The Mingus Union cross country team traveled to Prescott on Saturday for the Ray Wherley Invite at Embry Riddle University.
This meet is Mingus' 'unique' Cross Country race, it lasts a lot longer than all other meets because there is a separate race for each athlete on the team, meaning the No. 7 runners on each team have their own race, No. 6 runners have their own race and on to end of day when the No. 1 runners square off.
On top of that, they score based on total time of team (not place like a normal meet) and ... they count all seven runners, whereas in a normal meet we take best five runners.
"[This meet] is a great experience for the runner in the "middle of the pack" to compete up front and have a chance to medal. As a result this is some of the kids' favorite meet of the year," said coach Jim Bostwick.
On girls side, they ran just 2.6 mile (usually run 3.1) to make the meet move along a little faster. Only 12 complete teams competed, although there were over 20 teams in attendance. Like Mingus, a lot of schools have a shortage of girls to field a full 7-runner team, plus it was ACT testing day across the state so many school were without some runners (Staci Hewitson on the Mingus team).
"Saying all that it was probably the most competitive group of school I have ever seen at this meet, I would venture to guess we might have seen three or four state championship teams at various levels in the meet," said coach Jim Bostwick. "I was pleased with the way we ran, some of the girls had a tough time trying to figure out their pace as their usual running partners were sometimes in different races."
The Marauders finished 8th (GCR teams Page knocked-off defending State Champs, Flagstaff and they finished 1st and 2nd). In the No. 1 seeded race, Sophomore Emma Schraner made some noise on the state level finishing with the 3rd-fastest time of day in 18:43. In the No. 2 race, freshman Skyler Storie finished 6th (22nd best time of day) in 19:31.
"It's very unusual to have a freshman competing with the best girls in state at a varsity level," said coach Bostwick.
In the No. 3 race, junior Erin Freriks finished 12th in 21:10, No. 4 race: Sophomore Alex Henley finished in 13th in 21:59. No. 5 race: Senior Chelsea Ishimoto continued her rapid improvement finishing 10th in 21:44, No. 6 race: Senior Jessica Ishimoto finished 14th in 23:25, and No. 7 race: Sophomore Desi Ortiz finished 12th in 24:26.
The Boys ran 3.1 miles (5K) and finished 8th in a race out of 22 teams, much like the girls, the quality was like an all-star meet (Defending 5A-IIstate champs Alhambra was 1st and defending 4AII state champs Rio Rico was 2nd with Brophy Prep - 3rd).
The No. 1 race: Senior Wilson Cutbirth was 9th in 17:26, Wilson is coming off of an illness from last spring that put him out the sport for four months, but he is still trying to get his racing legs under him. In the No. 2 race: Sophomore Juan Wells represent himself well against some older athletes finishing in 4th place in 17:37 a year after winning the No. 6 race as a freshman. In the No. 3 race, junior Hunter Rauch finished 6th in 18:12 after winning the No. 7 race as a freshman and in the No. 5 race as a Sophomore. In the No. 4 race: Sophomore Colin Garttmeier finish 13th in 19:03, the No. 5 race had junior Austin Covey finishing 8th in 18:45, the No. 6 race had sophomore Chris Ortiz finishing 3rd in 18:50 and in the No. 7 race, junior Tanner Johnson finished 13th in 21:14. Sophomore Pal Scott was the leading JV runner for the Marauders, finishing in 20:43.
Next up for the Mingus Cross Country team is the Four Corners Meet in Flagstaff on Saturday, Sept. 19 and then the Marauders return home to host the annual Mingus Invitational on Oct. 3 in Clarkdale.