The Mingus cross country team competed in its first invitational of the season and the junior varsity team competed for the first time all year. The Marauders traveled to Flagstaff to compete against top runners on the three-mile course in the Four-Corners Invitational on Saturday.
The boys' varsity team faced a 150-plus runner field. The boys' undefeated season came to an end as they came up a little short finishing second to Flagstaff.
"Hopefully this loss will be a motivator for the boys to work harder in practice the next couple weeks," said Coach Jim Bostwick.
The top five teams in the 24-team field were Flagstaff (67), which is ranked fourth in most recent statewide ranking of all teams in the state regardless of classification. Second was Mingus (82), third was Hopi (116) then Tuba City (176) and Carl Hayden (211).
Mingus is among some of the top teams in the state. Hopi is defending 3A State Champions and Carl Hayden is the defending 5A-II State Champions. It says a lot for the Mingus team to have beaten those top teams.
Sophomore Tim Freriks' winning streak of three straight wins and three course records also came to an end to defending state 4A-II state champion Victor Zazueta of Tucson Desert View in a thrilling finish 15:55 to 15:56, with Freriks holding Zazueta off until the last 50 yards of race. Zazueta tied the course record of 15:55.
"It was a nice learning experience for the sophomore," said Coach Bostwick."
Junior Sam Hayes came up with the best race of his Mingus career with a fourth place finish in 16:21. Bruce Logan came in eighth in 16:45, Ky Mickelsen 31st in 17:32 and Daniel Jaimes in 47th in 18:01.
"It was a big improvement from the team that finished 14th here last year," said Bostwick.
The girls had their best invitational finish in about five years with a seventh-place finish in a 22-team field.
"The good news was that our goal for meet was to beat Sinagua, who we lost to last week, which was accomplished, Sinagua was eighth," said Bostwick. "The bad news was conference teams Flagstaff was first and Coconino was second, the No. 1 ranked team in our conference, Page was not here."
In the 142-runner field, Nicole Powers was 25th, Carly Blair 31st in 21:38, Lisa Rauch 37th in 21:50, Cecelia Abshire 45th in 22:12 and Grace Stearman in 109th in 25:13.
"No superstars, just a nice team effort," said Bostwick.
Last year's girls team placed 16 in the field, so this year's finish was a huge improvement for the team. Especially since the team hasn't changed much over the year.
The girls JV team didn't have enough girls to field full team. Ali Hayes was top Marauder with 24:33 good for 40th place in the 107 runner field.
Boys JV finished second out of 10 complete teams. Flagstaff won with 33 points. Mingus had 61, Tuba City finished third with 105, Hopi had 113 5 and Mohave rounded out the top five with 123 points.
Freshman Willie Cutbirth won the race against the 106-runner field with a time of 17:36.
"It was a great start for the freshmen," said coach Jim Bostwick. "Šwith the second best freshman time ever by a Mingus freshman on this course."
Sophomore Alex Stratz finished third in 18:18, Stephan Filkins was 11th in 18:49, Angel Jaramillo was 24th in 20:49 and Logan Jenkins rounded out scoring in 34th place in 21:23.
"I ran only five runners on our varsity team. Today (I can run seven)," said coach Bostwick. "So expect a couple of these athletes to be running varsity in a few weeks."