 17:55.7.

“I felt like the first mile went a little slow but when it was time to go, I felt ready to go,” Arrington said. “The hills were a strong point for me. It was also incredible to have Reagan Gardner next to me. It was actually scary when I started going because I heard people cheering for the runners behind me, so I felt like I had to go faster or I would regret it. It was a fantastic race.”

Arrington’s personality was highlighted by her bright blue mascara (worn for the meet because she lost a bet) and a bead necklace a friend’s dad had traded for in the Amazon rainforest (which she put on after the race because someone dared her to wear it on the podium).

“I just have fun with it,” Arrington said with a grin. “I just love running so much.”

She said that getting the first girls cross country title in school history was something special.

“It’s feels so good,” Arrington said. “Last year was really sad for us but it made us more determined.”

Meldrum called the 2019 Knight squad a “special group” of kind, thoughtful girls who brought some magic to this team.

“I knew they had it in them,” Meldrum said. “But on any given day anything can happen. I’m super-proud of them and I love them to death.”

American Fork ended up in second place while Westlake came in fourth overall.

Skyridge’s Creed Thompson wins 6A boys race, leads Falcons to third-place finish

Every runner has to know his strengths. That knowledge turned out to make a big difference for Skyridge junior Creed Thompson.

“I had been close in every race this year,” Thompson said. “I was thinking about it and I knew I had to go early. I was feeling good after the first mile and felt that the pace was a little slow, so I went for it. I had to power through the final 800 meters but I did it.”

Falcon head coach Jamie Alvizo said Thompson didn’t win a race all season.

“He was second or third or fifth,” Alvizo said. “But he learned his strengths. He knew he could be beat in the sprint at the end, so if the opportunity arose he was going to gap it early. He was able to build a big lead and it was so cool to see the pieces fall into place.”

Thompson’s individual title was a key aspect in Skyridge’s third-place finish, the best of any Utah Valley 6A boys team.

“We knew state could be anyone’s game,” Alvizo said. “We just wanted to go out and run our race and be proud of how we did. This was exciting. Our goal coming in was to be in the Top 5 but we have hard workers.”

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Daily Herald sports reporter Jared Lloyd can be reached at 801-344-2555 or Twitter: @JaredrLloyd. Instagram: @JaredrLloyd.