With the new state wide alignments and only 4 divisions, the races at the Arizona State Meet were smaller and more competitive.
The division 3 boys race played out similar to the Desert Twilight with seniors Billy Orman (Tuba City) and Alejandro Montana (Catalina) matching strides as they passed the mile mark.
"At the beginning of the race I was a little more anxious because Montano was keeping up, so basically I just put in surge after surge hoping to distance myself from him," said Orman after the race.
Alejandro Valencia (Rio Rico) was a few steps back in 3rd place and as the race continued it appeared as though it would be close but just pass 2 miles Orman managed to pull away as he headed to the finish line.
"I really want to congratulate Montano for running an excellent race," continued Orman, "I know he is disappointed for not winning the title but he has my total respect."
Orman crossed the finish line in 15:03 breaking the course record of 15:15 set by Brian Shrader in 2009. The record wasn't a goal for Orman, he just wanted to help his team by placing as high as possible.
"I didn't even realize That I was on record pace until I saw the clock at the finish line," said Orman. "Knowing I managed to break a record set by Brian Shrader, whom I admire greatly as a fine runner and sportsman, is a big honor."
Photos below from left to right: Following Orman's first place finish, Montano finished 2nd with Valencia taking 3rd followed by Johnathan Yazzie (Chinle) in 4th and Garner Grennier (Flagstaff) in 5th.
Chinle won the boys team race with 77 points and a total team time of 1:22.54. Junior Jonathan Yazzie led the team with a 4th place finish followed by senior Searle Tracy (9th), junior Charles Manymules (15th), senior Derrick Joey (24th) and junior Justin Yazzie (25th).
Flagstaff finished 2nd with 94 points led by 5th place finisher senior Garner Greenier followed by senior Adam Clawson (8th), senior Clayton Marr (13th), senior Blake Meyer (30th) and junior Levi Howard (38th)
In the girls race Rolonda Jumbo (Jr., Chinle) and Aeoleone Bristow (Sr., Rio Rico) battled for the top spot throughout most of the race. By the time she reached the mile and a quarter mark, Jumbo was flanked by Bristow and Haley Stenquist (Sr., Sabino) as the three headed down the "big hill." Jumbo pulled away and won the race in 18:34.6 with Bristow finishing 2nd in 18:48.7 and Stenquist in 3rd in 18:59.7. Kayla Freeman (Sr., Greenway) took 4th and Tatiana Gillick (Fr., Flagstaff) finished 5th.
With one senior in the top 5, the young Page team took home the title led by 13th place finisher sophomore Mikayla Hudgins followed by junior Celeste Claw (18th), senior Neva hurley (19th), sophomore Nicole Douglas (20th) and freshman Tomeka Church (24th). The team scored 94 points and had a total team time of 1:42:15.
With only 4 points behind first place, Chinle, led by Rolonda Jumbo finished 2nd with 98 points and a total team time of 1:41:15. Junior Anjelica Bedonie also added to the total score with a 14th place finish followed by senior Stephanie Yazzie (25th), sophomore Deriann Yazzie (26th) and senior Shaniya Smith (32nd)
The division 4 boy's race was the first of the day with Hopi senior Justin Secakuku winning the state title. Secakuku headed down the big hill at the mile and a quarter mark surrounded by teammate Mccray Huma (Jr), Pinon senior Winston Tsosie and Valley sophomore Corey Quigley. Secakuku distanced himself from Winston in the final stretch to win in 16:12.5 with Winston finishing 2nd in 16:19.2. Caleb Herrera (Sr., Pusch Ridge Christian) placed 3rd followed by Huma in 4th and Quicgley in 5th.
Hopi won their 21st consecutive boys team title with 58 points over Many Farms 111 points. Secakuku and Mccray led the Hopi team followed by junior Kelsey Jones (9th), sophomore Rex Yellow (19th) and sophomore Marquis Koiyaquaptewa (25th).
Many Farms placed their top 5 scorers in 13th (Deion Begay, Jr), 15th (Daniel Nelson, Jr), 20th (Alessondro Uentillie, Jr), 31st (Ty Begay, So) and 32nd (Cedric Ingram, Sr)
On the girls side Chelena Betoney (So., Valley) won the individual division 4 state title staying with a group of girls through most of the race. Heading to the downhill portion of the big hill, sophomore Sarah MacDonald (Pusch Ridge Christian) led the group with Sahley Onsae (Fr., Hopi) and Brittany Little (Jr., Hopi) a step behind followed by Betoney and Claryn Josytewa (Fr., Hopi). Somewhere in the final mile Betoney took over the lead and finished the race in 19:52.4 followed by Keven Griffen (Northland Prep) in 20:03. Onsae placed 3rd, LIttle 4th and Hope Goemarac (Sr., Sedona Red Rock) rounded out the top 5.
