Sydney Palmer-Leger

Senior Sydney Palmer-Leger placed sixth out of 80 runners in the girls’ race.

The Sun Valley Community School sent two cross-country runners south to the Idaho Cross-Country Championships in Pocatello on Saturday, Nov. 2, and they returned with a pair of top-10 finishes.

Senior Johnny Hagenbuch finished second out of 90 runners in the boys’ 1A 5,000-meter run at the Portneuf Wellness Complex last weekend. And, senior Sydney Palmer-Leger scored sixth of 80 in the girls’ race, smashing her personal best by some 30 seconds with a time of 19:32 in her first state championship.

Liberty Charter senior Caleb Hamblin won the boys’ 1A race for a second straight year in 15:31, while Britta Holmberg, a senior at The Ambrose School, paced the girls with a time of 19.01.

Hagenbuch’s 15:54 run rounded out his high-school career with a second-straight silver medal in the event, and his third-straight top-10. He’d previously finished fourth at state as a sophomore and 14th as a freshman.

Across all five categories, Borah’s Nathan Green won the boys’ races in 15:13, and Mattalyn Geddes of Twin Falls ran a 17:30 for the girls’ state title. Hagenbuch’s 2019 time was the 14th fastest statewide.

Not a bad offseason for the Cutthroats, who aren’t runners by trade.

Both Hagenbuch and Palmer-Leger Nordic ski for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation—and, recently, the U.S. Under-20 national team. In February, the pair represented the United States at the 2019 FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships in Lahti, Finland. Hagenbuch took gold as part of a 4x5-kilometer relay team—America’s first ever win in at Worlds—and Palmer-Ledger took fourth skiing the third leg of the 4x3.3-kilometer relay.

“The kids ran really well,” coach Rick Kapala said of Saturday’s races. “Both of these athletes are very committed to year-round fitness training, and the cross-country season is a great way for them to dial up their race fitness and represent their school at Idaho State Championships.”

Email the writer: mdee@mtexpress.com

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