Last year, Robby Lee and his American Fork teammates (Caveman Track Club) finished fourth at NXN SW. This year, they're tearing up the circuit in Utah with bigger things in mind. Photo by Alan Versaw.
By Matt Norton and Alan Versaw, Colorado NXN SW Ambassadors
Here we go with another week's tour of high school cross country meets across the Southwest region.
Utah was the hotspot of the week, where the regional qualifying meets have broken into full swing in advance of the state meet on October 21.
At the Region IV Meet on Friday, it was all about an amazing American Fork boys team. Austin West led the charge, taking first with a time of 15:19 (three miles, according to at least one report), followed by teammates Clayton Young (third, 15:53), Robby Lee (fourth, 15:55), Mack Morrison (seventh, 16:07), and Jeff Nelson (twelvth, 16:23). The 27 team points American Fork posted easily turned back a pretty decent Hillcrest team for first place.
American Fork got a twofer out of the deal with their girls also winning a regional title, only the girls did it with 19 points! This time it was Alexis Laws (first, 19:15), Jamie Lee (second, 19:22), Kaisha Angerhofer (fourth, 19:23), Danielle West (fifth, 19:41), and Lakyn Lux (seventh, 19:53). Alta was a distant second with 52 points.
The times speak for themselves, but for those from Colorado shaking heads over the places, this particular regional meet hosted only seven schools, so low team scores are to be expected.
Beware American Fork!
Not to be outdone, Mountain View was also very impressive at the Region VII championships on Saturday. The top five girls for the Bruins went 18:15, 18:35, 19:06, 19:16, and 19:19 on their three-mile course. Sophomore Ashleigh Warner spearheaded the domination, followed by senior Ashley Robinson. Mountain View's 28 points left Timpanogos's 54 points in the dust.
Mountain View also prevailed on the boys' side, but this time by only two points over Timpanogos. Jake Berlin of Timpanogos took individual honors at 15:46. Travis Taylor of Mountain View was second in 15:50.
The relative boys and girls times from these two regions appear to suggest that Mountain View's girls have an edge on American Fork's girls, while American Fork appears to be well in front of Mountain View in the boys' derby.
Utah's region VI also held their championship meet this last week. East High School nipped the Woods Cross girls 58 to 59 for the team title, but neither team appears as a credible threat to American Fork or Mountain View at this point in time. Bountiful's boys won the team title, but appear to lack the depth that characterizes the champions from the other regions.
More regional qualifying action from Utah is on tap in the week ahead.
While Utah is bearing down on its state meet, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico are still in the middle of the invitational season.
The Lake Mead Invitational was Nevada's big event of the weekend, and it probably took an enormous amount of water pumped out of Lake Mead to get the grass along the finish stretch to be as green as it was. So, we conclude the meet was aptly named!
Miracles of irrigation aside, Green Valley beat Arbor View on a tie-breaker for the boys team title. A winning time of 16:47 for Julius Kim of Green Valley suggests that the course embodied some challenging terrain. A 1-5 gap of 1:45, however, further suggests that Green Valley must close up its ranks a little, though, to be a serious NXN SW contender. In a larger meet, Arbor View is probably the stronger entry as their #4 and #5 were well ahead of their counterparts from Green Valley.
The girls title was won by Arbor View in convincing fashion, 27-54, over second-place Shadow Ridge. Arbor View's Kourtney willey won the race with a 20:22. Her four scoring teammates all packed it in between 21:25 and 21:36.
Lake Mead Invitational Results
Elsewhere from the Silver State, the top teams from the Reno/Carson City area took a trip over the Sierra to the Clovis Invitational in Fresno, California. They didn't come to tour the raisin packaging facilities. Carson, Galena, and South Tahoe each made the trip to test themselves against some stiff California competiton. Each team had to come back feeling a little less than fully satisfied with their overall placement. Likely the best result of the day was a 15:58 second-place finish in the Division 3 boys race for Galena's Bryan Jordan. South Tahoe's 14th-place finish in the girls' championship race should keep them in the running for an NXN SW championship bid.
