Dixie State University’s cross-country team placed high and set a new record in the George Kyte Invitational.
The Red Storm men placed second overall, and the women finished fifth. Freshman Nick Watson, a general education major from Riverton, ran the fastest time on the course in invitational history for a Dixie runner.
Watson ran the course in 27:26 and helped the men’s team receive its record time.
Watson credits his fast time to the work he put in over the summer and the help of his teammates.
“I did a lot of high-altitude runs over the summer,” Watson said. “I also averaged 70-80 miles a week.”
Watson also said it is nice to have a strong team this year because the members are able to push each other at practice.
“When you have people on your team who have competitive times, it helps you as a runner a lot,” Watson said.
Head coach Justin Decker said it was easy to see who had been practicing over the summer. The team is not allowed to hold official practices until two weeks before its first meet of the season, and the Kyte Invitational is a great race to see where the runners stack up for the season.
“We run this course every year, so it is nice to be able to compare times and see how people have improved,” Decker said.
Although the women did not improve on their overall time, they were pleased with their strong showing.
“Our team works well together to make sure we place high,” said Morgan Lacey, a sophomore nursing major from Apple Valley, Calif.
Lacey credits the team’s fifth place finish to the small gap between runners. A gap is the time difference between each runner on the team. If most of the team comes in near the same time as the first runner, it benefits the team more than if just one runner finishes the course fast.
The teams have little time to rest with three meets coming up back-to-back.
Next on the Storm’s schedule is the UNLV Invitational in Las Vegas on Sept. 28.
“UNLV is a hard place to run,” Lacey said. “A lot of the course is deep sand.”
Although it doesn’t take up the entire course, Lacey said there is enough sand to make the course difficult.
“The sand is something that you need to be prepared for,” Lacey said. “It takes a lot of training.”
The team practices nine times a week with a variety of workouts ranging from speed drills to long distance hill runs.
“We will do mile hill repeats out on Webb Hill,” Lacey said. “It gets pretty hard, but it keeps us in shape.”
The team has the chance to work together, and that is what makes the team better, Watson said.
“We just push each other through a practice,” Watson said. “It makes us better and we get to be closer as a team.”