Sun, Jan. 26

Cottonwood Cross country team heading to nationals

<b>Penny Fenn</b> VVN/Sean Morris

<b>Penny Fenn</b> VVN/Sean Morris

The girls Cross Country state champion team from Cottonwood Middle School didn't slow down once the school season was over.

Running together as the Aftershock Distance Club, the same championship-caliber group has been competing on the USA Track & Field circuit.

Back on November 13, the girls ran in the Arizona state championships at Victory Lane Park in Glendale. The race was 3K (1.86 miles), covering flat, desert terrain. The Aftershock were able to edge out the Rez Runners, a club team that included top runners from Tuba City, Window Rock, and Ganado by a score of 31 to 32.

The team was led by Penny Fenn's 3rd place finish, completing the course in 11:56.74. She was followed by Allyson Arellano (7th) at 12:17, Jasmine Banks (9th) at 12:28, Karen Arellano (12th) at 12:51, Megan Goettl (13th) 12:56, and Mary Earl (15th) at 13:13.

The stellar performance at Victory Lane qualified the girls for the Region 10 meet on November 20, also hosted at Victory Lane Park. This meet brought together elite individuals and teams from Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Southwest Texas. Running the identical course, many of the Aftershock girls made strong time improvements.

Penny led the way again with a 4th place finish out of 100 runners in a time of 11:33.59. She was able to beat both girls who had finished ahead of her the previous weekend. The team scoring was rounded out by Allyson (16th) at 12:09, Jasmine in (21st) at 12:17, Megan in (34th) at 12:37, and Karen in (48th) at 13:05.

In team scoring, the girls came away with a 3rd place finish, scoring 80 points. They finished behind the Cougar Track Club based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico who finished with 41 and the Rez Runners who edged out the Aftershock with 77 points. The top three finish qualifies the Aftershock for the national championships on December 11th in Hoover, Alabama where they will compete against the best club teams in the country.

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