(Centennial Boys after 2nd place finish at Fountain Hills Invitational-photo by Harold Smith)
Showdown Between Gators and Wolves Set For Ojo Rojo
The Ojo Rojo Lions Inviataional, hosted by Chandler High School at Tumbleweed Park, looks to be a big race for a majority of D1 schools, as they look to make their presence known early in the season.
On the men's side, Centennial, Desert Mountain and Corona look to be the favorites for the title. Last year, the Corona men's team took the title, and they will definitely be looking to retain it. Meanwhile the Centennial Boys took 2nd last weekend at Fountain Hills with a team average of 17:02 across runners 1-5 and will be heavy contenders for the team title. Also in the mix will be the Bronco Broncos looking to follow up with another victory after a first-place debut at Ray Wherely. Individually for the men, Caden Hercules (Sr.) out of Desert Mountain High School looks to be a favorite, coming off a second-place finish at the Chandler Invitational. He'll likely have company from Scott Sally (Dobson, Sr.) and Daniel Avila (Centennial, Sr.) who placed 3rd and 4th at Fountain Hills last week. We've also got to take into account, Jacob Lewis (Boulder Creek, Sr.) and Anekin Hetman (Brophy, Jr.) who placed 3rd and 4th at Ray Wherley.
For the women's varsity race, we could see #1 ranked Xavier Prep and #2 ranked Chandler High battle it out down a close race. Both squads have the girl power to place five girls in the top 20. Last year, the Chandler girls won the race, led by Morgan Foster (Jr.), who finished first overall. Foster looks to be the favorite once again, after her runner-up finish at Cool Breeze Invitational in Pasadena. Meanwhile the Xavier Gators opened their season at Fountain Hills with a 20-point victory and a 1-5 spread of 39 seconds. Morgan's run 18:23 for 5k and will likely have company from Samantha Schadler (Rio Rico, Jr.) who took 2nd at Desert Solstice last week. Xavier super-frosh Samantha Braun could also surprise spectators with another big performance just like she did at Fountain Hills. Outside of Xavier and Chandler, we'll see the Lady Firebirds of Chaparral play their hand at Tumbleweed Park. Their one-two punch Rachel (Jr.) and Sarah (Fr.) Turner have both gone sub-20 this season and could disrupt the peloton of Xavier and Chandler uniforms. This year, the team titles can go to anyone as the races look to be packed.
Good luck to all of those racing this weekend.