Evelynne Carr from American Leadership Academy and Kylie Wild from Salpointe Catholic sprint to the finish at the 2020 Arizona DIII Girls Cross Country State Championships.
The Division 3 girls Arizona State Championship came down to the wire and produced the greatest finish of the Arizona cross country season. Entering the State Championship, two girls had run under the 19-minute mark and cemented themselves as the favorites to win a state championship.
Sophomore Evelynne Carr from American Leadership Academy ran a 17:56.50 at the Casteel Invitational, which was enough to rank first in the Division 3 level and 7th in the state. Just behind Carr, sophomore Kylie Wild from Salpointe Catholic ran a 18:16.70 at the Chandler Invitational.
The two met throughout the season for three races: the Chandler Invitational, the Western Equinox XC Festival, and the Desert Twilight XC Festival. Wild walked away victorious in each race, but only by a narrow margin.
At the Arizona State Championships, it came down to every last second. At the end, it was Wild who would narrowly defeat Carr by 2/10 of a second. Wild raced to her first state championship, running a 18:37.30 to Carr's 18:37.50.
Three more underclassmen finished inside the top 5. Freshman Ryley Nelson from Gilbert Christian finished third, running a 19:19.30, and sophomores Cathron Donaldson and Wheaten Smith from Coconino finished 4th and 5th respectively.
The race for a team title was just as close as the individual title, coming down to just a few points. Salpointe Catholic, led by Wild who also won the individual title, scored 68 points to win the state championship. Coconino placed second, scoring 71 points.
To finish the year, the top 5 runners at the Division 3 level in Arizona were not only all sophomores, including Wild and Carr but were also all from Arizona College Prep. Eryca Fawkes finished 3rd, running a 19:00, Isabel Brady finished 4th, running a 19:07, and Lauren Harsen finished 5th, running a 19:09. Over the next two years, Arizona College Prep should be set up well to succeed and compete for a team title.
Senior Ashley Brewer from American Leadership Academy competed in her final cross country state championship after qualifying for the meet all four seasons of her career. Brewer placed 6th in the event and finished 6th in the Division 3 girls rankings with a time of 19:12.50, which is a career personal best.
There will be a lot of common faces entering the next season for the Division 3 girls as a lot of these girls will be returning next year. It will be interesting to watch if Wild and Carr continue their dominance atop of the division or if someone else can enter the picture.