By Raymundo Frasquillo
SAFFORD – Safford’s boys topped a field of five teams and 45 runners, placing first with 47 points Wednesday afternoon on the Graham County Fairgrounds course. Five Bulldogs were in the top 15 finishers, three with personal best outings. A total of 24 boys turned in personal-best times and seven had season-best efforts.
Morenci was second (57), San Carlos third (57), Thatcher fourth (64), and Tombstone fifth (121). Queen Creek San Tan Foothills had four runners finish, Benson three, and both Fort Thomas and Willcox two.
Thatcher junior Hunter Stailey turned in a season-best time of 16 minutes, 46.17 seconds for first place.
Safford sophomore Jacob Urrea was second with a personal best 17:6.39, senior Jacob Fox eighth with a personal best (17:45.38), junior Grant Montierth ninth (17:49.63), sophomore Duncan Walker 13th with a personal best (18:13.76), and junior Dominic Gutierrez (18:27.22). Senior Lazaro Lombillo was 24th with a personal best clocking (19:12.71).
The top five runners for both Morenci and San Carlos totaled 57 points with the tie-breaker falling on the sixth runners. Morenci junior Gabriel Baca broke the deadlock by finishing 21st (19:04.17), or 14 places ahead of San Carlos senior Michael Antonio’s season-best (21:11.09) for 35th.
Morenci sophomore Cameron Bailey-Garcia ended third with a personal best (17:26.45), sophomore Jordan Mares 11th with a personal best (18:02.41), junior Vincent Cruz 12th (18:05.13), sophomore Dante DeAnda 14th with a personal best (18:22.19), and junior Anthony Chanez 17th with a season-best (18:42.92). Junior Matthew Silvester was 23rd (19:10.79).
San Carlos junior Anthony Hopkins Jr. placed fourth with a personal best (17:32.33), sophomore Keshaun Noline sixth with a personal best (17:41.30), senior Aloysius Case 10th with a personal best (17:50.00), freshman Brian Cassa 18th with a personal best (18:52.20), and senior James Talgo 19th (19:00.59). Senior Christian Nosie was 37th with a season-best (21:34.35).
Thatcher senior Garret Hunt placed fifth with a season-best (17:32.44), junior Jaiden Stailey 16th with a season-best (18:27.79), sophomore Tyler Bierman 20th with a personal best (19:03.37), and sophomore Talon Brown 22nd with a personal best (19:09.58). Sophomores Wesley Pena and Matt Orr both turned in personal best efforts for 25th (19:71.81) and 26th (19:21.13), respectively.
Tombstone senior David Perry ended seventh (17:41.81), freshman James Bastian 29th (19:48.57), sophomore Dakota Pierce 31st with a personal best (20:17.03), freshman Chrystian Baird 32nd with a personal best (20:37.42), and sophomore Alvin Jones 33rd (20:57.65). Freshman Simon Bastian ended 34th (21:10.78) and junior John Mize 38th (22:05.49).
Benson sophomore Thade Hough was 27th (9:37.03), freshman Sean Laura 30th (20:14.65), and sophomore Kolby Barney 36th (21:30.85).
San Tan Foothills got personal bests from junior Bryant Lopez for 28th (19:48.55), senior Dylan Barrier for 42nd (24:44.08), junior Tristan Takai for 43rd (27:30.28), and senior Josh Jimenez for 45th (28:02.42).
Willcox senior Gabe Rosado ended 39th with a personal best (22:05.79) and junior Adrian Miraflores 41st with a personal best (24:04.11).
Fort Thomas freshmen Nikolas Thompson and Traymond Titla were 40th with a personal best (232:19.16) and 44th with a season-best (27:33.24), respectively.
Thatcher finished ahead of three other teams to take first in the 2017 Safford Invitational Oct. 11. The Eagles tallied 27 points for the first place team award, host Safford was second (45), San Carlos third (69), and Willcox fourth (92).
Five other schools were also represented, Tombstone with four runners, Morenci with three, Benson and San Tan Foothills with two apiece, and Fort Thomas with one. A total of 19 personal bests and 11 season bests were posted by the 37-member field.
Eagles senior Lily Richardson finished ahead of 36 other runners with a season-best 19 minutes, 51.98 seconds. Safford senior Jazmine Vertrees was second with a personal best (19:53.16) and Morenci senior Paige Morales was third with a season-best (21:20.20).
Thatcher sophomore Elliana Windsor placed fourth with a season-best (21:52.43), sophomore Hailey Udall eighth with a season-best (22:35.62), senior Liesl Griffin 11th with a season-best (22:58.50), and sophomore Pasley Layton 12th with a personal best (23:04.93). Senior Corinne Bryce was 13th (23:18.97) and junior Akala Hatch 22nd with a personal best (25:39.39).
Safford sophomore Sabrina Gutierrez came in fifth with a season-best (21:55.64), sophomore Emma Hackett 14th (23:20.78), senior Ariana Leaman 17th (24:00.77), and sophomore Brooklynn Gabbitas 19th with a personal best (24:07.12). Junior Asya Turchi was 28th with a personal best (27:26.76) and freshman Gutierrez 33rd with a personal best (28:50.35).
San Carlos senior Britney Nosie was 19th with a personal best (22:57.50), freshman Shanaya Victor 15th with a personal best (23:34.64), junior Celesta Casse 18th with a personal best (24:01.09), sophomore Alysse Martin 21st with a personal best (25:25.44), and sophomore Aaliyah Haozous 29th (27:26.99). Sophomore Nicole Allen was 35th (32:32.45).
Willcox senior Wren Klump ended seventh with a season-best (21:55.80), Danielle Barba 24th with a season-best (26:40.50), junior Brisa Tapia 32nd with a personal best (28:35.56), junior Viradiana Gutierrez 34th with a personal best (29:10.31), and senior Syrena Granado 37th with a season-best (33:42.77).
Tombstone got personal best efforts from junior Angela Valencia for sixth (21:55.66), senior Anastasia Graham for ninth (22:43.62), freshman Carmen Gonzalez for 20th (24:11.72), and Jessika Howard for 25th (26:57.70).
Morenci sophomore Desiree Babb clocked in at a season-best 23:37.22 for 16th and senior Alex Chee at 27:02.66 for 26th.
San Tan Foothills senior Leslie Acevedo was 23rd (26:18.75) and junior Alena Opichalova 27th with a personal best (27:16.42).
Benson sophomores Lacie Duerinck and Desiree Adams posted a season-best for 30th (27:38.32) and a personal best for 31st (27:43.27), respectively.
Fort Thomas freshman Kaya Oliver was 36th with a personal best (33:14.74).
The open meet had 38 boys and 18 girls finishing the course.
For boys, Thatcher was first with 15 points and Globe second with 50 points. Thatcher totaled 17 runners, Globe five, Morenci, Safford, and Willcox four each, and both San Carlos and Tombstone two.
Thatcher sophomore Brandon Udall was first with a personal best (19:48.64) and Tombstone sophomore Michael Zelazny second with a personal best (19:55.64).
In the girl’s portion, Thatcher finished first with 20 points and Globe second with 42 points. Thatcher had 10 runners, Globe five, San Carlos two, and Morenci one.
Globe junior Camille Hudson was the first girl crossing the finish line with a personal best (24:35.02) and Thatcher sophomore behind her with a personal best (24:38.81).