By Raymundo Frasquillo
The Ken Lester-coached Wildcats’ cross country boys captured the 2nd Morenci Copper Hill Invitational title with 36 points, 24 less than the runner-up Thatcher Eagles (60) and 32 less than the third-place San Carlos Braves (68), Oct. 4. The Tombstone Yellow Jackets were fourth (89), the New Mexico Bayard Cobre Indians fifth (97), and the Willcox Cowboys sixth (172).
Thatcher was first in the inaugural meet last year with 24 points as eight schools were represented. Cobre was second (89), New Mexico Silver third (90), Morenci fourth (91), San Carlos fifth (94), and Tombstone sixth (125). Willcox had only three runners and Fort Thomas two. Class of 2017 Eagle Carson Palmer’s winning run of 18:42 remained as the meet time to beat.
Tombstone senior David Perry covered the 5,000-meter course in 20 minutes, 17 seconds as he outdistanced a field of 38. San Carlos senior Anthony Hopkins Jr. was second (20:28), and Morenci sophomore Cameron Bailey-Garcia third (20:41). Personal bests are 17:18 (Spt. 29, 2017) for Perry, 18:44 (Oct. 14, 2016) for Hopkins, and 17:53.5 (Sept. 29, 2017) for Bailey-Garcia.
Perry finished 12th (20.39), Hopkins 13th (20.32), and Bailey-Garcia did not compete at the varsity level during the 2016 meet.
Morenci junior Vincent Cruz was sixth (21:09), sophomore Dante DeAnda seventh (21:20), sophomore Jordan Mares ninth (21:30), and junior Matthew Silvester 11th (22:12). Juniors Anthony Chanez and Gabriel Baca were 14th (22:44) and 24th (24:01), respectively
Runner-up Thatcher had senior Garret Hunt finish fourth (20.59), junior Jaiden Stailey 10th (21:52), Tyler Bierman 13th (22:31), sophomore Talon Brown 16th (22:59), and sophomore Matt Orr 17th (23:06). Sophomore Wesley Pena was 18th (23:21).
San Carlos senior Aloysius Case was eight (21:27), senior Leo Pechull Jr. 12th (22.20), senior Christian Nosie 21st (23.41), and senior Michael Antonio 25th (24:14).
Tombstone sophomore Dakota Pierce ended 15th (22:55), freshman James Bastian 19th (23:37), sophomore Michael Zelazny 26th (24:15), and junior John Miza 28th (24:26). Freshman Simon Bastian and sophomore Alvin Jones were 29th (24:33.39) and 30th (24:33.88), respectively.
Cobre junior Rudy Madrid was fifth (21:08), senior Benito Osuna 20th (23:39), senior Fernando Sedillos 22nd (23:42), junior Tim Zamora 23rd (23:49), and junior Luis Alvarado 27th (24:18). Indians Dyenond Roberts was 32nd (25.55) and junior John Gonzales 34th (26.55).
Willcox senior Gabe Rosado turned in a personal best for 31st (25:53), freshman Lyndon Smyer 33rd (26:19) with a personal best, junior Adrian Miraflores 35th (28:32) with a season-best, freshman Jacob Long 36th (28:51) with a personal best, and freshman JT Garza 37th (30:28) with a personal best. Freshman JJ Lunt ended 38th (30:33).
The junior varsity meet had Thatcher with 24 points and Morenci with 39. Tombstone had two runners, and both Cobre and San Carlos one apiece. A total of 26 runners competed.
Thatcher freshman McKay Griffin placed first (24:21), sophomore Brandon Udall second (24:49), junior Nathan Sanders sixth (26:13), junior Layton Rhodes seventh (26:24), and sophomore Brigham Lee eighth (26:32).
Morenci junior Alex Garcia ended third (25:02), sophomore Phillip Provencio fourth (25:05), senior Skyler Howard fifth (25:19), sophomore Dominic Gonzales 22nd (32:18), and freshman TJ Lee 25th (37.00).
The Wildcats notched personal or season-best times at the Desert Twilight Invitational meet in Casa Grande Sept. 29, ending 22nd of 59 small school varsity teams with 719 points.
“We haven’t had anyone (running) in the 17s since the 2013 season,” Coach Lester said.
