The last time the Broncs cross-country teams raced in Afton, both squads left with disappointing third-place finishes at state.
On Saturday, Jackson returned to Star Valley, and both teams returned home with victories.
On the girls side, Kate Brigham led the way, taking the individual win in an even 20 minutes. Muriel Jones followed in second place in 20:32, and Sarah Tallerico finished third in 20:37.
After the 1-3 sweep, Parker Smith secured fifth place in 20:57, and Zaidee Smith finished 10th in 21:46.
It was a different way to race, with COVID-19 restrictions breaking the varsity race into waves. The second half of the racers left the starting line 30 seconds after the first group.
“The girls all looked very comfortable attacking the hills in the last mile and held their positions,” head coach Jeff Brazil said. “It is clear our emphasis on hill training this year was paying off.”
On the boys side, Jackson came away with victory, though it wasn’t quite as clear cut as the girls’ performance. Ben Williams led the way with a second-place finish in 16:55, followed by Mason Wheeler in fifth at 17:44, Axel Klomparens eighth in 17:51, Brandon Brazil 10th in 18:06 and Juan Flores 17th in 18:51 to round out the Jackson top five.
There was redemption on the course, but also redemption against Evanston, which defeated the Broncs last time out in Green River two weeks ago. The Broncs finished with 42 points, edging Evanston’s 51 for second place.
Brazil made note of the work Klomparens and Brandon Brazil put in early. Though the wave start made it difficult to decipher just where everyone fit in, those fourth and fifth runners came through the mile with roughly the same split as the lead group.
“This is huge for the team,” Brazil said. “If we are looking at state this year, we will have a solid five, six runners packed together, and it sure looked like that was coming together.”
The Broncs will be back at it this Saturday with races in Thermopolis. On Sept. 26 the Broncs host their lone home meet of the season.