Skip to main content

West Jordan Journal

West Jordan Cross Country experiences growth in numbers, performance

Oct 12, 2023 03:14PM ● By Josh McFadden

With more numbers to its team this season, the West Jordan girls cross country team has put together a solid year. (Photo courtesy of Taylor Hatch)

In a sport such as cross country, the more people you have on your team, the better shot you have of competing well. Larger teams are more likely to place more runners and thus earn points for the team. 

The West Jordan Jaguars made some big strides this season.

The Jaguars were few in numbers a year ago but had more participation this season. Head coach Taylor Hatch is pleased with the progress. 

“This year has definitely been a step in the right direction,” he said. “We had a very small team last year, and this year we added a lot more people. On the girls’ side, we only had about five girls last year, and now we have 12. We are back in a region with schools in our area and around our abilities, so we have goals to try and win the region or be top two.”

Moving to Class 5A Region 4 from Class 6A has helped the team be more competitive, as it now faces schools with a similar number of runners. But it hasn’t just been the increase in participants or the classification change. Hatch said many of the runners have worked hard and improved, making the Jaguars a better team top to bottom.

“A lot of kids improved and stepped up this season,” he said. “It has been awesome to see the athletes work together in races. Our boys spread from 1–7 is amazing! And our top five girls are very close together as well.”

Hatch highlighted the efforts of Tyndale Curtis, Thomas Gudgell and Spencer Johns. The trio has consistently finished in the top three on the team. On the girls’ side, Hatch said Olivia Richards, Yllka Curtis and Cristie Bastidas have been the top three for almost every race. 

Compared to last season, the Jaguars have been more competitive. There has not been as large of a space between the team and other schools in races. As a result, the team has been more successful when it comes to earning points and placing in the final standings.

“Our strength would have to be how close our athletes are in the races,” Hatch said. “The gaps are very small and that has helped move us up in final placement.”

West Jordan still has a way to go as a program, Hatch said. The team is young, with the bulk of the runners coming from the freshman or sophomore ranks. Some runners on the team have never even participated in cross country before. 

“We will keep building and get more experience for next year,” Hatch said. 

The Class 5A state cross country championships will be Oct. 24. Regardless of how the team fares at state, Hatch is grateful to coach this group, and he is pleased with the team’s progress. 

“I will always remember how enjoyable it was to be around the athletes,” he said. “They had very positive attitudes and worked very hard this season.” λ