If Lexy Halladay were the kind of person who wanted revenge, she got it Saturday.
But vengeance isn’t really a part of the Mountain View High sophomore’s vocabulary, so let’s just say she got the place she wanted.
Halladay won the elite girls cross country race in 17 minutes, 37.8 seconds at the Bob Firman Invitational on her first try, leaving a former rival in the dust at Eagle Island State Park. It was the first Bob Firman win by an Idaho female since Eagle’s Liz Brandon in 2009.
“I really wanted to win,” Halladay said. “When (Bozeman’s) Camila (Noe) started pulling away, I knew I had to catch her, because second place just wasn’t acceptable to me.”
As a freshman in 2016, there was only one cross country race on Idaho soil that Halladay finished but did not win. She came in second to Annie Hill of Glacier (Mont.) by four seconds in the NXN Northwest Regional race on the same course as Saturday’s event.
But Hill was no match for Halladay at Bob Firman, finishing a distant ninth in 18:10.2. Sadie Sargent of North Summit (Utah) was second (17:39.2) and Noe third (17.39.7). Boise junior Eve Jensen took fifth (17:46.2) for the second year in a row.
Claremont (Calif.) won the team race with 137 points, and defending NXN regional champion Bozeman (Mont.) was second at 140. Idaho landed three girls teams among the top six, with Mountain View in third (186), Boise fifth (213) and Eagle sixth (223).
“I think right now we’re seeing this big jump on the girls side,” Bob Firman race director Ryan Canning said. “That’s absolutely a testament to a few of the girls in the past, but Lexy has really elevated that to a new level. …Hopefully we can see this continue on the girls side.”
When she lost to Hill last season, Halladay said she made the mistake of going out too hard too early. Halladay had led much of the regional race before getting passed by Hill on the last hairpin turn ahead of a stretch known as Poplar Lane.
This time, Halladay stayed within the lead pack of six or seven runners and let Bozeman’s Noe do the work out front as the group began to thin coming down the hill for the final time.
“She pulled it off perfect. She did exactly what Annie did to her last year (at regionals),” Mountain View coach Tracy Harris said.
Halladay was a favorite to win Bob Firman, but that didn’t make the task any easier for the defending 5A state cross country champion. After she crossed the finish line, Halladay collapsed.
This is a really big race, so I just had to mentally be prepared to be in pain the whole time.
Lexy Halladay, Mountain View runner on her mindset ahead of the girls elite race at Bob Firman
“She dug down and got it,” Harris said.
Mountain View didn’t attend Bob Firman last season, instead choosing to enter the gold division of the Rob Griak Invitational in Falcon Crest, Minn.
Halladay won that race by nearly 20 seconds, setting off a string of impressive victories on a national stage in her first year as a varsity runner. She added record-setting individual state titles in track in the 3,200 and 1,600 meters last spring and gutted out a victory in the invitation-only Girls’ Dream Mile in Somerville, Mass., in June.
In the Dyestat.com national rankings released earlier this week, Halladay was listed at No. 7. That number is likely to climb after yet another big win, and Idaho cross country will keep on climbing right alongside her.
“I feel like the teams are getting stronger, and we’re being seen more nationally,” Halladay said. “Overall, I just think our depth is getting stronger as a whole group.”
Notes: Senior Ryan Raff of Lehi (Utah) won the boys elite race in 15:11.2, and Timpanogos (Utah) won a tiebreaker over Springville (Utah) for the boys team championship. Both schools finished with 96 points, so the title was decided based on which team’s sixth runner had the better placing. …After winning the Division I boys race last season, Bishop Kelly junior Nicholas Russell toed the line in the elite race and came away as Idaho’s top finisher in fifth (15:21.3).
Bob Firman elite results
- Boys Top 10: 1. Ryan Raff, Lehi (Utah), 15:11.2; 2. Zack Winter, Fremont (Utah), 15:19.5; 3. Duncan Hamilton, Bozeman (Mont.), 15:20.7; 4. Brandon Garnica, Springville (Utah), 15:20.7; 5. Nicholas Russell, Bishop Kelly, 15:21.3; 6. Bronson Winter, Fremont (Utah), 15:22.0; 7. Brennan Benson, Timpanogos (Utah), 15:27.4; 8. Caleb Armstrong, Hurricane (Utah), 15:30.9; 9. Grant Gardner, Springville (Utah), 15:31.7; 10. Zach Erikson, Idaho Falls, 15:33.6. Teams: 1. Timpanogos 96; 2. Springville 96; 3. Central Valley (Wash.) 137; 4. Bozeman 174; 5. Davis (Utah) 182.
- Girls Top 10: 1. Lexy Halladay, Mountain View, 17:37.8; 2. Sadie Sargent, North Summit (Utah), 17:39.2; 3. Camila Noe, Bozeman (Mont.), 17:39.7; 4. Heidi Sumsion, Springville (Utah), 17:46.0; 5. Eve Jensen, Boise, 17:46.2; 6. Camille Winterton, Skyline (Utah), 17:50.3; 7. Mattalyn Geddes, Twin Falls, 18:00.6; 8. McKenna Lee, Weber (Utah), 18:01.1; 9. Annie Hill, Glacier (Mont.), 18:10.2; 10. Sydney Hwang, Claremont (Calif.), 18:10.8. Teams: 1. Claremont 137; 2. Bozeman 140; 3. Mountain View 186; 4. Skyline (Utah) 207; 5. Boise 213; 6. Eagle 223.