The 2013 Cross Country season kicked off with the Sole Sports Running Invitational today at the Silverado Golf Course.
The girls and boys Varsity races are merged together, however, the top 4 runners from each team run in the Gold race and the 5th through 8th runners run in the Black race. The teams are scored by time instead of placement.
At the midway point of the girls Gold race Dani Jones (Jr., Desert Vista) and Shelby Brown (Sr., Xavier) led a group of runners including Ali Kallner (Jr., Chaparral), Huston Jones (Sr., Mesa Mtn. View), Madey Brooks (Sr., Mesa Mtn. View), Lauren Kinzle (Jr., Xavier), Lucy Hilarides (Jr., Queen Creek), Sierra Jarriel (So., Fountain Hills), Samantha Mattice (Sr., Xavier), Shannon Molvin (Jr., Xavier), Nicole Hicks (Sr., Desert Vista) and Sabrina Camino (Fr., Desert Vista) but when the dust settled Dani Jones (pictured left) led the way across the finish line with a time of 18:06.08.
"Coach wanted me to stay with the pack for awhile and in the end try to take the lead so I was right behind a couple of Xavier girls for the first half of the race," said Dani Jones.
Desert Vista freshman (and younger sister) Baylee Jones won the girls Black race in 18:18.06. "My main goal was to come in and support my team and show them what I've got. I am really excited for the season," said a very jubilant Jones after the race.
Nicole Hicks added, "It was a good feeling - we worked hard for it. I ran this race differently than any of my other races."
When both races were combined Baylee landed in 2nd place overall. Chaparral freshman Emily Crall took 3rd place (18:20.1) with Houston Jones in 4th (18:26.3) and Xavier Sophomore Jane Miller in 5th (18:38.2).
The Desert Vista girls won the team title with an average time of 18:48.85 for six girls and a total time of 1:52:53.10. Xavier College Prep finished second with an average time of 19:01.29 and a total time of 1:54.07.70. If 5 places were scored Desert Vista would have had 34 pts to Xavier's 45 pts.
On the boys side Corona del Sol seniors Nate Rodriguez (pictured right) and Ryan Normand breezed through the finish line a second apart in 15:08 and 15:09. Both runners stayed together and in the lead throughout the race giving Corona the 1 - 2 punch they needed to win the team title. Lucky Schreiner (Jr., Camp Verde) finished 20 seconds behind Normand for 3rd place in 15:29.1.
Corona also placed runners in 12th (Patrick Cullings Sr., 16:19.0), 19th (Blake Fischer, Sr., 16:27.7), 24th (Andrew Truswell Sr., 16:32.5) and 26th (Lucas Ykema So., 16:37.1) and won the team title with an average time of 16:02.24 over Desert Vista's 2nd place finish of 16:16.49. Corona had a total time of 1:36.14.0 over Desert Vista's 1:37.38.90. The team was without Junior Marcus Wheeler.
Later race Rodriguez stood with his teammates and talked about the race. "I think we all tried to go out there and try to compete today and score as many points as possible and show everyone just how strong we are."
Desert Vista placed runners in 5th (Xavier Esparza So., 15:57.4), 6th (Alec Hoyt Sr., 15:58.4), 8th (Jacob Walimaa Sr., 15:59.3), 11th (Ben Davis Jr., 16:19.0), 22nd (Kyle Havriliak Jr., 16:32.1) and 30th (Matthew Anciaux So., 16:52.7). If the team scores were calculated by place Desert Vista would be the winner with 52 points over Corona's 58 points.
There is a lot of competition between now and the State Meet - Stay Tuned!!!