The Hopi girls earned 31 points for the team title over Sedona Red Rock's 66 points. Hopi placed all 5 runners in the top 11 led by 2nd place finisher Onsae, 3rd place Little, 7th place Josytewa, 8th place freshman Kaitlin Billy and 11 place finisher junior Paige Honanie.
Sedona Red Rock was led by Goimarac and her 4th place finished followed by, junior Mykala Seresun (9th), sophomore Eva Wilson (10th), sophomore Taylor Gage (15th) and sophomore Rachel Lillie (28th).
The division 1 boys race play out similar to the sectional race as sophomore Bernie Montoya (Cibola) settled into 5th place for the first mile of the race. Brophy College Prep seniors Will Firth and Tommy Williams led for the first mile with Jorge Martinez (Sr., Alhambra) at their heels. As the race continued, Montoya took over the lead and finished in 15:38.2. Firth placed 2nd in 15:54 followed by Marinez in 16:04. Jared Hirschl (Sr., Corona del Sol) placed 4th with Ignacia Villalba (Sr., Alhambra) finished 5th.
Alhambra, undefeated all season, won the boys team title with 102 points over Mesa Mountain View's 112 points. Following Martinez was senior Ignacio Villalba (5th) junior Maximino Talamantes (11th), senior George Ramirez (41st) and senior Jesus Butillos (42nd).
Mesa Mountain View's top 5 scorers were junior RJ Massey (10th), senior Blake Cowan (18th), junior Dallin Gherkins (19th), senior Monson Cowley (28th) and senior Jordan Spence (37th).
Sophomore's dominated the girls division 1 race as Sarah Fakler (So., Xavier College Prep) stepped out to a huge lead as she approached the downhill section of the "big hill" passing the mile mark in 5:33. Fakler slowed the pace a bit with a 6:00 second mile and finished the race in 18:27 for the fastest time of the day. Monica Houston (So., Cibola) placed 2nd in 19:04.1, Brittany Tretbar (So, Desert Vista) took 3rd in 19:05.3 and Brianna Decker (Jr., Mesa Mountain View) finished 4th in a photo finish 19:05.9. Marissa Opatz (Sr., Desert Mountain) rounded out the top 5 in 19:11.2.
Xavier College Prep won the girls team title with 37 points and a total team time of 1:36.16 placing their top 5 in the top 12 and all 7 of their runners in the top 15. Following Fakler's 1st place finish was junior Breanna Perrone (6th), Katie Penney (8th), Daylee Burr (12th) and McKenna Gaffney (12th).
Desert Vista took 2nd with 94 points and a total team time of 1:39.39 led by 3rd place finisher Tretbar followed by senior Megan Krupes (11th), senior Yasmine Yacut (14th), sophomore Natalie Kraft (27th) and and senior Carissa McAtee (39th).
It was a tight pack at the start of the boys race as Eric Zuza (Sr., Camelback) and John Winfield (Jr., Ironwood Ridge) took the lead with Brandon Kocmoud (Sr., Sunrise Mountain), Rex Woodbury (Sr., Catalina Foothills) and Daniel Wong (Sr., Canyon Del Oro) a step behind.
Kocmoud took the lead and finished the race in 16:02.3 with Woodbury taking 2nd in 16:11.2 followed by Wong (3rd) in 16:14, Zuza 4th in 16:15 and Eduardo Roa (Jr., McClintock) 5th in 16:16.7.
Catalina Foothills won the boys team title with an incredible 63 points. What made it an incredible race is Dylan Souza's 5th place finish after having surgery to have his appendix removed only days earlier. A last minute decision to run (I am not quite sure how he did it) helped his team earn a repeat in the team title. Following Woodbury's 2nd place finish was senior Mike Whetzel who finished 6th, senior Max Warneke (9th), senior Sam Sandweiss (17th) and Dylan Souza (29th).
Sunrise Mountain finished 2nd in the boys race with 118 points. Following Kocmoud were junior Ryan Tyler (15th), junior Bradley Rodgers (23rd), sophomore Jacob Hogan (27th) and senior Nicolas Hogan (52nd).
Kylee Kieser (Sr., Marcos de Niza) won the girls individual title in 18:53 after jumping out to small lead in the first mile. Kieser increased her lead each mile finishing the race in 18:53. Konnie Zuniga (Sr., Nogales) finished 2nd in 19:26.4 followed closely by Chloe Newell (Jr., Sahuaro) in 19:27.8. Zahira Jimenez (Sr., Nogales) took 4th in 19:30.3 with Kerri Lenihan (Sr., Marana Mountain View) rounding out the top 5.
Nogales won the team title with 77 points placing 2 girls in the top 5. Following Zuniga and Jimenez were junior Lilia Moncada (21st), senior Ivonne Herrera (23rd) and senior Esther Estrada (27th).
Marcos de Niza finished second in the girls race with 97 points. The scoring runners following Kieser were junior Page Libsack (11th), sophomore Jessey Tenioro (14th), junior Jamie Chan (31st) and senior Jasmine Trigueros (40th).