Above: Quinn Boardman (Desert Vista), Rylee Engelken (Perry), Nique Teixeira (Salpointe Catholic)
The Ever-Important 6th Runner
This past week we have already spotlighted the fastest returning 7th runners for boys and girls. Today we look at our fastest number six returning young women.
Some caveats on how we come up with these rankings; obviously, incoming freshmen can throw a wrench into these rankings, but we don't have high school times for these teens yet, so they are left out. Two, these rankings are based on these athletes' best cross country 5K times in 2019. We understand that different courses lend themselves to faster times than other courses, but this is just to give us a rough estimate of how the team's runners 1-7 rank against other teams' 1-7. The key here is we are talking about returning runners and not who was your 6th runner in 2019. After we account for seniors graduating, we are making an educated guess who will be your number 1-7 runners in 2020. So your number six runner in 2020 may have been your number 7, 8, or 9 runner in 2019, depending on how many athletes you graduated.
Today we are focusing on girl returning runners who are most likely to take their team's sixth slot. We had 132 teams who have at least 6 runners who were juniors or younger last year. Teams without at least 6 runners who were juniors or younger last year did not make this list.
We are going to focus on the returning sixth runners who ran a PR of sub-21 for their teams in 2019.
Quinn Boardman (Desert Vista): A junior in 2019, Quinn was part of the mighty Thunder cross country machine out in Ahwatukee. While she didn't make the varsity roster for State in 2019, Quinn had many very notable performances: 9th overall at Sectionals in 20:25, 7th at Tempe City Championship in 21:59, 2nd in the Gold Race at Desert Solstice, and ran a 19:26 at Nike Twilight where she was DV's 7th runner and 85th overall in the Sweepstakes race. Rylee Engelken (Perry): Ran as a junior for Perry, who placed 5th overall in the Division I Cross Country State Championships in 2019. Rylee was Perry's sixth runner last year and this team will be quite formidable in 2020 because they lost no girls from their top seven. Rylee ran from 20:24-20:56 in 4 of her 6 5K cross country courses in 2019, which means we may be looking for her to dip below the 20-minute threshhold this season. Kylie Brown (Xavier Prep): As a freshman, Kylie only ran one race in 2019 but she ran it quite well, taking 7th overall in the Nike Twilight large school frosh race in a time of 20:38. Nique Teixeira (Salpointe Catholic): As a junior in 2019, Nique ran primarily in the 21-minute range for the majority of her 5K cross country races. Her top place in 2019 was 15th place finish in the girls' varsity race at the Glendale Showcase. She also cracked the top-20 at the Rio Rico Rattler Invite as she sneaked in at 19 in the girls' gold race. Her PR was 20:42 at Nike Twilight and should be a pivotal piece for the Lancers this fall.
Other runners who broke 21-minute barrier and are looking to be their team's number 6 are Shelley Jarman (Highland - 20:53) and Isabel Schinella (Sunrise Mountain - 20:57).