Barely a month into her first varsity season, freshman Eve Jensen is already drawing comparisons to three-time individual 5A state cross country champion Emily Hamlin of Boise High.
No pressure, right?
Not the way Jensen sees it.
“People compare me to her a lot. I think that’s cool,” Jensen said. “But I usually just tell people, ‘I am not Emily Hamlin, I’m me.’ We’re two different people.”
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Based on her performances this season, Jensen is quickly making a name for herself while wearing the same Braves jersey that Hamlin once did.
Jensen finished seventh in 18 minutes, 36.9 seconds in the elite high school girls 5-kilometer race at the Bob Firman Invitational on Saturday at Eagle Island State Park. The North Junior High ninth-grader held her own as the top Idaho finisher in a field that featured some of the best teams and runners in the nation.
“Eve has loved running her whole life. She kind of lives the lifestyle already,” Boise coach Corey Mooney said. “She’s very dedicated and disciplined. I think it shows this year that she is regimented about things and also just very mentally even and mentally tough.
“For a freshman with the kind of expectation that she has now on her, she handles it very well. She’s humble, but she’s fierce as a runner. She wants to be out there racing the best girls.”
Senior Courtney Wayment of Davis (Utah) took home the girls individual title in 17:56.4, which stands as a new record after organizers made some changes to the start of the race this season. Great Oak (Calif.) senior Destiny Collins, who went into the race ranked No. 1 in the country by dyestat.com, finished ninth.
In the team race, Great Oak lived up to its billing as dyestat.com’s preseason No. 1, winning with 43 points. American Fork (Utah) was second (77 points) and Davis third (83). Eagle was the top finisher among Idaho teams in eighth (227), and Boise took ninth (251).
Although Jensen had run the 3k race at Bob Firman before, this was her first time tackling the 5k. Her season-best time is 17:34.68, which she set with a fourth-place finish at the Sundodger Invitational on Sept. 19 in Seattle. Through five varsity races, Jensen has two wins and ranks No. 1 in the state, according to athletic.net.
“So far I’ve just kind of learned that you just have to go out there and run as hard as you can, even if you aren’t feeling your best or if you don’t think you can do very well,” Jensen said. “You just have to give it your all.”
UTAH TEAM PULLS OFF UPSET
The boys elite race included five teams ranked among the top 30 in the nation in dyestat.com’s preseason poll.
It was No. 30 Timpanogos (Utah) that came through as the surprise winner, edging No. 8 Great Oak (Calif.) 104-106. No. 6 Davis (Utah) was right behind with 109 points. Boise, Capital and Bishop Kelly were the only Valley schools to enter in the elite race. Boise was the top finisher in 18th.
Senior Alek Parsons of Ogden (Utah) ran to an individual win in 15:16.7, and Shelley senior Austin Stewart was the top Idaho runner in 12th (15:48.9).
MOUNTAIN VIEW SECOND, FOURTH IN PORTLAND
The Mavericks competed in the Nike Portland meet Saturday in Oregon, with the boys finishing second by four points to No. 34 West Torrance (Calif.) and the girls in fourth at Portland Meadows Race Track.
Mountain View senior Noah Horsburgh led the way among Idaho finishers with his time of 15:30.57 for ninth place. On the girls side, sophomore Makenna Schuler paced the Mavericks in 20th (18:40.78).
Rocky Mountain joined Mountain View in Portland, finishing sixth (boys) and 11th (girls).