Above: Eve Boardman (Desert Vista), Kennedy Nolde (Perry), Reyna Silva (Xavier)
Can't have a team without a #5
We have already spotlighted the fastest seventh and sixth runners, boys and girls, in our XC Ranking Lists 2020 Series over the past week or so. Today we are focusing on the fastest returning fifth runners in Arizona on the girls side.
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 5th 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 five runner in 2020 may have been your number 6, 7, or 8 runner in 2019, depending on how many athletes you graduated.
We had 158 teams who had at least five runners who were juniors or younger last year. Teams without at least five runners who were juniors or younger last year did not make this list.
We are going to focus on the returning fifth runners who ran a PR of sub-20:20 for their teams in 2019.
Eve Boardman (Desert Vista): A junior in 2019, Boardman ran for the State Champion Thunder girls as their seventh runner. In 2019, Eve won the girls' gold race at Desert Solstice in 20:10, took 8th at the Tempe City Meet (22:05), and ran her PR of 19:23 at Nike Twilight in the Sweepstakes race. The DV Thunder will be ready in 2020 and Eve will be an essential component on securing a back-to-back State team title.
Kennedy Nolde (Perry): As a junior in 2019, Kennedy ran all her 5K races between high-19s and mid-20s. She was Perry's 4th runner at state, placing 45th overall, and helping Perry take the 5th team spot. Her fastest time of the year was at the Chandler City Meet, where she ran 19:48 and took 12th place. Kennedy's best place in 2019 was a 7th place finish at Chandler Invitational in the girls' junior race (20:42). All of Perry's top-seven come back in 2020 and should be a force out there on the course.
Reyna Silva (Xavier): As a freshman last year, Reyna made her mark on the perennial powerhouse of Gator XC. She was the 6th runner at State, helping Xavier Prep capture third place in the team competition. She ran a 19:55 in the Sweepstakes race at Nike Twilight, took 10th overall at Sectionals, and a 20:09 at the Titan Invitational. As the Gators reload for 2020, Reyna is an integral piece to the continued success of Xavier XC.
Breanna Biggambler (Flagstaff): Four of Breanna's seven races in 2019 were in the low to high 20s. She ran 20:05 at the Titan Invitational, 20:19 at Desert Twilight, 20:26 at Sectionals, and 20:57 at State (25th overall), where she was the team's fifth runner and helped secure the team title. Flagstaff only loses one from their top seven, and will still be the team to beat at State in Division III - Biggambler is one of the reasons why that will be the case.