The Murray Invitational is of Utah’s oldest and most prestigious invitationals, it has been around for over 38 years, and it has seen some of the state’s greatest performances from both teams and individuals. In the 2007 rendition, we saw some races that will add to that legacy.


In the varsity girl’s race, Candace Eddy and the Davis High girls showed everyone why they are the team to beat in 5A girls cross country. With Eddy leading the way taking the six second victory over Orem’s Krystal Harper, the Darts won the team title with a 46 point victory, over the 4A Orem Tigers, 67 to 113. Eddy set the pace, and her teammates followed as Natalie Haws and Katie Swanson both placed in the top ten in 3rd and 8th respectively. Their top five was rounded out with Loren Storey in 27th and Hollie King in 28th. Finishing the varsity scoring was 6th runner Emily Hansen in 31st and Kelsey Valentine in 46th. Their depth was on display as their top six runners finished ahead of anyone’s top five.


            Orem narrowly defeated 5A’s Timpanogos by a score of 113 to 117. Harper’s 2nd place finish was the difference as the Timberwolves placed their scoring five runners ahead of the five from Orem. Orem looks to be one of the top teams in the 4A ranks as their scoring five included Harper in 2nd, Kendy Christensen in 10th, Joanna Blackburn in 22nd, Sarah Blackburn in 23rd, and Megan Webb in 56th.


            Timpanogos was led by the one-two punch of 5th place Brooke Hodson, 6th place Suzanna Sorensen, and were followed by 35th place Lecy Skousen, 38th place Hannah Groom, and 44th place Kimberly Bringhurst. Timpanogos is one team that could make some noise at the State Championships and should challenge for a second place trophy with just about anyone out there.


            The rest of the top ten included: defending 5A State Champion Shayla Kipp from Skyline in 4th, Jessie Chugg of 5A Fremont in 7th, and Laura Hatch of 4A Mountain Crest in 9th. 


            In the varsity boys race, Stephen Clark of 5A Skyline proved that is the man to beat as he aims for his second straight individual state championship as he raced to a 15:25 victory over 4A Springville’s Spencer Gardner who ran a 15:30, and 5A Bingham’s Nate Jewkes who ran a 15:48. The three pushed it through some rough paces together for over half the race, but Clark and Gardner broke away and surged ahead as they fought neck and neck until the last 200 meters when Clark just sprinted to the win.


But it was the 8th and 9th place finishes of Orem seniors Darren Ott and Bryan Willoughby who was the most important as it gave the Orem Tigers the overall team victory with 99 points. The other scoring runners include: Benjamin Johnson in 15th (16:46), Jason Palmer in 22nd (17:00), and Ray Bateman in 45th (17:36).


4A’s Mountain Crest sealed up second place with a pair of top ten finishes. Led by the 5th place finish of Neal Ferrin in 16:21, the Mustangs scored 132 points. Kevin Dickey was 10th in 16:37, Zak Dymock in 14th in 16:45, Skylar Riggs in 18th in 16:54, and Jesse Petersen in 85th in 18:06. The 5A Davis Darts took the third place trophy led by top ten runner Seth Gutzwiller in 7th place running 16:27 while the team scored 141 points. The other scoring runners were Spencer Anderson in 12th (16:38), Bryson Snow in 37th (17:26), Bryce Larsen in 39th (17:28), and Jason Thomas in 46th (17:37).


            The rest of the top ten included: Karl Wilcock of 3A Hurricane in 4th and George Barlow of 5A Weber in 6th.


            The JV girls race also belonged to the Davis Darts as six of the top eleven finishers belonged to the Lady Darts. The race winner was Meghan Hedquist (21:09), a freshman from Davis, and she was followed by her teammates Lizzy Wallin in 2nd, Julianne Wirthlin in 4th, Ashley Ballard-Sume in 5th, Talya Kussee in 9th, and Brittany Blankenship in 11th. The remainder of the top ten included Kaity Diaz from 3A Delta, Madison Wolf in 6th and Shaye Maurer in 7th both from 3A Cedar, Caroline Johnson from Mountain Crest in 8th, and Kayla Lockhart from 5A Alta in 10th.


            The JV boys race was a close one as 1A’s Green River was represented well with a narrow victory from Brady Goyn in 17:47. Bingham’s Matt LeBaron was second in 17:51. The rest of the top ten were: Conner Davis of Bingham in 3rd, Quinn Stephens of Mountain Crest in 4th. Carston Feigleson of Davis in 5th, Derek Wood of Green River in 6th, Tyler Morris of Bingham in 7th, Andy Shields of Springville in 8th, Jeremiah Robinson in 9th and Alex Plaster in 10th, both runners from Orem.


            The Murray Invite is unique in that it has a set of rookie races which are set up for athletes, regardless of age or grade, that have never participated in cross country before. In the girls rookie race, the winner was Sarah Gunn from 4A’s Snow Canyon. The boys winner was Mason West of 3A’s Park City.