Will Handley's second-place finish was a key piece in the stunning Timpanogos upset at Bob Firman on Saturday. Colorado Track XC file photo by Alan Versaw.
This weekend-in-review gets tedious for the compiler. There was a whole bunch of out-of-state, and even out-of-region, action going on for the teams of the Southwest.
Nike Portland XC Invite - The big news here was Cherry Creek's girls going in and finishing squarely between Sunset and Camas. It's not that Cherry Creek needed a lot of additional credibility, but this earned it for them, anyway. And I believe that's the scope of the news we need to be heeding from Portland.
Stanford Invitational - This is a very large meet and it's easy to overlook needles of teams in the haystack. Among the Seeded boys, McQueen was down the list a little at #14, but still ran an average team time of 16:22. A 14th at Stanford should probably get you into the championship race at Casa Grande. A big seventh-place finish by Alexis Gourrier led Centennial to a team finish of 15th in the Seeded girls race. Boys Division 1 saw Galena finish in 7th. Reno and Carson were further back in 22nd and 26th. Reno's girls took 7th and McQueen 15th in the Division 1 girls race, with Carson and Galena further back. This showing validates McQueen (boys and girls), Centennial (girls), Reno (girls), and Galena (boys) as legitimate Southwest championship race caliber teams. The other teams listed are certainly close enough to warrant keeping a continued eye on.
Other teams with interesting results out of Stanford include Douglas (NV) and Peak to Peak (CO). We already had Peak to Peak flagged as a small-school team of interest and they did nothing to tarnish that image with a strong second-place finish in the D4 race.
Bob Firman Invitational - A whole lot of Utah heads to this meet. Palmer Ridge of Colorado also headed to Idaho this year. Bits and pieces of Nevada make the trip.
The news that stands up and shouts at you out of this meet is Timpanogos taking the boys Elite team title over Great Oak, Davis, and Lehi. It seems reasonable to assume Timpanogos will be rising in every ranking system known to mankind this week. Lone Peak was a bit further back, then all the rest of the teams at a much greater distance. Palmer Ridge missed an opportunity to help themselves here, finishing behind five very good Utah programs.
In the Elite girls, American Fork edged Davis (again) for second, behind Great Oak of California. Pine View, Timpanogos, and Skyline out of Utah all showed very well, even if finishing a respectful distance back of AF and Davis. Lehi and Palmer Ridge were further out of contention at 11th and 12th.
Stansbury's boys ran well enough in D1 (even if behind a Davis B team) to garner some notice. Utah's Grantsville ran in D2 and, again, performed well enough to keep them on the radar as a regional small-school team, though the Cowboys are dealing with a substantial 1:51 pack time.
Also of small-school interest, Spring Creek (NV) ran in the D1 races and held their own against mostly larger schools. The girls finished 9th (20:50 avg) and the boys 11th (17:37 avg). It should be noted, though, that Grantsville's team average in the D2 race was 10 seconds superior to the team average for the Spring Creek boys.
Rim Rock Classic - The news here is mostly about individuals, as Colorado's Paul Roberts and Catherine Liggett posted enormous efforts on the storied Rim Rock Farm circuit. The best team finish for the Colorado teams was the 7th-place finish for the Legend boys in the Gold race. That helps keep some hopes alive for a regional championship race berth later in the season.
Not to say that we've covered every Southwest region team that ran outside the region this weekend, but I think that summarizes the most important ones in the group. There certainly was a massive amount of travel over the weekend.
It looks like the Nevada varsity teams mostly vacated the state this past weekend. There was still a meet or two in Nevada, but I found nothing that rises to the level of a regional conversation.
Doug Conley - This meet's been around Arizona for a while, though I believe it formerly had a different setting. Mesa Mountain View's boys took this one over Corona del Sol and Brophy Prep. MMV is clearly among the top boys teams in Arizona. Tuba City ran fourth with a 16:31 team average on a faster three-mile course at low altitude. Tuba City has been a ranked Southwest small-school team all season and clearly merits that distinction. This performance just put bold-face type on that statement. Even if buried in the large-school pack, Hopi's boys managed a solid showing here as well.
