Projecting The Season Ahead For Arizona Division 2

Kyah Zurek was Mia Hall's closest competition last fall. Look for another good battle this year.

Division 2 Girls

We'll begin the analysis of Division 2 Girls by scoring last year's state meet by returning runners. There was an unusually low number of seniors in last year's Division 2 girls championship race, which means we have a bundle of returning runners from the state meet to inform our analysis.


Flagstaff not only tops the rankings of returning state runners, but they return five who ran under 20 minutes at last year's state meet--Mia Hall, Alyssa Harris, Breana Biggambler, Brooke Golightly, and Makennah Mitchell. The teams following Flagstaff go in approximately the same order they finished at state--Casteel, Catalina Foothills, Desert Mountain, and Sunrise Mountain. There is not much point in doing a score-4 analysis when all the top teams from last year are bringing back five or six individuals.

So, the next stop we'll make is to score a virtual meet on the basis of best times posted from the entire season.


This time around, Casteel slips ahead of Flagstaff, with Sunrise Mountain running a not-too-distant third. This situation, being so dramatically different from the returning state runners results, warrants a closer look. Digging a little deeper, we find that seven of Casteel's top nine girls from last year posted their fastest times at the Chandler City Meet. When you see that kind of density, you right away start thinking about the gift of a fast (not necessarily short, though that could be one explanation) course. Conversely, most of Flagstaff's top individual times for the season came from the state meet.

So, we'll duly note that Casteel takes a narrow win on a virtual meet based on best times from the entire season, but we'll also understand if Flagstaff's response to that is a brief, "Harrumph." Casteel may well have been a better team last year than their state meet showed, but Flagstaff's dominance at the state meet leaves us thinking they really did have the upper hand.

We'll now move to track results from this spring to see what they tell us.


Flagstaff takes a commanding win here, with Millennium running a distant second. The biggest problem here is that only four Division 2 teams had as many as five girls with 3200 times from this spring. So, we redo the analysis, this timing scoring four instead of five.


Though we added a few teams there, it is still the case that none approach Flagstaff. Ironwood Ridge comes in second, but we wouldn't consider it a close second.

That leaves 1600 times from the spring as the last category to check.


And here, at last, we discover something new of particular interest. Flagstaff finishes second in this analysis to Desert Mountain. To be sure, Mia Hall neither ran track as a freshman nor as a sophomore, and her absence seems to be a definite factor in Desert Mountain's elevation to first place. But, even if we put Hall in first place among 1600 runners, Flagstaff wins by only a narrow margin over Desert Mountain. Kaylin Lacher is the headliner for DM, but there's talent behind her as well. DM had seven girls below six minutes in the 1600 this spring. For whatever reason(s), only two of those girls ran a 3200 this spring. 

In short, the 1600 analysis from this spring suggests that Flagstaff is vulnerable. If to nobody else, then to Desert Mountain. To be sure, Desert Mountain has yet to show they can translate 1600 success into cross country success. If they can, however, Flagstaff has a battle on their hands. Campo Verde, Casteel, and Sunrise Mountain are each within shouting distance but--at least for now--not the kind of certifiable threat that Desert Mountain could be. 

In view of all this, we'll keep Flagstaff as the favorite to repeat (again). But, we're watching with a tiny bit more interest in a possible upset than we would have been without a closer look.

So far as individuals go, Mia Hall figures to be back to defend her individual title from last fall. But, the next three finishers from state are back as well. That includes Kyah Zurek of Casteel, Clara Jones of Campo Verde, and Taylor McCue of Catalina Foothills. Establishing themselves as potential contenders during track season were Shania Santos of Marana, Merit Thompson of Cactus Shadows, and Kaitlyn Kaye of Sunrise Mountain