Cruz was 68th (17:49.7) of 376 with a personal best, Bailey-Garcia 74th (17:53.5) with a personal best, DeAnda 137th (18:36.7) with a personal best, Silvester 155th (18:43.9) with a season-best, Baca 193rd (19:02.1) with a personal best, Mares 198th (19:03.1) with a personal best, and Chanez 215th (19:19.6) with a season-best.
Tucson Pusch Ridge Christian senior Ben Black was first with a personal best 16:11.4 as the team ended 24th.
Flagstaff Northland Prep was first with 57 points, Flagstaff Coconino second (183), Whiteriver Alchesay third (203), Cave Creek Cactus Shadows fourth (231), Anthem Prep fifth (233), Phoenix Thunderbird sixth (377), Sahuarita Waldon Grove seventh (406), Phoenix Greenway eighth (415), Tucson Empire ninth (421), ad Safford (435).
Phoenix Shadow Mountain ended 11th (439), Buckeye Union 12th (446), Gilbert Classical 13th (510), Tucson Canyon Del Oro 14th (541), Tempe Marcos De Niza 15th (575), Holbrook 16th (588), Florence Poston Butte 17th (601), Kingman Lee Williams 18th (657), Snowflake 19th (675), Joseph City 20th (680), and Chino Valley 21st (709).
In the small schools open, Garcia was 84th (20:03.0) of 316, Provencio 102nd (20:30:9), and Gonzales 281st (26:31.3), each with a personal best. Lee ended 221st (36.58.5) of 122 freshmen.
Results of the Sept. 20 Bisbee Invitational were unavailable.
The Wildcats have also competed in the Payson Multi Meet (Sept. 6), Marana Mountain View’s Desert Solstice Invitational (Sept. 8), the Thatcher Invitational (Sept. 13), and Tucson’s Old Pueblo Invitational at Pima Community College (Sept. 16), with improvements in each outing.
Thatcher’s 21 points, 10 fewer than in 2016, earned the Morenci Copper Hill Invitational girls title. San Carlos was second with 43 points and Willcox third (69). Tombstone had four participants, Morenci three, and Cobre one. Fort Thomas and Silver did not attend.
The Wildcats were second (67), the Fighting Colts third (69), the Indians fourth (73), the Cowgirls fifth (135), and the Braves sixth (154) last season.
Thatcher senior Lily Richardson finished ahead of 25 other runners in 24 minutes, 34 seconds; Morenci senior Paige Morales was second (25:38), and Thatcher sophomore Elliana Windsor third (26:19). Personal bests are 19:26.6 (Oct. 31, 2015) for Richardson, 19:51.9 (Oct. 31, 2015) for Morales, and 21:14.1 (Oct. 12, 2016) for Windsor.
Eagles sophomore Hailey Udall placed seventh (27:03), senior Corinne Bryce eighth (27:17), and senior Liesl Griffin ninth (27:28). Sophomore Pasley Layton ended 13th (27:51) and freshman Kaylynn Simmons 20th (32:27).
For San Carlos, freshman Shanaya Victor was fourth (26:27), senior Britney Nosie 10th (27:33), sophomore Alysse Martin 12th (27:45), junior Celesta Casse 18th (30:54), and sophomore Aaliyah Haozous 23rd (33:14).
Willcox senior Wren Klump ended fifth (26:29), senior Kristi Webster 22nd (33:05), sophomore Vee Gutierrez 24th (36:32), junior Brisa Tapia 25th (38:08), and senior Syrena Granado 26th (40:58).
Tombstone junior Angela Valencia was sixth (26:50), senior Anastasia 16th (29:55), freshman Carmen Gonzalez 17th (30:11), and Jessika Howard 19th (32:23).
Morenci sophomore Desiree Babb clocked in at 27:44 for 11th and senior Alex Chee at 32:50 for 21st.
Cobre freshman Sierra Dean was 14th (27:53).
Thatcher placed first with 15 points in the 18-entrant junior varsity meet.
Junior Akala Hatch was first (30:25), sophomore Briley Minor second (31:33), sophomore Katelyn Stauffer fourth (33:34), sophomore Grace Haller seventh (35:04), and junior Melodie Moore ninth (36:04).
Morenci sophomores Yrliana Molina and Rayvn Tison were eighth (35:41) and 13th (37:58), respectively.
In the Casa Grande small schools meet, Babb was 154th (23:38.0) of 273 and Chee 214th (25:17.5), both with season bests.
Personal bests were logged in the small schools open by Tison with 27:04.4 for 119th of 242 and Molina with 27:06.9 for 122nd.