Raymundo Frasquillo File Photo/Gila Herald: Thatcher Class of 2019 Hunter Stailey was first out the gate last season. His 17:48 run is a course record. Safford seniors Duncan Walker and Jacob Urrea were second (18:30) and third (18:55), respectively, and Morenci senior Jordan Mares fourth (19:06). Personal bests, at the time, were 16:33.00 for Stailey, 17:35.40 for Walker, 17:06.40 for Urrea, and 17:24.00 for Mares.
By Raymundo Frasquillo
MORENCI – The 4th Copper Hills Cross Country Invitational is Oct. 2. Joining Morenci are Benson, Safford, Thatcher, Willcox, and New Mexico Bayard Cobre.
Thatcher finished first with 30 points, Safford second (50), Morenci third (64), Tombstone fourth (82), and Willcox fifth (150) last year.
Meet host and 10th-year Morenci boys head coach Kenneth Lester said the course was measured more accurately than before. “It was closer to 5K” (in 2018). The course was altered to include a dirt path and a 33-step staircase on the return trip, enough to change the pace for all runners.
Three of the current Wildcats have run the course and posted times previously, Jordan Mares, Dante DeAnda, and Cameron Bailey-Garcia. Mares has times of 19:06 in 2018, 21:30 in 2017, and 22:24 in 2016; Bailey-Garcia 21:40 in 2018 and 21:41 in 2017; and DeAnda 21:07 in 2018, 21:20 in 2017, and 21:03 in 2016. Their personal best thus far are 16:45.3 for Mares and 19:27.1 on Sept. 27, and 17:54.3 for DeAnda on Sept. 21.
Safford seniors Duncan Walker and Jacob Urrea finished second (18:30) and third (18:55), respectively.
The Eagles’ had senior Wesley Pena 5th (19:25), sophomore Joby Rojas 6th (19:56), senior Talon Brown 7th (20:12), senior Tyler Bierman 8th (20:18), sophomore Dean Haller 15th (20:56) and senior Matt Orr 19th (21:09).
Safford’s other runners included senior Sy Hargis 9th (20:19), junior Nathan Wells 24th (23:06), and junior Caiden Luna 26th (25:28.50).
Morenci at Casa Grande
Morenci placed 39th (946 points) of 69 teams running in the Casa Grande-held Desert Twilight Invitational Sept. 27. Thatcher was 19th (595), Safford 25th (722), and Benson 54th (1,392).
Individually in the Small School Varsity, Mares was 14th (16:45.26) of 513 finishers, Bailey-Garcia 115th (18:00.00), senior Matthew Webb 254th (18:59.70); junior Conrad Aguallo 301st (19:23.01), and DeAnda 311th (19:27.09).
Nevada Las Vegas Faith Lutheran senior Raymond Miller posted a winning time of 16:20.37.
Safford’s Urrea was the runner-up in 16:23.44, Walker 15th (16:46.42), Hargis 79th (17:35.12), sophomore Timothy Fox 323rd (19:31.85), junior Daymian Donner 351st (19:47.96), and Luna 416th (20:45.84).
For Thatcher, Pena was 57th (17:21.90), Haller 72nd (17:30.57), Rojas 74th (17:31.61), sophomore Tanner Palmer 204th (18:37.46), Brown 210th (18:39.49), Orr 217th (18:40.69), sophomore Dathan Kartchner 228th (18:44.46), and sophomore Mason Bryce 380th (20:08.82).
In the Open portion, junior Damian Billy was 199th (22:11.5) of 389 entrants, junior T.J. Lee 212th (22:24.4), sophomore Marcus Grijalva 355th (28:38.0), and freshman Teddy Tiefel 380th (38.03.0).
Placing first was Pinon senior Christian Bert with 17:16.2.
Morenci at Laveen
The Wildcats were 10th of 19 varsity teams competing in the Second Juan Reyes Invitational Sept. 21. Meet winner Phoenix Carl Hayden totaled 63 points.
Mares came in 12th (17:22.2) of 126 entrants, Bailey-Garcia 30th (17:54.3), Webb 71st (19:51), Aguallo 89th (20:16.7), and DeAnda 95th (20:54.7).
Goodyear Millennium junior Alexander Rafferty placed first (16:07.6).
In the junior varsity meet, senior Phillip Provencio was 37th (21:19.3) of 83 runners, junior T.J. Lee 66th (23:25.6), and Billy 69th (24:27.3).
Phoenix Saint Mary’s Catholic sophomore Andrew Winston placed first with 17:43.1