Passing the torch

Freshman Grant Bartlett reflects on winning State Championship, senior Jarom Herring offers advice

 

November 6, 2019

Dana Davis

From left, Kaitlynn Campbell, Grant Bartlett, Joey Gonzales, Jarom Herring, Grady Bartlett, Kelton Johnson, Brayden Barkhurst and Calvin Condict stand in front of students, family and staff as part of an assembly to celebrate the cross country team on Oct. 31.

For several years, the Saratoga Panthers Cross Country team has incorporated runners throughout Carbon County School District No. 2 (CCSD2), most notably students from Encampment, 20 miles south of Saratoga. In the past four years, the combined efforts of the long distance runners have seen the 2A Boys Cross Country team bring home the State Championship for three years with the last two years being back-to-back victories.

When the State Championship was won in 2016, Reid Schroeder come home as the individual champion. The Panthers ended their 2017 season as the state runner-ups, but with Jarom Herring coming in as State Champion. Herring would repeat his winning performance during the 2018 season as well as leading the boys cross country team to their second State Championship.

This year, while it was expected by various outlets on the state level that Herring would get a third championship, Grant Bartlett came, quite literally, running onto the track along with his twin brother, Grady Bartlett. Throughout the season, Grant led the Saratoga Panthers as he placed 1st in nearly every meet he competed in.


During the 2A Boys Cross Country Championship, Grant was able to continue that winning effort as he secured his place as State Champion.

"It was pretty cool," said Grant. "It was fun, I enjoyed it."

Despite the success he was having during the regular season, Grant admitted that he had his concerns going into the State Championship.

"I was pretty worried about some other fast kids from the state and I wasn't sure if I was the fastest," Grant said.

"You were more than pretty worried," added Herring.

Throughout the season, while Grant often placed 1st, Grady was usually seconds behind him as he placed 2nd. One of the few exceptions was during the Shana Ward Memorial Invite when two runners from higher conference schools either finished ahead of Grant or split the placings of the twin brothers.

Grant admitted that both he and Grady are often in competition with each other and it often goes beyond the sport they're competing in. As a freshman, Grant has another three years of competing in cross country ahead of him. It is possible that one might think becoming the state champion the first year running might not give much incentive for the remaining years, but Grant is determined to win another championship next year.

As Grant comes in as the State Champion, it also signals the end of Herring's time as the leader of the team. Herring ran in cross country for four years and came away as an All-State runner each year. As this final season comes to an end for him, he is happy with the team he was able to lead.

"It was wonderful. I was so happy that I had the team that I did and that we were able to finish the season that we did," said Herring. "I was wishing we could have gone 1,2,3 a little bit more, but I ended up not being able to pull it out at the end. It was alright, though."

While Grant and Grady placed in the top two spots, Herring came in 5th place during the State Championship in Afton, Wyo. The senior, however, is happy that the cross country team was able to end the season with a back-to-back championship.

"It's great, there's not a better feeling than winning a championship. We worked hard all season to succeed in that goal and that's just all we could ask for," Herring said.

Next year will be the first year that the team will run without Herring, but he has some advice for the team as it moves forward.

"Give everything you have. It goes away faster than you think it does and you have to make the most of it while you have the chance," said Herring.

He also had advice for Grant.

"Keep winning."

 

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