Taylorsville cross country wraps up successful seasonNov 30, 2023 11:47AM ● By Josh McFadden
The Taylorsville boys cross country team placed fourth at the 5A state championships this fall. Five of the team’s varsity competitors return next year. (Photo courtesy Guy Mackay)
The 2023 cross country season was the best one ever for the Taylorsville boys team. The Warriors placed fourth in state at the Class 5A championships in October.
“We definitely had a good season,” head coach Guy Mackay said. “The thing, however, that I would be most happy about would be to watch the hard work pay off. They all worked extremely hard, and they were rewarded for their efforts.”
Mackay said the state meet was a team effort, as several runners turned out solid performances. The top runner for Taylorsville was junior Cole Jameson, who placed fourth overall with a 5k time of 15:29.3, just 31 seconds behind the champion, JoJo Jourdon of Olympus. Fellow junior Jonah Andrews came in 28th with a time of 16:18. Sophomore Edward Stout and junior Kai Makowski each finished in the top 50 by placing 40th and 49th, respectively.
“The state meet went great,” Mackay said. “It truly was a team effort. As with most meets, some of the kids did better than we thought would happen and some didn’t, but our hope was for a top-five finish. That was our goal at the beginning of the season. We were slated to finish between six and seven, so we knew we would have to have an exceptional race to snag a top five, which, of course, we did.”
Mackay highlighted Jameson’s season long efforts and his leadership and example. Along with Makowski, Stout and Andrews, he also praised Preston Gledhill, Liamm Passey and Elliot Stout. On the girls’ side, Mackay said Reagan Vanderlinden, Paula Briceno, Sophia Briceno, Brielle Oliverson, Peyton Burnett, Milca Bobadillo and Emmalee Pitcher stood out the most this season.
At the end of the state championships, with the season over, Mackay told his athletes to appreciate everything they had worked hard for and accomplished.
“The biggest thing I think for the kids to understand about a season like that is to hopefully enjoy the journey,” he said. “Make sure to celebrate the small victories, the small improvements. Because if you don't celebrate the small one, the big achievements don't mean as much.”
The Warriors developed a strong bond this season, which helped the runners individually and collectively. Mackay said he loved coaching this group. “The thing that I will probably take away the most, which is usually the same each year, is just watching the comraderies between the kids,” he said. “Cross country kids are typically very exceptional and well-mannered student athletes, which makes them fun to be around.”
Mackay has high expectations for the 2024 season. Five of his seven varsity runners are back next season. Still, he knows that simply bringing back experienced athletes doesn’t guarantee success. The team members need to put in the work.
“The kids understand that you can't just rely on what we did this year,” he said. “You have to stay consistent in the workouts. The summertime will be a big factor because that is where you can make a lot of gains or it’s also where someone else can pass you right on by.” λ