By Raymundo Frasquillo
BENSON – The cross-country Wildcats ended nine points behind first-place Bisbee (56) following the regular season finale in Benson on Friday, Oct. 20.
Safford placed third with 67 points, Thatcher fourth (83), San Carlos fifth (106), Tombstone sixth (187), Tucson Tanque Verde seventh (196), Benson eighth (196), Sahuarita ninth (221), Patagonia 11th (287), and Willcox 11th (289).
Thatcher junior Hunter Stailey topped the field of 101 runners with a 17:32 clocking, Bisbee senior Erick Estrada was second (17:34), Safford sophomore Jacob Urrea third (17:55), Safford senior Jacob Fox fourth (18:04), and Morenci sophomore Cameron Bailey-Garcia fifth (18:05).
Safford junior Grant Montierth placed sixth (18.14), Bisbee senior Alexander Gribble seventh (18:19), San Carlos senior Aloysius Case eighth (18:20), Tombstone senior David Perry ninth (18:21), and Thatcher senior Grant Hunt 10th (18:22).
Morenci junior Victor Cruz came in 11th (18:24), Bisbee sophomore Brandon Olivares 12th (18:26), Safford sophomore Duncan Walker 13th (18:27), Morenci sophomore Jordan Mares 14th (18:29), and San Carlos sophomore Keshaun Noline 15th (18:31).
The other Wildcats, sophomore Dante DeAnda came in 16th (18:32), and juniors Anthony Chanez, Matthew Silvester, and Gabriel Baca 19th (18:49), 24th (19:33) and 27th (19:47), respectively.
Morenci placed third of eight teams at the Justin Prevatte Classic in Tombstone with 84 points Oct. 17. Sierra Vista Buena was first with 38 points, Bisbee second (40), Thatcher fourth (88), Buckeye fifth (108), Tombstone sixth (149), Benson seventh (174), and Willcox eighth (231).
Cruz finished 14th with a personal best (17:46), Bailey-Garcia 15th (17:56), Mares 17th (18: 61), DeAnda 18th (18:26), and Silvester 20th with a season-best (18:43).
The Ken Lester-coached Wildcats 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), the Bisbee Invitational (Sept. 20), the Willcox Invitational (Sept. 27), the Casa Grande Desert Twilight Invitational (Sept. 29), the Morenci Copper Hill Invitational (Oct. 4), and the Safford Invitational (Oct. 11), with improvements in each outing.
Thatcher took honors of first place team and individual with Lily Richardson winning with 20:36.
Morenci sophomore Desiree Babb closed the regular season with a time of 25:10, senior Alex Chee with 26:09, sophomore Yrliana Molina with 29:16, and freshman Rayvn Tison with 33:21 in Benson.
Senior Paige Morales, Babb, and Chee finished sixth with a season-best 21:06, 20th with 23:45 and 26th with a season-best 24:56, respectively, at Tombstone Oct. 17. Seven schools were represented with only four having five runners.
Wildcats junior Alex Garcia clocked in with 20:53, senior Skyler Howard with 21:19, sophomore Dominic Gonzales with 25:23, sophomore Phillip Provencio with 27:17, and freshman T.J. Lee with 28:01 at Benson.
Morenci was fourth of four teams with five runners at the Tombstone boys’ open meet Oct. 17.
Provencio was seventh of 39 with a personal best (19:32), Howard 11th (20:11), Garcia 15th (20:16), Gonzales 33d with a personal best (25:03), and Lee 36th with a personal best (26:39).
Molina was ninth (27:40) of 18 in the Tombstone girl’s open meet.