By Raymundo Frasquillo
CASA GRANDE – Morenci cross country runners completed the 2017 season at the state meet Nov. 4, but seven of those eight participants also ran in the Nike Southwest Regional meet at Casa Grande Sports World Nov. 18. Two Wildcats posted personal best times, five surpassed resent state meet times, and the other did not participate.
“There were several real good runners from five different states and it was a chance to run against them,” Coach Kenneth Lester said. “I had never seen most of them (run) and I really had no idea how to gauge the meet before the start.”
Five of six Morenci underclassmen boys finished in the top 200 of 268 individual participants for the small school class (school enrollment between 1-999 students) and 20 of 27 teams with 537 points.
Sophomore Cameron Bailey-Garcia was 92nd with a personal best 17:26, junior Vincent Cruz 145th with 18:06 (personal best 17:46.0, Oct. 17), sophomore Jordan Mares 162nd with 18:23 (18:02.5, Oct. 11), sophomore Dante DeAnda 190th with18:45 (18:22.2, Oct. 11), and junior Gabriel Baca 198th with a personal best 18:54. Junior Anthony Chanez was 214th with 19:16 (18:35.0, Oct. 20, 2015) and junior Matthew Silvester (18:41.0, Oct. 18, 2016) opted to compete for the school basketball team.
Two weeks earlier at the state meet, Bailey-Garcia clocked in with 17:57, Cruz 18:09, Mares 18:41, DeAnda 18:56, Baca 19:35, and Chanez 20:05.
Other entrants included students attending Arizona 3A Chinle and Queen Creek Casteel plus 2A Northland Prep and Phoenix Northwest Christian along with students enrolled in Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah schools.
The meet was dominated by Colorado entrants, with 17 teams on hand and the fastest individual, Colorado Springs 3A Classical Academy senior Ryan Moen, completing the course in a personal best 15:37. Runner-up Nevada Carson City 1A/2A Sierra Lutheran junior Jared Marchegger turned in a personal best 15:49.
Colorado Springs 4A Wideview senior Cole Munoz with a personal best 15:33 and Utah Provo Timpview senior Aidan Troutner with a personal best 14:50, was first of 259 entrants in the medium class (1,000-1,599) and first of 555 entrants in the large school class (1.600 plus), respectively.
Classical Academy was the team meet winner for the small school class with 91 points. New Mexico 5A Kirkland Central was second (107), Colorado 3A Alamosa third (159), Colorado Minturn 4A Battle Mountain fourth (174), Colorado Gypsum 4A Eagle Valley fifth (189), Colorado 4A Evergreen sixth (191), Colorado Arvado 3A Faith Christian seventh (210), Colorado Lafayette 3A Peak to Peak eighth (210), Colorado Fort Collins 2A Heritage Christian ninth (230), and Colorado 3A Salida tenth (233).
Chinle was 11th with 251 points, Utah 4A Orem 12th (304), Colorado Broomfield 3A Holy Family 13th (357), Colorado 3A Berthoud 14th (434), Colorado 2A Mancos 15th (441), Colorado Loveland 3A Resurrection Christian 16th (455), Colorado Greeley 3A University 17th (482), Casteel 18th (486), and Colorado Johnstown 4A Roosevelt 19th (491).
New Mexico 4A Albuquerque Hope Christian was 21st (552), Northwest Christian 22nd (552), Northland Prep 23rd (554), New Mexico 1A/2A Mora 24th (590), Utah 3A Pleasant North Sanpete 25th (604), New Mexico 3A Albuquerque Cottonwood Classic Prep 26th (629), and Colorado 3A Basalt 27th (661).
Morenci senior Paige Morales turned in a season-best 21:01 (19:51.9, Oct. 31, 2015) to finish 92nd of 213 entrants. Her prior runs were 21:18 for 82nd of 197 in 2016 and 20:28 for 54th of 151 in 2015. Morales posted a 21:47 clocking at the state meet two weeks ago.
Classical Academy junior Kaylee Thompson finished first in the small school class with a personal best 18:25, Orem 5A Timpanogos senior Madison Moffitt was first of 252 in the medium school class with 18:13, and New Mexico Rio Rancho senior Amanda Mayoral was first of 237 in the large school class with a personal best 17:14.