John Winfred from Ironwood Ridge led the day with the first win for the boys at the Chandler Invitational at Tumbleweed Park in Chandler. Winfred's time of 16:56 in the Freshman race was 13 seconds faster than 2nd place Manuel Aguilar from Highland. In the same race Taylor De LaVeaga from Perry placed first for the girls in a time of 19:30, a minute faster than Tuba City's Allissa Dallas.
In the Junior race Taylor Cole (18:36) from Hamilton had a substantial lead over Genje Danica (19:10) of Corona del Sol while Tuba City's Ryan Yazzie had a closer race with both he and Humberto Bravo (Flowing Wells) running neck and neck until 600 meters left in the race when Yazzie took off for the finish. "I heard him (Bravo) gasping for air and knew it was my time to take off so I just kicked it in", said Ryan Yazzie who ended up finishing the race in 15:30 over Barvo's 15:37.
Kat Howard (17:59) of Ironwood Ridge outkicked Kofa's Stephanie Ledgerwood (18:01) to win the Senior race for the girls by two seconds. Howard had the second fastest time of the day, ten seconds behind Kylee Kieser of Casa Grande (pictured far left), who won the sophomore race. Kieser's time of 17:49 was a minute and 9 seconds faster than her time last year and 50 seconds faster than second place Sara Miville (pictured left) from Ironwood Ridge who beat Kieser by 3 seconds last year in the freshman race.
The fastest time of the day for the boys belonged to Senior Cody Smith from Shadow Mountain. Half way through the race Smith pulled away from the pack with his long and effortless stride and won in 15:17 beating Carlos Martinez (15:25) of Dobson. "I had a good race today," said Smith as he talked about his summer training and how hard he worked going into his Senior year. "Our team is what it is all about," he continued, "we have big goals for the State Meet and we just really hope to do our best."
The nail-biting race of the day belonged to the boys sophomore race as Billy Orman from Tuba City and Cory Breinholt from Highland ran stride for stride to the finish line. The race could not have been any closer as both boys registered a time of 15:54. Orman was in 10th place at the half mile mark and started moving up. By the time he hit the one mile mark he was in the front pack where he wanted to be. "I ran this race really cautiously because last year I actually ran off the course," said Orman with a laugh. Last year he lost
to Breinholt in the freshman race by a second but this year they traded places. "I had just enough left to hold him off," Orman said about his finish.
14 boys broke 16 minutes in the four races of the day but for the girls the fun part was running with the boys. "I tried to pass boys at the end of my race but I don't think it really worked out," a smiling Taylor Cole explained. "Passing guys is fun," according to Kylee Kieser, "but I don't think they like it." Teammate , Senior Justin Garcia jumped in saying, "She (Kieser) gives me a run for my money but she has not passed me yet!"
The fastest runner from each team in each race made up the scoring for the team results. Ironwood Ridge (pictured above) won for the girls and Highland (pictured below) was the top team for the boys.