Clayton Young has stepped up in a big way for American Fork over the last three weeks. Colorado Track XC file photo.
Once again, it's time for a whistlestop tour of the strongest meets in the NXN-Southwest region over the past weekend.
We'll start in Utah where Austin West was absent from the American Fork lineup for the third consecutive week. That certainly raises some questions, although it's not as if American Fork has been in desperate straights without him. Clayton Young has stepped up nicely to the #1 position, and the Cavemen rolled through yet another field at Friday's Nebo Invitational at Salem Hills.
Making another bid for serious regional attention this weekend at Nebo was Pine View. The team out of St. George is competing very nicely right now and beating everyone in Utah except American Fork. That makes them a pretty good team.
Maple Mountain edged Timpview for the girls team title.
Nebo Invitational Results
The Wahsatch Rendezvous was a nice opportunity for Lone Peak to display a little domination on the boys side, beating noteworthy opponents such as Bingham and Hillcrest. Cedar edged Bingham for the girls title.
Wahsatch Rendezvous Results
Ogden, Davis, and Park City went to Bob Firman and laid down the law for a few schools in the NXN-NW region (Jesuit was at Stanford and doesn't have a habit of making the trip over to Boise for this meet). Team scoring went Ogden 82, Davis 97, Park City 127, and Boise 174. A nice, clean sweep for the Utah schools. Summer Harper of Orem posted a very nice 18:10 for a second in the individual race.
This weekend found a lot of Nevada teams over the Sierra, running at the Stanford Invitational.
Galena found their way into the boys' seeded race and came away with a 14th-place finish. Bryan Jordan had the top finish for Galena with a 15:57, good enough for 22nd. A big gap between 4 and 5 will need to be whittled down for Galena to be a serious regional contender. Carson's boys were 16th in the Division I race, but well behind Galena in overall performances. Carson's girls fared a little better with an 8th in the Division I girls race. April Shonnard and Alex Drozdoff were both at 19:35 or faster for Carson. Katie Gorczyca had her unbeaten string snapped, but not by much. The Palo Verde phenom ran 18:52 for third in the Division I girls' race.
For the Bob Firman boys, Davis posted a largish victory, signaling yet again that the Utah boys teams are very, very strong this year. Along with American Fork and Pine View, Davis represents the top of the pile of Utah boys cross country this fall.
Several other Nevada schools competed in the meet, but this pretty much summarizes the results of regional significance.
In Arizona, Mesa Mountain View hosted their invitational on a course billed as 5K. The meet produced some very solid times--if the distance was indeed a 5K. Highland's Tori Haberman won big at 18:14 for the girls' title. Teammate Cory Breinholt won almost as big on the boys' side with a 15:26. Highland easily won both team titles, but it seems just a tad peculiar that the host team wasn't in the results. Saving something up, perhaps, for next week's Desert Twilight meet? An error in the listing of the host team?
In any case, here's a link to the results:
Mountain View Invitational
All in all, it appears to have been something of a slow weekend in Arizona.
Not so slow, however, in New Mexico. For the Land of Enchantment, the big deal was the Albuquerque Academy Invitational at you-know-where. I'm still scrambling for individual results, but the team results played out true to form on the boys' side. Caleb Rubalcaba of Rio Rancho captured the individual title, but AA wasn't as accommodating where the team title was concerned. The Chargers had a team score of 28 to 84 for second-place La Cueva. Los Alamos and Rio Rancho were both within shouting distance, but barely. Ah well, you run with the big dogs, you learn important lessons.
Eldorado edged host Albuquerque Academy 81-87 for the girls' team title. It was even closer than that, however, as third-place La Cueva had 89, and fourth-place Los Alamos had 101. It looks like both the 4A and 5A girls state title races could be very close affairs in New Mexico this year. You probably can't guess who won the individual title. There's a good shot at having three or four unbeaten individuals in this year's NXN-SW girls' championship race. And NM should be supplying one of that number.
Albuquerque Academy Invitational
In Colorado, this was a rather poor week for head-to-head matchups. Top teams went every which place but together for this week's meets. You could scarcely design things to be this spread out if you tried.
A couple of top teams were in Fort Collins on Friday for the John Martin Invitational. Fort Collins won the Division I girls title but dropped the boys' title to Natrona County out of Casper, WY. If Wyoming was still in the SW region, we'd definitely have a team to talk about there. Greeley Central and Loveland managed to make things a little interesting for Fort Collins on the girls' side. Kailie Hartman of Loveland won the individual title in 18:57.
John Martin Invitational
Heritage took a trip over the Continental Divide to run in Glenwood Springs. Their boys had the competition just a little overmatched there. Bigger obstacles lie ahead for Heritage, and we'll watch closely how they fare.
Glenwood Springs Invitational
Mountain Vista kept their NXN-SW hopes alive and well by sweeping the team titles at the Rock Canyon Invitational. Although that course is not especially friendly to eye-popping kinds of times, Will Kincaid of Columbine had a nice 16:02 to win the boys' individual title. A very nice showdown was averted when Chaparral's Keegan Vargo opted out of this race.
Rock Canyon Invitational
Monarch rested their regulars and sent their sub-varsity runners to deal with the slowish course at the Broomfield Invitational. NXN-SW potentials Boulder and Evergreen went 1-2 in the girls' race. Boulder won without Sam Lewis or Kelsey Lakowske in the lineup, but it was not the convincing kind of performance Boulder put up the first two weeks of the season.
The week did produce at least one new serious NXN-SW girls contender out of Colorado. Liberty's girls have impressed all season long, but put all the pieces together in a nice way on Thursday afternoon, crushing the opposition at the Coronado Cougar Classic. The Lancers rode the winning effort of Hannah Everson (18:33) to a team title over some solid squads. The course is widely recognized as a 5K, but runs fast.
Coronado Cougar Classic
On Tuesday, Highlands Ranch got a nice 1-2 finish out of Eleanor Fulton and Kristen Kientz, but the old problem of too many points at 4 and 5 reared its ugly head again. Highlands Ranch could not capitalize on claiming three of the top five places at the Chatfield Challenge, giving way to Arapahoe (first) and Evergreen (second). Although Tuesday meets tend not to bring out the best in teams, this one is definitely the premiere Tuesday meet in the Colorado season.
And, out in Minnesota, the Cherry Creek girls ran a very close second to Dowling Catholic of Des Moines, Iowa, at the Griak Invitational. Given the love that Dowling has received in the media the last few years, maybe Cherry Creek is due some of the same. Olivia Anderson ran second in the gold race with a team of 18:34.
Just for the record, there is no shortage of top girls teams in Colorado this year.