Rim Country Middle School is rapidly building a reputation as the home of running champions.
The seventh and eighth grade girls and the sixth grade co-ed team, who have won back-to-back Tri-Valley League Big School championship trophies, have helped the school earn the status.
Coach Jackie Wallace lauds a strong work ethic as the foundation to the championships.
“All the athletes worked incredibly hard and made huge improvements during the season,” she said. “It has been a great privilege to coach such talented runners this season.”
Three lead the way
Individually, Logan Conway, Julie Gibson and Trevor Anderson led the Mavericks.
Conway, a seventh-grader, was a Tri-Valley superstar winning all seven races she competed in.
“She is an incredible athlete with an amazing future,” Wallace said. “If she continues to pursue running, she has the talent to run her way through college.”
The coach has no doubts what the keys to success were for the young runner.
“She was the most driven athlete I had, especially at the end of the season when she knew an undefeated season was possible,” Wallace said.
Gibson, who’s mother Linda competed last year in the Boston Marathon, ran her way to the sixth grade Tri-Valley individual championship.
“Julie has an amazing amount of natural talent,” Wallace said. “She too has a bright future in a running career if she chooses that path.”
The fledgling runner might have been at her best in the league finals.
“She went into the race with the intention of winning, she started in the lead and never looked back,” Wallace said. “It was great to see the intensity on her face.”
Anderson also comes from a family of standout runners. His father, Eric, was one of the finest 800-meter runners to ever compete for Payson High School.
In the Tri-Valley regional championships, young Anderson ran his way to a fourth-place finish.
“Trevor was a nice surprise this season,” Wallace said. “He had a lot of individual success, never finishing below sixth place and as high as second.”
While most RCMS sports teams compete in the White Mountain League, the cross country squads are members of Tri-Valley because it features more competition.