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Ten Herriman runners compete at nationals

Jan 31, 2018 01:26PM ● Published by City Journals Staff

Beckley Brown, the 7-year-old son of Race Cats Director Caisa Brown, runs in a race this past fall. (Photo/Caisa Brown)

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Herriman’s Kenny Briggs finished 11th overall in the 8U division at the Junior Olympic Nationals held recently in Tallahassee, Florida, leading a contingent of 31 runners from Utah’s Race Cats Track Club. The 8U team finished ninth.

Isaac Allen, Luke Briggs, Breelyssa Leeper, Preston Marketts, Adam Moody, Christian Pettit, Gavin Pettit, Brooklyn Tarr and Caleb Tarr also represented Herriman at the event.

“Our cheer this past year was, ‘Always give your best. The rest is just the rest,’” Herriman/Daybreak Race Cats Director Caisa Brown said. “We had about 120 runners that heard that cheer a lot, and I think believed it.”

Other area runners that competed at Nationals were Abbi Anderson, Drew Croshaw, John Croshaw, Anna Dorny, Logan Dorny, Matt Dorny, Sharva Harkenar, Asher Hartey, Avery Hartey, Brady Houghton, Pyper Houghton, Cole Jameson, Porter Jensen, Audrey Johanson, Ali Kennard, Bre Kennard, Grayson Milne, Anna Nelson, Sean Seely, Samantha Tenzer and McKay Wells.

Brown is a former collegiate runner at BYU, where she was on the first national championship cross country team in 1997 for the Cougars. She “lucked” in to a walk-on spot at BYU as her dad, John Monaghan, had known BYU’s cross country coach Patrick Shane when the two were football and track athletes, respectively, at BYU years before. That family connection gave her a chance to join the squad, but by her sophomore season she was one of the top runners in the lineup.

“Coach [Shane] told me that luck got me there, but it didn’t keep me there,” Brown said. “I think I’m just one of those stories of someone who just believed in myself, ran with faster teammates that made me better and was pretty disciplined to not stay at the back of the pack.”

Although running remained a part of her daily routine since her college days, it is in coaching the sport that she has been able to pass on her love of running to her young children and others, first at Herriman High and now for Race Cats with her former BYU teammate and Race Cats founder Nan Kennard.

“I love seeing someone accomplish something that they couldn’t do and watching how proud the parents are of their kids,” Brown, the mother of four young boys, said. “Sometimes there are tears and sometimes I run — or walk — with them, but everyone finishes.”

Race Cats is offered for seven weeks where students from first through sixth grades meet twice a week for an after-school running program. Brown will again offer a fall program for young runners and will provide a Race Cats Elite team as well. More information can be found at www.racecats.org.

“I love how well thought-out and inclusive this program is,” Brown said. “Plus, Nan [Kennard] incorporates goals and learning principles beyond running techniques with this program’s philosophy, which helps these kids with some real life skills.” 

“I think it’s important to teach perseverance in life, and running gives you those opportunities to fail and pick yourself up,” Kennard said. “It is so rewarding to teach the youth community those lessons.” 

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