CASA GRANDE -- In track and field, the Chandler Rotary Invitational is the mid-season test for high school athletes to see how they stack up against the best of the best.
For cross county runners in the fall, it's the Desert Twilight Invitational at the Grande Sports Academy.
"We were concerned we would be overwhelmed," admitted veteran Mingus Coach Jim Bostwick, "but all the girls and boys came up big and had their best times of the year."
Most impressive for Mingus was the performance of senior Jordan Bramblett, who ran in the elite boys sweepstakes race, which featured the top runners in the state, and Southwest, regardless of school size.
Bramblett finished 10th in the field of 178 runners. He covered the 3.12-mile course in 15:24, a pace of 4:58 per mile. Defending state champion Carlos Villarreal of Rio Rico High School won the race in a course record clocking of 14:49.
"He was well-rested," Bostwick said of Bramblett. "He hurt his knee in a bike accident so he hasn't run much in the last 10 days."
As a team, Mingus finished 23rd out of 25 teams in the elite sweepstakes division, "but all the boys ran personal bests," Bostwick emphasized.
Junior Joseph Sandoval was 68th in 16:16. Senior Keenan DeVore was 133rd in 17:08. Senior Traygon Ullery was 161st in 17:54 and senior Joseph Cook was No. 171 in 18:12.
The girls varsity team finished in 15th place among the 21 teams invited to participate in the sweepstakes race. Junior Megan Goettl led the charge for Mingus with a 19:05 clocking for the 5-kilometer course. That placed her in 49th out of 153 runners.
Victoria DuCharme was next in 67th in 19:37; freshman Sydney Alexander finished in 20:01 in 81st and Maribel Cruz was 104th in 20:16. Junior Kelli Balensky was last scoring member in 118th in 20:53 and Cassia Gehl was the team's 6th runner in 21:22 in 131st place.
"The girls were very scared to accept an invitation to the 'big' race, but they all ran personal bests," said Bostwick.
Also for Mingus, Jonathen Jung finished 25th out of 115 runners in the freshman race, completing the 5K course in 19:04.
In the boys junior varsity small school division (less than 1800 students), Mingus finished second to Prescott. Scoring runners for Mingus included sophomore Caden Emmons, 13th out of 264 runners in 18:32; sophomore Ryan Alexander, 24th in 18:58; sophomore Justin Stuart, 27th 19:00 in 27th; junior Cameron Blonairz, 43rd in 19:28; and senior Alfredo Jaimes, 49th in 19:41.
More Running News
The Western Athletic Conference last week named former Mingus runner Juan Jose Wells as its Athlete of the Week.
Wells is now a junior competing for the University of Texas-Pan American men's cross country team.
Remaining Races for Mingus
Oct. 10, 8 a.m., Tuba City Warrior Run.
Oct. 22, 3 p.m., Yavapai County Multiple @ Embry Riddle
Oct. 31, Sectional Meet @ Holbrook Hidden Cove Golf Course, 1500 Golf Course Road
Nov. 8, State Meet @ Cave Creek Golf Course, 15202 N. 19th Avenue, Phoenix"