Wed, Jan. 22

Mingus Cross Country team starts off strong

The Mingus cross country team opened up with a small meet on Wednesday in Payson against Payson, Snowflake, Sinagua and Coconino.

It was almost like a scrimmage situation getting all the new runners exposed to running three miles before they enter their season, which consists mostly of meets with 20 or more teams.

Almost every runner ran at least half of the race with a fellow Marauder. "It was a total team effort out there today," said coach Jim Bostwick.

In the Girls JV race, sophomore Stacy Hewitson, in her first year out for cross country, was the top Marauder in third place. "We will be looking for her to step up to varsity in the next few weeks," said Bostwick.

In the boys JV the Marauders almost had a perfect score finishing with 16 points (15 is perfect), with freshman Hunter Rauch finishing 1st in 20:47. Nate Russell finished 2nd in 20:59, Stephan Filkins was 3rd in 21:07. Freshman Travis Neuhaus was 4th in his debut in 23:14 and Logan Jenkins was 6th in 24:24 to round out scoring over very tough 5K course (3.1 miles)

Varsity girls looked strong, finishing 2nd to a strong Coconino team, which won the Hopi Invitational last week and was third at state last year. Coconino won the race with 26 points, followed by Mingus with 43, Sinagua with 67 and Payson with 84 points.

The girls were led by 3rd place finisher senior Nicole Powers and fourth placer junior Carly Blair in 23:56 and 24:11 respectively.

"[It was] a great race by the two being beaten only by two of the top girls in the state," said Bostwick.

Freshman Erin Freriks made her debut with a surprising finish, taking 10th in 26:28. Senior Lisa Rauch was 11th in 26:42 and senior Ali Hayes was 15th in 28:36.

"A good start to the season and a great opportunity to see some teams in their conference," said Bostwick.

The boys team, which is ranked No. 1 in the state of Arizona (in all classifications 1A-5A) in preseason coaches' poll, started out the season running a team race. They all ran as a team the entire race (sans the last 200 yards), running only as fast as their seventh runner on the team. A cliche in cross country is that you are only as strong as your seventh runner but the boys showed they are pretty strong all the way down to No. 7.

The boys basically finished together, maybe one second between all of them in placing 3rd through 11th in times between 19:53 to 19:58. The boys are almost all returning varsity runners Ky Mickelsen, Sam Hayes, Bruce Logan, Tim Freriks, Daniel Jaimes, Wilson Cutbirth, with one runner, junior Alex Stratz running his first varsity race. Stratz was beaten only by two runners from Sinagua and one from Snowflake, in his 11th place finish. He is the team's seventh man.

Mingus had no problem taking first in the race with 28 points. Sinagua finished 2nd with 49, Coconino with 79 points, Snowflake with 95 points and Payson with 102.

Up next for the Marauders will be the Ray Wherley Invite at Embry Riddle University on Saturday.

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