1973 Cross Country Team

Cross Country Memory from Dave Webster


Doug Anderson was the head track coach at Hillcrest High School.  Don Gust was the baseball and cross-country coach.  Prior to my senior year, Coach Gust had coached two years of cross-country with good senior runners:  Leon Hansen ran when I was a sophomore, and Dennis Fry when I was a junior.  In our junior year, we thought we had a good chance of doing well at the state meet.  Dennis Fry, me, Lee Wood (Jonas) and Alma Hansen were on the team.  We thought Dennis might be able to place in the top 5.  The morning of the state meet in early November, four inches of snow had fallen.  None of us knew to wear spikes.  We wore our flats.  Lee slipped in the snow on a side hill early in the race and partially rolled down the hill.  We did not do well on the Sugarhouse course.  I think we still made the top ten teams.

            Coach Gust had several state baseball championships under his belt.  He was a kind and happy man who taught Health.  He had very little experience in cross country and did not realize the mileage necessary to produce champions.  On a typical workout, he had us warm up by running a mile, then maybe do some track work.  We’d run 440 repeats, maybe 3-4X.  Then Coach Gust would say “Good work out.  Warm down.”  After Coach Gust went indoors, the team would go out and run another 3-4 miles on our own.

            In 1973 we won the state championship.  I think it surprised Mr. Gust as much as anyone.  Our team included me, Alma Hansen, Lee Wood (Jonas), Ron Davis, Val Newman, Tim Lewis and Kelly Spencer.  Alma, Lee and I all placed in the top 10, but Cross Country is a team sport, where the top five runners score points according to their finishing place—1st place scores one point, 2nd place scores 2, 3rd place=3 points, etc.  The team with the lowest combined total is the winner.  So the 4th and 5th runners must also finish well to win the State Title.  Mr. Gust rightly singled out our 4th and 5th runners as a major factor in our championship while giving an interview for the newspaper.