With Woodbridge two weeks in the rear-view mirror and Desert Twilight one week back in the rear-view mirror, it's not all that surprising that a large number of Arizona's varsity teams took the week off from racing.
A large number, however, does not equal all.
Whether they intended to end up in the spotlight or not, it's tough to find a team more prominently situated in the spotlight than the Northwest Christian boys. After great showings at Woodbridge and Desert Twilight, the Crusaders came back with another great week at the Glendale Showcase.
How great? Well, they won the meet by nine points over Division 2 Agua Fria. But Agua Fria wasn't the only team to have cold water poured on their dreams. Twenty-five more teams took a back seat to Northwest Christian at the Glendale Showcase. Pack that observation away somewhere.
Beneath the surface of a spectacular win, however, there could be some cause for concern. Glenn Thomas and Jonah Archer had great races. Luke Poarch, however, was well back of his usual placement. If that scenario repeats itself, we have cause for concern. Once could be a fluke or a short-term thing.
I would be remiss not to note one other item from the Glendale Showcase. Trevor Querciagrossa sent a thundering message with a winning time of 15:31. He ran 15:25 at Desert Twilight last week. Querciagrossa has run some nice times before, but never anything quite like this back-to-back pair of efforts. Add the Sunnyslope senior to your list of Division 1 individual contenders. Do it now, before you forget.
Out at Ray Wherley, and I can remember when Ray Wherley was one of the biggest-deal meets in the Arizona season, Red Mountain also announced, "Who needs a rest after Desert Twilight, anyway?"
Red Mountain, led by Elijah Davis, crushed the competition. Their fifth runner, Greyson Akers, beat all but the first runner, Nate Pestka, for second-place Shadow Mountain. In fairness, Shadow Mountain is a D3 school, but there wasn't any resistance to Red Mountain's domination from any quarter. Snowflake, also D3, ran a solid third, but well behind division rival Shadow Mountain.
As a side note, Flagstaff appears to have once again run a B team at Ray Wherley. The mystery deepens a little.
At the Dave Doerrer-Thunderbird Classic, Cesar Diaz added to his string of wins on the season. Hopi, however, had the final say in the team standings. It's clear by now that Hopi is very much in contention for D4. Yes, there are some private schools (Northwest Christian comes to mind) that are in the hunt as well, but Hopi isn't going down easily.
Centennial had Tristan Coyle, Isaiah Fastrup, and Douglas Wright all under 16 minutes on the short course. That speaks well for Centennial, but it's also true they had only one other runner and thus didn't get a team score.
The Juan Reyes Invitational brought together several small schools and a couple of B teams. Homestanding Carl Hayden took the win with five finishers in the top ten. While this win doesn't necessary bump them up to the level of a D2 title contender yet, it does put them on the radar screen. Carl Hayden was a distant 12th among D2 schools at Desert Twilight, but this was a better performance this week. Jorge Corona Carmona of D1 Maryvale took the individual title. A win is a win, but stiffer tests lay ahead.
At the Kingman Academy Tiger Invitational, Lake Havasu's Joshua Lumpkin ran away from the field, winning by 1:44. It was a small meet, but you rarely see that kind of margin in a boys race. So, a shout out to Mr. Lumpkin, whom we just might see at state.