The Skyline Coyotes won their first team victory of the season at Fountain Hills Invitational
Now we're really cooking!
For years, the Fountain Hills Invitational has been a reliable staple throughout the Arizona cross country season. Arizona runners are not able to run Cave Creek Golf Course prior to the AIA State Championships, and so for almost a decade teams and athletes have assembled at Fountain Park for one of the few races that resembles the state meet course. This year, was definitely one to remember.
Braedon Palmer (Sunrise Mountain, Sr.) is known as one of the few front runners in Arizona, but on Saturday morning he diverted from his usual strategy and let Jordan Black (North Phoenix Prep, Sr.) set the pace with Palmer, Adam Whitehead (Arete Prep Academy, Sr.), and Hunter Krasa (Mountain Ridge, Sr.) in tow. At around two and a half miles to go, Palmer took the lead and ran away with the victory in 15:15, the fastest performance of the year. Black finished runner-up and clocking in at 15:21 for a thirty second lifetime best, followed by Krasa for third place.
Whitehead finished fourth with another lifetime best, and then Miles Thomas (Sunrise Mountain, Sr.) clocked in as the fifth fastest boy in meet history just under Tyler Beauchamp's (Saguaro, '16) previous record. Huge milestones were reached by Tatum Jelleberg (Skyline, Sr.), Ethan Rodriguez-Story (Saguaro, Jr.), Ryan Dempsey (Hamilton, Sr.), Alexander Coyle (Centennial, Sr.) to round out a total of nine boys under 16-minutes at Fountain Park.
For the first time since 2014, spectators witnessed a new boys' team take the victory at Fountain Park. As the only team with their scoring varsity in among the first fifty finishes, the Skyline Coyotes clinched the win over the Red Mountain boys. The Veritas Preparatory Academy Falcons came through for third place with 185 points, a performance that ranks them 5th in the State.
In contrast the Girls Varsity Race, was handily dominated by Tiaree Towler (Chaparral, Sr.) who held the lead through the entire race, and set a new girls' meet record. In her second race ever, Rujuta Sane (Hamilton, So.) finished runner-up in 18:33 and also dipped under the previous meet record, ahead of Niki Hemmerlin for third place.
Then Jade Boyles (Skyline, Jr.) edged out Merit Thompson (Cactus Shadows, Jr.) by a half-second, followed next by Kaitlyn Kaye (Sunrise Mountain, So.) at just over 19-minutes. Rachel Early (Dobson, Jr.) finished seventh and led Red Mountain sophomores Taylor Jacobs and Ariel Fendenheim to take eighth and ninth.
With help from Kate Brockman and Emma Elsner the Red Mountain Lions shut it down with just 61 points. Perry finished runner-up with 105 points, while the Hamilton girls held off Sunrise Mountain by third place.