Chandler, maybe our surprise team of the season in Arizona, ran well ahead of Page, Highland, MMV, and Chaparral for top honors in the Elite girls. Small-school power Ganado was all the way back at eighth, and that raises some questions for them. At this meet, a big 2-3 gap hurt their team standing. There remains no doubt that Ganado is a strong small-school entry, but this was not one of their stronger performances.
Valley Christian Invitational - Small-school Scottsdale Prep cleaned house on both genders of this meet on the 22nd, though the pack time was a little on the side of high in both races.
I'm troubled that we seem to be missing results from the Tucson and Flagstaff/Prescott areas of Arizona this weekend. I would like to pay attention to those, but the results will have to surface first.
Albuquerque Academy - I don't yet have a postable set of results from the girls race, but you can take my word that the Albuquerque Academy (small-school) girls ran well ahead of Los Alamos and Volcano Vista on their home course. A 19:31 team average and a 46-second pack time are well worth paying attention to on that course. Los Alamos averaged 19:46 and spread their scoring girls out over nearly 2.5 minutes.
Led by Jordan Lesansee's 15:34, AA simply rolled the boys field, finishing their scoring five at 16:42. No other team had an average time within 10 seconds of AA's #5. Eldorado take second-place honors. Small-school Pecos, however, finished fifth with a 17:13 team average. That stands as a nice showing and worthy of regional recognition.
Onate Rob Winter - Onate's girls continue to roll the southern New Mexico/west Texas fields. On a 5K course, Onate had two (well) under 19 and a team average of 19:47. Onate's boys finished second with a 3-4 gap that needs to come down a little. If it does, Onate's boys could be setting up for the regional championship race as well. At this point, Onate is running well ahead of the rest of the southern New Mexico schools.
I wish there was more I could tell you about Hobbs, but they seem to keep their results scarce.
A whole bunch of the Colorado power teams were either out of state this past weekend or resting up from big efforts the previous weekend, but...
Dave Sanders - We haven't seen a lot of the Fort Collins boys varsity this season, but what we have seen has been very convincing. Their blowout win at Dave Sanders adds to the aura. Arapahoe, a known power, took second, with Rampart and Arvada West more distant, but still respectable, in third and fourth. It's worth noting that Mountain Vista's girls B team wins a merged divisions scoring of this meet, though small-school Battle Mountain (running up in Division 1) took the actual meet title. Wheat Ridge, a larger school running in D2 (the Dave Sanders D2 includes several larger schools) won that Division. Wheat Ridge has established themselves as a team to watch.
Pat Patten - Broomfield's girls took top honors here, shoving aside efforts from Monarch, Fairview, and Centaurus. Fairview was down their top individual, but it likely wouldn't have made the difference against a very solid 1-5 Broomfield squad. Boulder rolled over Monarch for the boys team title.
Coronado Cougar Classic - The small-school Salida girls continue to impress, even as Katie Rainsberger floats a 17:06 5K for your consideration. The small-school Lamar boys likewise continue to impress. Coronado makes a late-season bid for girls championship race consideration. The tough thing for Coronado will be simply how deep Colorado is in very strong girls teams.
Sweetheart - Times tend to run a little slow on this course, but Poudre's boys put up a nice effort on this one. Getting championship race recognition for them might prove to be a little like getting it for Coronado's girls, however.
This summary is made a bunch easier by the fact that most of Utah's top teams were off in Idaho humiliating top teams from other regions.
Nebo Invitational - American Fork's boys stuck it to the Nebo field. A 15:28 three-mile average time over a three-mile circuit. Westlake and Olympus are probably better teams than the distance of their scores from American Fork's would tend to suggest. Timpview and Herriman battled to a one-point differential on the girls side, but the top Utah girls teams were many miles north of this meet.
It would appear the Desert Hills varsity was idle this week.