Southwest Region in Review: October Heat

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One of the bigger pieces of news out of Colorado this weekend was the return to action of Bailey Roth, immediately enhancing Coronado's status as a player. Photo by Alan Versaw.

It certainly wasn't difficult picking the big meet in the region this weekend, but before we get to the Desert Twilight, let's take our usual circuit of the region which means making a stop in the Silver State first:

Nevada

We were able to locate Centennial in action on Tuesday at a dual meet. Cimarron got perfect scored in that little matchup. In a 2.7 mile race, Centennial had three guys under 15, and another at three seconds over. Centennial continues to look solid.

On the weekend, some of Nevada (and Arizona) headed to Huntington Beach (CA) for the Central Park Invitational. Sydney Bader of Centennial and Tatiana Gillick (Flagstaff, AZ) went 1-2 in the top girls race. Katie Gorczyca is back and finished fifth. That latter finish did much to lift the fortunes of the Centennial girls, who finished fourth overall in the event. Centennial still deals with a big 2-3 gap, however.

Stealing a little thunder from the Arizona part of this summary, Flagstaff came in second as a team in this race. This wasn't the most stacked field a California cross country meet has ever seen, but it was a big meet, and those are big finishes for Centennial and Flag.

Mostly, that's what I come up with for Nevada. There's either a state law against big weekend cross country invitationals in Nevada or one against reporting results from big weekend invitationals in Nevada.

Arizona

Aside from the aforementioned news about Flagstaff at Central Park, the big news for Arizona came from Toka Sticks where just about everyone converged for the Desert Twilight on Friday. I'll go not very far out on a safe limb and suggest that this is the best that Arizona schools have ever performed at this meet within the borders of their own state.

The Desert Vista girls and the Corona del Sol boys were both simply dominant. Xavier Prep showed there's still some horses in the barn by beating DV at positions 4 and 5, but DV was way out in front at positions 1, 2, and 3--thus leading to the team title. Both teams were way out in front of Los Alamos, the #3 team from the region in the girls team standings. Another big gap in the team scoring ensued, then Highland (AZ), Mesa Mountain View (AZ), and St. Pius X (NM) came next in order.

As for Corona del Sol, this freight train is only picking up speed. CdS put up 76 points on second-place page, and 94 points each on Desert Vista and Tuba. At this point, there's no disputing who's number one among Arizona boys, but #2 in that group could foster a lively conversation. New Mexico entries Los Alamos and Rio Rancho finished eighth and tenth, respectively, and they weren't close. The position of Arizona boys teams relative to New Mexico boys teams was clearly strengthened at this race, reversing, at least to a degree, the trend of previous years.

Yes, there were a couple of other cross country events in Arizona this past week, but Desert Twilight is where the action was.

New Mexico

For the New Mexico teams who stayed home, there was the Rob Winter Classic in Las Cruces, the Highland Invitational in Albuquerque, the La Cueva Bear Brawl in Albuqueruqe, and the Curtis Williams Invitational in Gallup. The importance of many of these results was diminished somewhat by the fact that several teams were running less than full varsity rosters.

In summary...

1. The Zuni boys showed very well at Curtis Williams. If there's a space for a 2A sized team in the Southwest region championship race, Zuni is making a very good case for inclusion.

2. Even without all of their top guns, Albuquerque Academy ruled both the boys and girls races at the Highland Invitational. And by "ruled," we don't mean by just a little bit.

3. Alamogordo topped the Oñate girls at Rob Winter. Oñate came out on top among New Mexico boys teams. We'll continue to watch what happens here, though either of these schools will need a continued solid showing in upcoming weeks to get a lot of attention in region-wide rankings. What we are most hopeful about are the signs of rising strength among the southern tier of New Mexico schools.

4. La Cueva won both ends of their Bear Brawl, but how they do against fully-loaded (presumably) Eldorado teams this weekend at the Albuquerque Metro Championships should be a lot more telling than this meet was.

Colorado

In Colorado, the last week before league meet week is typically somewhat of a down week for a lot of teams. On the other hand, in view of that, some leagues have started creeping their league meets into the last weekend before the traditional league meet week. If you look hard enough, there were interesting stories to be found in Colorado this past weekend.

Monarch's girls dominated a short-handed Cherry Creek team and Pine Creek at the Pat Amato Classic. Legacy, though boasting the race winner in Emma Gee, was well back of these three. Cherry Creek, Boulder, and Monarch battled to a tight 2-3-4 among the boys after Laramie (Wyoming) went home with top team honors.

At the Doherty Invitational, we got a nice showdown among 4A boys powers Pueblo West, Coronado, The Classical Academy, and Palmer Ridge. The teams finished in that order, and relatively close for a 37-team meet. Bailey Roth was back in the Coronado camp, but the Cougars were missing another of their top five, so this meet's read may be subject to later revision. The Classical Academy topped Mountain Vista in the girls contest. Mountain Vista ran a second-varsity boys team at this meet.

Perhaps the most interesting news of the state came out of the Northern Conference meet, where the favored Thompson Valley girls were toppled by a very strong showing from cross-town rival Mountain View. Niwot also made a nice showing here. Niwot edged a Broomfield team down their top runner for the boys team title. And, yes, this was the meet where Elise Cranny ran 16:45 for 5K, beathing the field by a time that rounds nicely to two minutes.

Utah

Andrew Brewer took down Clayson Shumway in a nice little showdown at the Westlake Classic, and the team scoring between Bingham and Lone Peak followed suit. Both outcomes were very close. The American Fork boys, running a second-varsity kind of team, were well behind the two team leaders. For the girls, it was yet another in a string of routs for Davis. American Fork, which seems to be improving as the season draws close to championship time, finished a solid second, followed by Bingham and, distantly, Orem.

The Desert Hills boys and Cedar girls took top honors in the southwest corner of the state at the Cedar Invitational.

At Park City, Riverton did a little salvage work on their season by winning the boys division of this meet, beating--among others--Timpanogos for the team title. Park City ran away from Skyline for the girls team title; nobody else was close.

For Utah, this week is all about state qualifying.

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