CASA GRANDE, ARIZONA | Runners from Colorado — including several from Aurora — invaded Arizona for Saturday’s Nike Cross National Southwest Regional meet and many extended their cross country season.
The boys and girls championship races at the Grande Sports Academy each had Colorado winners (Valor Christian’s Cole Sprout in the boys and Cherry Creek’s Riley Stewart in the girls), while a few other runners joined them in earning berths to the Nike Cross National Championship meet Dec. 7 in Portland.
Cherokee Trail sophomore Cameron McConnell earned an individual berth to the national meet with her fifth place finish in the girls championship race with a time of 17 minutes, 20.62 seconds. McConnell’s Cherokee Trail had hoped to qualify as a team, but ended up seventh in the overall standings. Only the top two teams advance automatically.
Gateway senior Yasin Sado finished sixth in the championship standings — just .42 of a second out of the magic fifth individual qualifying spot — but he may get an at-large bid. Sado ran a time of 14:58.43 to edge Cherry Creek’s Parker Wolfe, who finished in front of him at regionals and the 5A state meet, by .44 of a second.
Overland’s Grant Bradley finished 86th as an individual in the championship race, clocking a time of 15:56.87.
In the boys championship race won by Sprout, Mountain Vista grabbed the No. 2 spot in the team standings to secure an automatic team berth in nationals.
The NXR Southwest Regional included runners from Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah in addition to Colorado.
Teams and individuals from eight regional qualifiers will meet to compete on the course at Glendoveer Golf Course in Portland. At-large bids will be extended when all regional meets have been completed.
Regis Jesuit also attended the meet and ran in the large school category of the meet, with the girls capturing second place among 27 teams in the large school race. All six Raiders finished in the top 62 in a 255-runner field, with freshman Alexandra Collins leading things with an eighth-place finish in 18:56.99.
The Regis Jesuit boys finished in seventh among 28 teams. Seniors Thomas Beatty and Owen Buehler finished ninth and 14th, respectively, with times of 15:55.74 and 16:03.19.
Grandview senior Anna Swanson finished as the runner-up in the girls Division 1 large school race as the Wolves were 13th. Swanson ran a time of 18:29.06, nearly nine seconds behind winner Alexia Larsen of Corner Canyon (Arizona).
Grandview and Smoky Hill ran in the Division 1 boys race, with junior Peter Fox posting the best result for either team in sixth place individually. Fox’s Wolves were ninth and the Buffaloes garnered 13th.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports