Brophy Prep star Xander Black (Photo: John Hays)
Senior Xander Black from Brophy College Preparatory crossed the line first in the D1 Boys AIA State Championship in November, racing to 15:34.60 and a narrow three-second victory over junior Noah Jodon from Desert Vista. The rest of Black's teammates from Brophy followed quickly behind, including senior Jackson Moran who finished 7th and won the D1 Boys team title.
In his final year at Brophy College Preparatory, Black not only won his first state championship and led his team to a state championship, but capped off his impressive 2020 season as AZ #1 and US #58, running a blazing 13 second personal best to cap off his career at the 2020 RunningLane National Cross Country Championship meet in Huntsville, Alabama.
Jodon, the second-place finisher in this year's state championship, hopes to repeat what Black accomplished in 2020 next season. In 2019, Black finished second at the state championship, but came back stronger the next season to not only win a state championship but lead his team to a title too.
Several of the top runners from the Division 1 level were also able to showcase their speed earlier in the season at the Desert Twilight XC Festival at The Links Golf Club in Queen Creek, Arizona. In one of the country's top races of the year, 11 of the top 40 came from the Division 1 level in Arizona.
Black finished fourth, racing to a 15:12, only behind some of the country's top runners. Jodon finished in 15th, running a 15:40.
Senior Elijah Poelman from Highland High crossed the line in 17th, running a 15:42, and would finish 5th at the state championships. Senior Austin Clayton from Mountain Ridge was Arizona's fourth and final D1 runner to dip under the 16:00 mark, placing 23rd. Clayton would go on to finish 3rd at the state championships.
The other seven all finished within 16 seconds of one another. Senior John Shinske from Liberty finished 26th, while finishing 19th at the state championship. Jackson Moran finished 28th. Junior Brady Edgar from Mesa Mountain View finished 31st, finishing 18th at the state championships. Junior Noah Czajkowski from Red Mountain finished 35th, finishing 4th at the state championships.
Wrapping up the top 40 from D1, the trio of Brandon Ericson (36th), Jagger Zlotoff (38th), and Wyatt Williams (39th) from Highland High helped their team finish as the top team from Arizona at the meet. The trio all finished in the top 25 at the state championship.
We saw some great performances from the Division 1 Boys in Arizona in 2020 and with many of these boys moving onto the next step of the competitive running career, it will be interesting to see what colleges land some of the best athletes Arizona has to offer.