AFTON – Lily Nichols was three minutes behind the nation’s top cross-country runner from Rawlins, Sydney Thorvaldson at the Wyoming State High School Cross Country meet at Star Valley in Afton. Nichols placed seventh overall in 3A state competition and won her second all-state medal in the last month.
Earlier this season, she finished in ninth place in the state golf meet which gave her an all-state honor there as well.
Nichols finished with a time of 20:38:9, four seconds from a top-five finish. Oh, and she’s only a freshman. The closest freshman to finish behind her was Briley Farris from Buffalo High School. That means that next year Nichols will only have three runners that finished faster than her in this year’s race and they are all upperclassmen.
“She is tough, she didn't feel well during the state race, she had a bout of altitude sickness, headache and nausea,” said varsity coach Sally Nichols. “She positioned herself in fifth, our strategy to help her maintain and have an edge at the finish. However, she stated there are parts of the race she can't remember that she would become aware she was running when fans would cheer "go Wheatland." Yet, with 600m left she snapped out of it, when she realized a pack of six was hot on her tail. She realized if all passed she would be 11th, one out of All-State. She remembered her dad saying that morning, "Do you want to be holding the medal, or do you want to watch someone else hold it." She decided she wanted the medal and fought to the finish.”
The girls team finished in 14th place as a team, and although the boys didn’t place, individually they all ran great races.
“Another positive from state is definitely Tyler Bohnen,” Nichols said. "Tyler had two great weeks of practice heading into Conference and State. We could sense he was ready to have a good race, the night before he ran an extra mile, and was eager to compete. He truly had a breakout run at State and had a personal best of over a minute. Tough to do on that course. He wanted to watch the awards, you could tell his wheels were turning."
Boys: Tyler Bohnen, freshman, 84th 20:34:0; Matthew streets, junior, 87th 20:40:9; Simon May, freshman, 94th 21:22:1; Derrick Sarrad, freshman, 102nd 22:30:4.
Girls: Lily Nichols, freshman, 7th 20:38.9; Kaesha Davis, senior, 83rd 25:58.0 ; Grace Hanni, junior, 94th 27:53.9; Megan Cecil, freshman, 98th 28:34.0; Rebecca Crowley, freshman, 99th 30:57.5