Moving to Arizona (something that half of the retired population of the Rocky Mountain and Great Plains states is already doing even as we speak--they'll be there faster than you can say Apache Junction if the weather east of the Rockies continues like it has been much longer), the Doug Conley Invitational took center stage this last week. The meet forsook its traditional home at Kiwanis Park in favor of the Rolling Hills Golf Course, also in Tempe. And why not? Cross country this fall in Arizona has demonstrated repeatedly that almost everything is faster when it happens on a golf course. Fortunately, there are enough golf courses to go around in Arizona, even for the golfers.
It's worth noting the Mesa Mountain View's boys dismantled Alhambra at the Doug Conley Invite. Alhambra held a slight edge through the first two finishers, but Mesa Mountain View closed the door at 3-4-5. Tyler Bingham was the top finisher for Mountain View at 16:05, good enough for fourth overall. Steve Magnuson of Ironwood Ridge was a not-so-surprising overall winner at 15:43.
Pinnacle, led by Christen Collins at 18:41, captured the girls' title, but Highland ran without the services of #2 runner Kristi Rush. Plug Rush in at her usual position, or therabouts, and Highland probably edges Pinnacle. Sarah Schmidt and Brianna Decker of Mesa Mountain View went 1-2 (18:28 and 18:32, respectively), but will need a lot more help from 3-4-5 to enter the NXN SW sweepstakes.
Doug Conley Invitational Results
Moving eastward toward the shadow of the Sandia Mountains, the Abuquerque City Meet was the biggest thing in New Mexico cross country this past week.
Albuquerque Academy extended its reign of dominance over boys half of the meet, putting away second-place Cibola by a 37-57 margin. AA went 2-4-7-9-15 for their 37 points, with all scoring runners finishing between 15:55 and 17:09 on the Chargers' home course. Vincent Montoya of Cibola went 15:44 for the win.
The girls race featured a very tight team outcome. La Cueva edged Albuquerque Academy on a tie-breaker, with Eldorado only three points in arrears.
Meanwhile, up in Santa Fe, another important meet was underway. Rio Rancho won easily over St. Mike's for the girls title, but gave way to Pojoaque and Santa Fe Indian School for the boys championship. To be honest, though, Rio Rancho was running a less-than-fully-loaded lineup in Santa Fe without Larry Rodarte and Ryan Vetty. Look for Rio Rancho's strategy to change next weekend when they host the Rio Rancho Jamboree, essentially a pre-state meet for the Land of Enchantment.
Caroline Kaufman of East Mountain HS deposited her race tag in the sweepstakes bucket for an individual NXN SW bid with a dominating 19:13 win in Santa Fe. Making her triumph all the more noteworthy was the fact that Kate Norskog (St. Mike's), Tamara Lementino, and Jenna Padilla (both Rio Rancho) were each 29 seconds or more behind Kaufman.
In the western reaches of New Mexico, Zuni's girls won their own invitational on a tougher course. Tim Chee of Navajo Pine won the boys title in 17:41.
And, finally, the Los Lunas Invitational was swept by Belen. Belen's own Aleona Reyes added to her string of meet titles, winning the girls race in 19:47 (once again, indicative of a slower course). Gallup finished a relatively close 11 points back to Belen in the girls race but was substantially back (36-59) in the boys race.
And that would leave Colorado. Which would mean this article is going out with a whimper as it was a very quiet weekend in Colorado.
With many teams laying low in advance of the beginning of the championship season (league meets fill the week ahead), Cherokee Trail and Cherry Creek were alone among the most prominent programs in the state in putting regular varsity lineups on the starting line.
Cherokee Trail polished off the competition at the Andy Myers Invitational in Greeley. Alex Dillenbeck and Evan Fiala led the way at 16:16 and 16:18, respectively.
Andy Myers Invitational Results
Cherry Creek, meanwhile, running without the services of usual #3 Mark Choate fell to rising power Rampart at the Pat Amato Classic. Walter Schafer's 15:38 was good enough to win by 35 seconds over Pomona's Adam Sinda, but not good enough to carry the Bruins to a team title. Rampart won the team title with balance, taking places 3-5-19-20-24 in the 21-team field.