The success of this year's Davis cross-country team may have begun years before, back when Brayden Cromar and Preston Johnson were in seventh grade. They looked into the trophy case at Davis a school with a history of some of the best running teams in the state, and made a goal.
They would be a part of the trophy case. In fact, they were going to win it all.
"Something clicked in Preston," Cromar said. "Preston and I have been the catalyst of dreams for our age group. We set goals, and it spreads like wildfire. Preston started this whole team, and I credit everything to him."
Now juniors, they are one step closer to bringing a national title back to the Darts. Last weekend, Davis took third at the Nike National Cross Country Championships. It was the highest a Utah team has placed at the event since its inception.
It was also the realization of a goal that coach Corbin Talley set for this team at the start of the season. While Talley acknowledged the regular season had its ups and downs, the finish couldn't have been better.
"We were so excited," Talley said. "It's one thing to have a hope and a goal it's another thing to rise to the challenge and actually get it done."
Senior Brad Nye finished first for Davis in 15th place with a time of 15:57. Cromar was 18th, while Johnson was 32nd and Wood was 34th with a time of 16:13.
"The meet went about as great as it could possibly go," Nye said. "Our guys ran nearly perfect races, and the whole atmosphere was awesome."
While perhaps not as important as the third-place finish, Davis was also able to get over another hurdle with American Fork falling to sixth. The Cavemen were ranked second going into the event, but an injury to state champion Mac Morrison caused the slide.
It was the first time Davis was able to eclipse American Fork in Nye's career.
"To finally get it in the last cross-country race in the national meet was definitely satisfying," Nye said, "but at the same time, we understand what they've gone through and sympathize. They've been an absolutely phenomenal team over the years."
Now home, the team will add another award to the trophy case, take a few weeks to relax, and then get right back to training. With Nye just one of two seniors graduating, all signs point to Davis getting a space ready in the case for next year's team.
"We know that it will take work, but we think we can be a better team," Talley said. "We're right where we want to be, and we're ready to make the sacrifices."
"The goal has always been to win the national championship, ever since seventh grade," Cromar added. "That's the one we've always been going for that's our biggest dream."
Davis County cross-country represents well at nationals
American Fork's top finisher was Clayton Young, who finished 24th with a time of 15:50.
Ogden's Sarah Feeney and Jamie Stokes qualified as individuals, with Feeney taking 46th and Stokes finishing 92nd.