Dixie State University’s cross-country team participated in most of the runners’ first collegiate invitational, finishing in almost the exact place at this race last year.
The Storm ran the George Kyte Invitational in Flagstaff, Arizona, on Sept. 6., where the women took second and the men took eighth overall in this year. Sophomore Skyler Storie took first, followed up close with junior Bri Moyle taking third in the open division for the women.
Standings were almost the same last year as the women took third in 2013, and the men took eighth.
Head coach Justin Decker said this race was a good start to the season. He said Storie winning the division race with a 15:53 time for the women in the 2.6 mile race was the highlight of the race for the team.
“[Storie] is on a pace to have a lot of success this season, and we are very excited to have her on the team,” Justin Decker said.
Moyle also came in close to Storie with an overall 16:25 time in the open division.
Along with the women, Nick Watson came in with a 24:37.8 time and George Barlow came in with a 25:45.4 in the 4.5 mile race to lead the way for the men. But the Storm said they want the times to be cinched even closer.
“Something that we are working on this year is to close the gap between our first and fifth runners,” said Josh Decker, a junior Spanish major from St. George. “Cross-country is about having your runners close together, and we are trying to close the gap so that our top five runners finish within a minute of each other.”
The team this year seems to be more diverse compared to last year. Justin Decker said this is one key thing to the success of the team this year.
“We have a lot more depth to the team this year than we have had in the past years, which will make a huge difference in our team scoring,” Justin Decker said. “One thing we are working on is trying to have a tight pack of runners in the races.”
The team already has something pretty tight as a pack; their camaraderie is pretty close as well, Josh Decker said.
“I feel that we have a tight-knit group,” Josh Decker said. “We love running with each other and pushing each other in practice.”
With that, both men’s and women’s cross-country teams have a lot of new faces this year.
“We believe that our teams this year are the best ones Dixie State cross-country has ever had, especially on the men’s side,” Josh Decker said.
He said it can be the best because the team runs extra miles, does core work outs as a team and spends more time together.
For the season as a whole, Josh Decker said the team has a mutual desire to have unity and live up to the team’s expectations. One of those expectations is to do better at conference. The Storm took seventh place in the conference tournament in November last year.
Dixie is now preparing to go toe-to-toe in the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Invitational on Sept. 20.