(Photo by Michael Bucci, 2016 Team)
On December 3rd, 2016 the Desert Vista Girls Cross Country Team (Ahwatukee) competed at Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Oregon. For some of the girls this was not their first rodeo on the Glendoveer Golf Course. Seniors Baylee Jones, Amanda Davis, Madi Bucci, and junior Haley Wolf were all part of the team that finished 5th at Nike Cross Nationals in 2014. With experience and determination, the 2016 team completed the course with an impressive 6th place finish led by freshman Brooklyn Christofis. Teammates Kelly Harris (Jr.) and Emily Crall (Sr.) also added depth to this year's team. The Desert Vista Girls coached by Jeff Messer, not only proved to be one of the fastest teams in the nation, but also demonstrated as a team they can preserve through tough times. Baylee Jones humbly summed up her last high school cross country experience, "As an athlete I think it's hard to look back at a performance and think you couldn't have given more because you always wish you could. However, I think the joy in running can be found in the fact that it is so unpredictable and can present different challenges at any given time". For the Desert Vista Girls cross country is more than a race, it is a journey that is well worth the ride.