History of Mt. Sac Cross Country Invitational
Celebrating it's 61st year, the Mt. Sac Cross Country Invitational has come a long way since it's start in 1948 with ten schools (only boys) participating on the 1.2 mile course. In 1965 a new 3 mile more spectator friendly course was redesigned with added hills (Poop-Out) and some "switchbacks" but it wasn't until the 1970's when girls and women started running in the event. Each year the Mt. Sac Invitational has grown in size and in the number of races needed to accommodate all the runners. This event this weekend is host to 570 teams and 20,000 athletes not including the 5,800 Junior College runners last weekend or the Middle and Junior High runners this weekend.
You might be asking yourself how an event this large can move that many runners through the 3.0 mile course in two days? It is like watching a symphony.....everything perfectly timed. Every seven minutes a new race starts on the airstrip, after a previous race crosses the airstrip, while another race is heading up the switchbacks and another is running on the airstrip in the opposite direction toward the finish. It is well timed and fun to watch as four young men stand in the middle of the cross section of four races making sure they don't all meet in the middle at the same time! Orchestrating such precision also makes for timely starts and each race started at exactly the time they were suppose to.
Arizona Runners at Mt. Sac (Day 1)
Northland Prep, Hopi, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina Foothills, Xavier College Prep and Sandra Day O'Conner all competed over two days at the Mt. Sac Cross Country Invitational.
Hopi freshman boy's raced in the Division 4 & 5 (small schools) High School Boy's Freshman race. The team finished 3rd by placing four runners in the top sixteen. Kyle Yoyokie finished first for the Hopi boys and 8th overall. He was followed by Behr Satala (11), Steven James (15), Brandon Barton (16) and Ben Darnell (52).
Following the freshman boy's race was Northland Prep running in the Division 4 & 5 Boy's Varsity race. With 208 runners and 37 teams the Northland Prep boys held there own by placing 20th as a team. Freshman Dominic Tosi (67) was the first scoring runner to cross the line for Northland Prep followed by Junior Jon Martin, Junior Jordan Burch, Freshman Jacob Andrews and Freshman Isaac Salay. As the boys cross the finish line, exhausted and thirsty from high temperatures and high humidity, they still took time to take a group photo (pictured right).
The Northland Prep girl's ran in the Division 4 High School Girl's Sweepstakes race and took 9th place. Junior, Andrea Klimowski (pictured left) led the five person team placing 16th, followed by Sophomore Corrie Bain (35), Freshman Megan Dwyer (39), Freshman Jessica Mcmillin (58) and Sophomore Taylor Oster (74).
Hopi girls and boys competed in the Division 5 High School Sweepstakes races held at the end of the day. The Hopi girl's placed second with 76 points to Woodcrest Christian (26) from California. Scorers for Hopi were led by Junior Terissa Josytewa (11) (pictured right), Freshman Jasmine Humetewa (16), Freshman Brittany Little (19), Senior Cassandra Nash (20) and Freshman Shaelann Antone (22).
The Hopi boys (pictured left) also placed second (55) to Woodcrest Christian (47) . Hopi placed all five of their scoring runners in the top 20 with Junior Ron Laban placing 4th, followed by Junior Sidney Brennon (9), Junior Kevin Tsinniginnie (11), Sophomore Justin Secakuku (16) and Senior Joshua Satala (19).
Mt. Sac Day 2
Catalina Foothils had three runners in the first race of the morning. Junior Dylan Souza came in 2nd with a time of 16:33, just five seconds out of first place. Michael Whetzel, also a junior, took 7th place followed by Senior Kevin Lin in 15th.
Just a few races later, the Varsity team for Catalina Foothills dominated the Division 2 Boy's Varsity Race by placing four runners in the top 20. Tucker Wiedenkeller (Sr.) led the team to victory placing 2nd in a time of 15:56. Wiedenkeller was followed by Sophomore Rex Woodbury (4th) in 15:58, Senior Will Harrison (12th) in 16:15, Junior Rafael Gomez (20th) in 16:30 and Sophomore Max Warneke in 16:39. Catalina Foothill's 67 points was 73 points better than second place Beckman (140 pts).
On the girls side, Gaby Barcena was the only Catalina Foothill entry in the Division 2 Sophomore race. Barcens finished the race in 24th with a time of 22:01.
The first finisher from Catalina Foothills in the Girl's Varsity race was Sophomore Isabel Diamond who placed 66th. Diamond was followed by Senior Cari Alcombright, Junior Neda Behnejad, Sophomore Rose Sanson and Sophomore Emily Mccaleb. The team had a 20 place finish.
The Xavier College Prep JV team ran in the Division 1 & 2 (Large Schools) JV National Championship Race placing 10th. The race went out quick with three strong California teams taking most of the top spots. Junior Jessica Fitzgerald was the first scoring runner for Xavier placing 35th. The next group of runners were close together starting with Sophomore Sarah Roessler (65), Junior Michelle Cabirac (70), Freshman Lauren Lombard (72) and Freshman Brianna Perroni (79).
The Xavier Varsity Team ran in the Division 1 & 2 Girl's Individual Sweepstakes Race. Arizona's top runner, Junior Jessica Tonn (pictured right) decided to test the waters and take the first mile out faster than usual. Tonn crossed the one mile mark in second place in a very quick 5:14 heading into the switchbacks and finished the race in 4th place with a time of 17:05, leading the team to an 11th place finish. Sarah Penney (Sr.), Xavier's second runner, finished in 24th place with a time of 18:46 followed by sister Katie Penney (So.) (68), Junior Megan Canon (84) and Sophomore Catherine Fakler (92).
Ironwood Ridge and Sandra Day O'Connor both raced in the Girl's Team Sweepstakes event along side nationally ranked Saugas and Dana Hills. Ironwood Ridge placed 15th in the team event while O'Connor placed 17th. The first finisher for Ironwood Ridge was Sophomore Sarah Miville (pictured left) who finished 37th with a time of 18:46. Teammate Senior Kat Howard was the second finisher at 52nd place in 19:08 followed by Junior Allison Crawford (73), Sophomore Lauren Cooper (82) and Sophomore Samantha Strange (105). O'Connor's first runner, Junior Kailey Rumbo, finished in 54th place in a time of 19:11. Rumbo was followed by Junior Gloria Tello (63) in 19:21, Sophomore Mckenzie Brist (79) in 19:45, Senior Renee Peck (90) and Senior Shannon Walsh (99).
Pictured right O'Connor girls at the start of the Team Sweepstakes race.