A Week Of Many Meets: Arizona Boys

Brady Eagar claimed the Casteel Invitation crown for his second meet title of the season.

After two rather quiet weeks, cross country was back at something approaching a normal level of activity last week. That should probably suffice for an introduction. With our introduction in hand, let's head straight to the meets and review what transpired.

Cesar Chavez Classic

Dispelling any concerns about his absence from last week's meet, Terrence Keyes was back this week. Not only was he back, but he was back doing what he does best--winning. Gilbert also claimed the team title, but by only a narrow margin over Hamilton

Keyes was the only finisher under 16 minutes in a meet almost entirely filled with large-school team entries.

Not much else about this meet grabs you by your throat and demands your attention. Gilbert remains in the Division 2 hunt, but the win here doesn't tell us a lot about where they stand relative to teams like Flagstaff, Campo Verde, and Ironwood Ridge.

Casteel Invitational

While the Cesar Chavez Classic was the biggest meet reporting from Arizona last week, a compelling case could be made that the Casteel Invitational was the most competitive.

While Highland came away as the winner, it wasn't by any especially comfortable margin over second-place Mesa Mountain View. MMV got off to a great start with Brady Eagar taking the individual title. Highland's margin of victory, then, came almost entirely at scoring positions 2 and 3. In fairness to the Hawks, they appear to have been short a couple of their top runners. If that shortage persists, it spells bad news for the Hawks.

Campo Verde, running back a classification from the leaders, finished third. A Desert Vista B team checked in at fourth. Desert Vista has been giving their regular varsity crew a long time off from racing in the wake of Desert Twilight.

Crewe Resendez of Highland and Tyler Schierenberg of McClintock exhausted the sub-16 efforts for this meet.

CAA Val Vista Viper

This meet, of course, has no bearing on AIA doings, but we'll take a moment to note here that CAA affiliates can end up hosting a rather large meet from just their own numbers. Richie Sweetnam of Heritage Academy takes the win, paving the way for his school to claim team honors. It seems that is Heritage Academy's lot in life where CAA cross country is concerned.

John Gleeson

This was Salpointe Catholic's chance to host their own show. As you might have expected, they showed up well, but barely well enough to edge out Division 2 Ironwood Ridge for the team title. Of course, beating a team that is solidly among the top four teams in Division 2 is much more than a trivial triumph. Perhaps more impressively, Salpointe ran all five of their scorers at 16:52 or better. If you want to compete for a Division 3 crown this fall, that is the standard to which you must aspire.

Ironwood Ridge can take some consolation in the fact that Salpointe Catholic is running more or less alone at the front of the Division 3 pack. Shadow Mountain and Page are hanging on, but at what appears for now to be some distance.

Predictably, Logan Marek took the individual title and by a very impressive 24 seconds. Jor Trujillo-Lira of Rio Rico ran second. There would be no individual titles for Rio Rico at this one. 

Dave Conatser

In a meet of weeks overwhelmingly named after people, Dave Conatser got his moment in the spotlight as well. Evidently, the meet has been running for 25 years, though it's not clear if it's been named for Mr. Conatser all those years. But I digress...

The meet was held at Clear Creek Reservoir, not some random corner in Winslow, Arizona. It's less likely that flatbed Fords will interrupt the race that way.

Micah Slivers (we've heard that name before this fall--and even seen his picture once) took the win here, and by nearly half a minute. In cross country time, that's almost an eternity. Cauy Curley got third for Ganado, and things seemed to be going very well for the Hornets. Holbrook, however, had other ideas and ended up taking a 49-54 win over Ganado in the team standings. Damon Attakai led the Holbrook surge in fifth.

Winslow got third in their home meet.

Flagstaff City Meet

It may well have been a city meet, but it was not a very competitive meet. We'll say that Flagstaff won going away. Flagstaff did one better than perfect scoring the meet--they claimed the top six places. Lance Harris, Cole Troxler, and Ryan Hatch each ran sub-16 on the three-mile course at altitude.


Joby Rojas made it back-to-back meets with an individual title. Thatcher doubled up for the team title, beating second-place Safford at every scoring position, which is another way of saying it wasn't particularly close. Thatcher's made a nice run of it so far this season.

Bud Davis

Tuba City was home for this meet. And, you know, Tuba City put up a good fight, but Page was just a bit too much for the Warriors. Cody Slim took the individual title in 18:02. Teammate Gavyn Begay chased Slim to the finish line in 18:06. The first thing that tells us is that these young men had a challenging course on their hands. Courses like that aren't especially hard to come by in northern Arizona. 

ALA Invitational

At long last, a small-school meet! Okay, a smaller school meet than the last one we just discussed. 

Arizona Lutheran hosted this one. They got the individual title out of Kai Robinson in 17:16, which was a win of about 40 seconds. Upon reflection, it seems like a week where the margins of victory were unusually large.

ALA could not hold on for the team title, however. That distinction would go to Gilbert Classical instead with ALA hanging in for second. At this point, I'm not seeing any considerable state title considerations for next month emerging out of this meet.

Boulder Creek

It was a Wednesday meet. Wednesday meets tend not to draw that well. Don't tell that to Jason Lundgren of Cactus Shadows, however. Lundgren ran 16:01 to win by 70 seconds. Oof.

Cactus Shadows held on to nip homestanding Boulder Creek for the team title by a single point. This is probably the only time in your life you'll hear of a team claiming five of the top eight places and not coming away with the win. Boulder Creek now owns that distinction.