PHOENIX — The Arizona Interscholastic Association held the Division 1/Division 4 state cross country championship on Saturday, Nov. 13, at Cave Creek Golf Course.

Local D4 teams from Cochise County (Benson, Bisbee, Tombstone, Willcox) participated in the competition that included athletes from 36 girls’ and 40 boys’ teams.

The Benson Bobcats girls placed ninth and the boys placed 15th.

“This year was the best all-around season I’ve had in the 14 years I’ve coached cross country,” Benson coach Randy Barney said. “Our runners are good athletes, good students and great people. Seasons like this are why coaches coach. This year was awesome.”

Senior Amity Hall led the Bobcat girls, placing 14th with a time of 21:46.20. Sophomore Ella Allred placed 46th, freshman Sadie Webb 52nd, sophomore Bailey Hall 65th, junior Siarra Wilson 103rd, sophomore Liliana Lerblance 108th, and junior Brooke Schmidt 111th.

Benson junior Joseph Akers led the boys, placing 27th with a time of 18:18.80. Senior Zach Laura placed 63rd, sophomore Aaric Myatt 68th, freshman Syric Ramerez 140th, freshman Logan Vance 146th and senior Thomas Caywood 180th.

The Bisbee boys’ finished 18th as a team. Leading the Pumas was junior Ramon Loya in 28th place with a time of 18:21.10. Junior Fernando Gallegos placed 111th, junior Jesus Moreni 118th, junior Jaden Lumpkin 126th, junior Francisco Zamudio 158th, junior Jesus Ibarra 179th and freshman Eduardo Navarette 181st.

“State is definitely different – it’s extremely tough,” Bisbee coach Armando Ballesteros said. “But our kids ran great and finished the season strong. We really came together as a team at the end of the season.”

The Tombstone Yellow Jackets took two athletes to state, sophomore Cora Lehman who finished 75th in the girls’ race with a time of 25:46.30 and sophomore Anthony Piro who finished 53rd in the boys’ race with a time of 19:38.40.

“Both Cora and Anthony managed the heat and the course very well,” Tombstone coach Jake Winslow said. “They didn’t get rattled with the magnitude of the meet; they ran smart and tough races. They have tremendous mindsets – they have the chance to have really fantastic running careers.”

Running for the Willcox Cowgirls were freshman Ainsley Hepworth, who placed 40th with a time of 23:30.20, and junior Maylee Thompson (97th).

“This was the first time that we have taken athletes to state cross country in a few years,” Willcox coach Jennifer Wilson said. “We didn’t realize that the course would be as hilly as it was. They put their heads down and did what they were there to do. They ran well and had fun.”

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