Scott Fauble (Wheat Ridge), David Perry (Niwot), Connor Winter (Arapahoe), and Dusty Solis (Coronado) each rank among Colorado's top male runners. While each of the four could come up for an individual invitation to the NXN-SW Championship race, Solis's team is in the best postion for a bid. Photo by Cliff Jurgens.
By Matt Norton and Alan Versaw, NXN-SW Colorado Ambassadors
Since Utah's state meet is coming up this week, we'll start our weekly whistletop tour of cross country meets across the Southwest in the Beehive State.
Last week was regional week in Utah, and while smaller fields might mean easier roads to state in some regions, several ranked Utah teams found themselves caught up in spirited regional contests.
The Region 7 meet (contested earlier in October but included here for reference), comprised of 4A schools, pitted Mountain View and Timpanogos, who both boast boys and girls squads ranked in the NXN-SW top 20. In both races, the harriers from Mountain View carried the day.
The boys, on the strength of superior efforts in the four and five slots, overhauled Timpanogos 38-40. Jake Berlin, a senior for Timpanogos, won the individual title with a time of 15:46 for three miles. And while his teammates, Matt Liddle and Chris Reynolds, went 3-6, Mountain View was able to place three runners ahead of the Timpanogos #4. Perhaps the all-senior lineup for Timpanogos can rely on experience to turn the tide this week at state.
The girls’ race was not as close. Ashleigh Warner’s first-place finish was one of five Mountain View top-10 finishes (1-3-6-8-10), as they defeated Timpanogos 28-54. Last year’s 7th-place team in Tempe notched a nifty 1:20 spread for the entire top seven. They will be heavy favorites to win the 4A crown this Wednesday and should be counted as one of the favorites to earn a trip to Portland.
Region 7 Results
Another important (and also earlier) regional was Region 4. The top-ranked team in the region, American Fork, had to face 14th-ranked Hillcrest and last year’s 2nd-place NXN-SW team, Alta. As they have done all season, they dominated, placing four in the top seven to win 27-67 over Hillcrest. Austin West led the victors with a first-place time of 15:19 over a reportedly hilly 3-mile course. Fourth-place finishers a year ago, American Fork seems poised to make a run to Portland.
The ‘Fork girls dominated as well, with Alexis Laws leading a 1-2-4-5-7 finish. Her time of 19:15 was seven seconds ahead of teammate Jamie Lee. Can they join their boys’ team in Portland? We’ll soon find out.
Region 4 Results
As has become the norm over the past few years, Davis dominated both races in Region 1. A quick look at the JV results indicates that trend won’t change any time soon.
Region 1 Results
The Park City girls, ranked #5 in the region, went for a tempo run in Region 10 and finished as a pack with a perfect team score of 15. They will likely run alone again at state in Utah's 3A division. Last year they scored 34 points; perhaps they can shoot for a better score this year?
Region 10 Results
In Colorado, it was league meet week. League meets in Colorado mean precisely nada so far as getting to state is concerned, so it's typically a bit of a dilemma for a coach to decide how hard to have his or her team go at one of these meets. Clearly, some bragging rights are at stake, but teams that will have to have a great regional meet the next weekend to advance to state may figure that going hard at league is not worth the cost.
The Colorado league meets with NXN-SW implications included the Colorado Springs Metro, Continental, South-Central, Centennial, Front Range, Jefferson County, and Tri-Peaks leagues.
In the Colorado Springs Metro League, the Coronado and Palmer boys, plus the Pine Creek girls, kept their hopes alive and well with very strong outings. Rampart slid to third in the boys race, losing to both Coronado and Palmer, but has a chance to redeem themselves against both schools at the regional meet this Thursday.
CS Metro Results (to be updated soon)
The entire Continental League gave way under a blistering attack from Highland Ranch's front four girls. The Fulton-Ritzel-Kientz-Oslund pack finished 1-3-5-7 in a 5A league meet with another NXN SW ranked team in attendance. ThunderRidge would be that other ranked team, finishing second at 20 points behind Highlands Ranch. On the boys side, Regis Jesuit continues to look strong, going 1-2-3-7-10 for an enormous margin of victory.
Continental League Results
In the South-Central League, Alamosa's girls came back from life support and blew out the rest of the league. Though not an NXN-SW ranked team, Alamosa could yet make a case for a ranking.
South-Central League Results
In the Centennial League, Cherry Creek's boys continue to struggle in the absence of their #3 runner. Cherokee Trail took the win and Smoky Hill, reinvigorated by the return of Matt Caldwell, took second. Things are looking better for the Cherry Creek girls than they are for the boys. The girls are rapidly closing in on an NXN-SW ranking with the return of Clare Gallagher to the lineup and two successive solid outings.
