Sat, Dec. 07

Latimer leads pack for third time<br><i>Romine paces Mingus boys; young runners step up against talented field in Flagstaff</i>

File photoAriel Latimer

Mingus senior still unbeaten after three races

Latimer also set her own personal best time on the course, which traversed Buffalo Park. The varsity girls race featured 11 full teams and 97 runners in all.

"Her fastest time ever over 5 kilometers, and this was accomplished at 7,000-foot altitude," said coach Jim Bostwick. "The cool thing about this as coaches is that she has shown consistent improvement over the last four years on this course – 20:50 as freshman, 20:18 as a sophomore, 20:03 as a junior, and now this year."

Latimer’s other gold-medal finishes came in a four-way meet at Cactus Shadows on Sept. 11 and at the Kingman Invitational on Sept. 14.

Her performance on Saturday headlined a solid day overall for the Marauders.

Senior Cory Romine placed 16th out of 112 competitors in the boys varsity race. His time of 17:48 was 17 seconds faster than last season’s Four Corners meet. That improvement over 12 months bodes well, Bostwick said, because Romine ended his junior year as a first-team all-region runner.

"He is looking to continue to improve in his final year," Bostwick said.

Fellow senior Greg Burnett took 46th in the varsity race. His time of 19:07 proved more than a minute faster than last year’s run at regionals in October. "He is making tremendous gains in only his second year in the sport."

With only nine boys available and no juniors to compliment Burnett and Romine, Bostwick chose to put the rest of the Mingus line-up in the junior varsity race. The young group showed promise, finishing third out of seven full teams competing.

"(This) was very encouraging for our future if these boys stick it out for a few more years," Bostwick said.

Sophomore Shane Logan celebrated his 16th birthday with a second-place finish in the JV race. His time of 18:38 over the 5K course was just two seconds off the winning pace.

Sophomore Kellan O’Connor earned 12th in 20:09. Sophomore Jamie Jacobs earned 22nd in 21:06, followed by freshman James Fettkether 23rd in 21:12 and first-year senior Russell Latterman 32nd in 21:51.

Flagstaff won the JV boys event with 40 points. Mingus finished with 90 points, well ahead of fourth-place Washington, which earned 162 points (lowest score wins).

Three Marauders ran in the JV girls race. Sophomore Danielle Williams led the way, earning fifth for the third-straight time.

"The impressive part about this is that the fields she has competed against have increased from 32 runners to 42 runners to 86 runners (on Saturday)," Bostwick said. "She is making incredible improvement in her first year out."

Williams’ time of 23:00 over the 3.1-mile course represented a faster pace than her previous runs over a 1.9- and 2.2-mile stretch.

Mingus junior Diana Apresa took 24th in the JV girls race in 25:37, beating her time from the end of last season by a second. Apresa has only been with the team this season for two weeks.

Junior Kathy Zeuda finished 43rd in 27:36. It was her first 5K race.

"These girls are close to being ready to move up to the varsity level in the next few weeks," Bostwick said.

When the Marauders do field full varsity boys and girls teams, they’ll still be pressed to earn team berths into the state meet. Their region, the Grand Canyon, is likely the toughest in the state out of any classification.

Coconino, the fourth-ranked boys team in the state, won Saturday’s Four Corners meet, edging number one Hopi 66-67. Flagstaff, ranked sixth in the state, took third place.

On the girls side, defending state champion Flagstaff cruised to first place over Hopi 28-71. Coconino was fourth.

Mingus runners will compete again this Saturday in the Blue Ridge Invitational in Show Low. After a multi-meet at Prescott on Oct. 2, the Marauders will make their only home appearance on Saturday, Oct. 5.

Mingus has one of the toughest courses around, taking runners up and down mesas around Clarkdale-Jerome School.

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