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Sun, Dec. 08

Marauders dash to 10th <br>in Peaks Invitational

Mingus Union’s girls and boys cross country teams kept pace with some of the top schools in the state at Saturday’s Peaks Invitational in Flagstaff.

Both Marauder squads placed 10th in the 30-school event, which included three state championship teams in the boys division and two in the girls.

Sophomore Ariel Latimer led the Lady Marauders, finishing fourth against a field of 199 runners. She clocked a time of 20:18 over the 3.1-mile course and beat her time from last year by 32 seconds.

Freshman Jack Mann paced the boys with a sixth-place run of 17:29, breaking the Mingus record on the course set by Kyle Romine two years ago. Romine is now running for Paradise Valley Community College.

“The most important thing we found out in this race was where we stand in our conference as all six teams were represented from the Grand Canyon Conference,” said Mingus coach Jim Bostwick. “The boys had their highest finish here since I started coaching four years ago, so they were all very happy.”

Amazingly, the Mingus girls finished fourth among Grand Canyon foes. Flagstaff nipped the Marauders for ninth place. Chinle earned third, and Page took sixth. Phoenix Desert Vista won the overall title by 88 points over second-place Hopi.

Latimer did have the fastest time among conference runners, finishing behind only a trio of 5A competitors, Bostwick said. Page’s Samantha Spencer finished sixth overall, and Chinle’s Kristen St. Germaine earned 10th.

“Due to the fact that only three teams advance to the state meet at the end of the year, we know we have a lot of work ahead of us,” Bostwick said. “All the girls are confident we can catch Flagstaff shortly. Hopefully this confidence will show up in our workouts this week.”

Junior Kiera O’Connor was the second-best Mingus runner on the girls’ side, finishing 47th with a time of 22:47. Junior Abbie Swavee improved the most from last Wednesday’s meet and placed 71st in a time of 23:30.

Sophomore Heather Bradbury improved 1:09 from last year’s invitational and finished 85th in 23:57. Other Mingus finishers included senior Elysia Goff in 125th place (25:27) and senior Katy Groseta in 169th (29:49), in only her second meet ever.

While Mann turned heads with his record-breaking performance, the Mingus boys continued to flex their distance running muscles as a team. The Marauders finished behind only Chinle from the Grand Canyon Region, and the Wildcats won the meet with 150 total points.

The Marauders finished with 322 points, followed by region foes Coconino 15th (382), Page 16th (413), Sinagua 19th (532) and Flagstaff (619).

Deer Valley’s Billy Smith won the overall crown with an amazing time of 16:39, according to published reports. Sinagua’s Heath Hatch, the only Grand Canyon Region runner to beat Mann, took second place with a time of 17:12 —17 seconds ahead of the Mingus leader.

Colton Noble placed 35th for Mingus with a time of 18:31, a 1:59 improvement over last season. Senior Jared Cienega took 40th (18:35), followed by sophomore Cory Romine 84th (19:29) and senior Jasson McGuire 169th (21:03). Romine’s time was 2:26 better than last year’s on the Peaks’ course.

“With all the positives from both varsity teams, I was most excited about the fact that the boys JV team placed third out of 15 complete teams,” Bostwick said. “You will see some of these runners running varsity in a few weeks as I expand my varsity roster from five to seven runners.”

Freshman Peter Valencia led the JV boys with a 16th place run out of 149 competitors. His time was 20:17. Junior Reggie Barron, in only his second meet ever, placed 20th in 20:37. Nipping at his heels was sophomore Jordan Goff, who took 25th in 20:43.

Junior Neal Blackford finished 31st in 20:59, followed by sophomore Brian Taylor 67th (21:59) and Ben Rolfes 89th (22:58). Mingus did not field a JV girls team for this meet, Bostwick said, due to a shortage of runners over the Labor Day holiday weekend.

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