Centennial League Results
Probably the best matchup of the weekend came in the Front Range League meet--Ft. Collins (NXN-SW #1-tie) vs. Boulder (NXN-SW #6) girls. Once again, Boulder had the stronger presence up front, including an 18:03 on a slowish course by Kelsey Lakowske, but Ft. Collins, last year's NXN-SW champion, pulled out the win at the third, fourth, and fifth scoring positions. No ranked boys teams were represented in the meet.
Front Range Results
The Jefferson County League meet witnessed yet another smackdown by the Evergreen (NXN-SW #7) girls. Evergreen's #2, Tayler Warren, is back but may be challenged to earn back the number two slot. The Cougars are deep, and very good. The Dakota Ridge boys seem to have shaken the doldrums and ran very well to claim the 5A boys team title. Don't count them out of the NXN-SW picture yet.
Jefferson County League Results
Finally, in the 3A Tri-Peaks League, The Classical Academy girls, second last year at NXN-SW, cruised to a league championship despite having three of their top four runners disqualified (team entries are unlimited in this meet, in case you're scratching your head over how this could happen) for missing a turn and, thus, a few meters of the course.
Tri-Peaks League Results
It's much easier to report on New Mexico than Colorado this weekend. The reason? There was precisely one big meet in NM this weekend--the Rio Rancho Jamboree. The attraction of the meet has very little to do with Rio Rancho's status as entertainment and cultural capitol of the Great Southwest. It has everything to do with the fact that New Mexico's state meet runs on the Rio Rancho course.
For the girls, Albuquerque Academy ran without several of their top girls. While Julia Foster won big in the individual sweepstakes (17:59 over three miles), the AA girls slipped to fifth in the team standings in the absence of a fully-loaded lineup. Rio Rancho, Eldorado, and Los Alamos went 1-2-3 in close order.
Whatever the AA girls were lacking on the day, the AA boys had in abundance. After Kyle Pittman of Los Alamos (14:58 - three miles), three of the next four places and five of the next 10 places belonged to the Chargers. Sandia finished a distant second.
The Zuni girls maintained their credibility by taking the small school division by a small margin over St. Michael's.
Rio Rancho Jamboree Results
In Arizona, the biggest news this week, unfortunately, happened off the course. The Alhambra boys, who have had a brilliant season this year in climbing to #6 in the regional rankings, have chosen to forfeit the rest of their season. They are protesting the firing of head coach Carlos Borja.
The racing action in Arizona was light this week, as most teams geared up for last week's Doug Conley Invite. But a couple ranked teams won their respective races at the O’Connor/Ken Denson Invitational in Phoenix.
The boys from Brophy, on the strength of their 4/5 runners, bested Rio Rico (6th at NXN-SW in 2008), 41-46. Jose Luis Munoz, 7th last year individually in Tempe, won here in 15:59. Will Firth led the charge for Brophy with his 2nd-place finish on a course reported to be quite difficult as well.
Pinnacle, with four runners in the top 10, beat 2006 NTN finalist and meet host Sandra Day O’Connor, 48-62. Aeoleone Bristow (Rio Rico), 15th individually last year at NXN-SW, won here in 19:45. Xavier College Prep sent a JV team and finished fifth.
O’Connor/Ken Denson Results
Also from Arizona, the Bud Davis Invitational brought schools together from across the reservation lands of northern Arizona. In something of a startling result, both Ryan Yazzie (Tuba City) and Rolanda Jumbo (Chinle) took second in their races. We're accustomed to seeing these two come out on top. Billy Orman (Tuba City) and Chalena Betoney (Valley Sanders) did the deeds.
Bud Davis Results
Finally, divisional meets are now underway in Nevada. In the Sunrise Divisional races, the Coronado girls were nothing short of dominant, posting a five-person team time at least three minutes better than any other team in the division. Lauren Lucas's 21:08 was a course record, so we infer that this was not an easy course. On the boys' side, Julius Kim led an equally dominant showing for the Green Valley boys, posting a five-man team time more than five minutes and 59 points ahead of the nearest team. Julius Kim's 16:50 was also a course record.
Sunrise Divisional Results
In the Sunset Divisional Championships, Arbor View edged Shadow Ridge for the best team performance of the day on the boys side. Centennial's Nick Hartle ran 16:45 in the heat for the best individual time of the day. On the girls' side, it was all Shadow Ridge, scoring 2-3-5-6-10 to take the team tally by 15 points. Kelsi Koch of Palo Verde had the top girls time on the day with a 20:16.
Sunset Divisional Results
Highlights for the week ahead include the Utah State meet on Wednesday, Colorado regional qualifying meets on Thursday through Saturday, and Mt. SAC in California on Saturday. Xavier Prep figures to get its best test to date at the Mt. SAC meet and several other Arizona schools should be in attendance.