GILBERT — Cross-country runners from Benson, Bisbee, Buena, St. David and Tombstone who qualified for state traveled to Crossroads Park in Gilbert on Friday to compete in their final race of the season: the state championships.
Benson was represented by its girls’ team and three members of the boys’ team.
The girls team finished sixth overall. Top finishers for the Bobcats were junior Amity Hall in 10th place, 21:02.1; and freshman Bailey Hall in 15th place, 21:20.5. Other runners were sophomore Siarra Wilson, 48th in 23:18.2; freshman Ella Allred, 57th in 24.20.7; sophomore Brooke Schmidt, 56th in 25:03.7; freshman Liliana Lerblance, 70th in 25:39.3; and sophomore Briley Barney, 77th in 29:12.
“Our girls ran a great race today,” Benson cross-country coach Randy Barney said. “They are great athletes and even better people who represented our school and our sport well. I couldn’t be more proud.”
The Bobcat boys who placed were junior Zach Laura, 44th with a 19:09.5; sophomore Joseph Akers, 52nd with a 19:27.2; and senior Sean Laura, 70th with a 20:08.
“Our boys ran well and finished with great times,” Barney said. “They are quality athletes with great attitudes who I was proud to have represent our school and sport.
“This was the most fun cross country season. Our team was led by two great captains, Sean Laura and Amity Hall. In a time when the world was shutting down, our team pulled together. We didn’t let anything stop us from accomplishing our goals. We were prepared and I feel blessed that we had the opportunity to compete.”
Placing for the Bisbee Pumas were sophomores Ramon Loya, 27th in 18:10.7 and Jesus Moreno, 68th in 20:06.5.
“I’m so proud of my athletes,” Bisbee cross-country coach Armando Ballesteros said. “They worked so hard all season. They have a very bright future running cross-country.”
St. David senior Elijah Schmidt represented the Tigers, finishing 46th in 19:14.6.
“Elijah enjoyed running at state and even had his best time of the season,” St. David cross-country coach Richard Jones said. “I’m very proud of all his hard work. He’s now looking forward to competing in track and field.
“I’d also like to thank our assistant coach Akira Jones for her hard work and dedication to helping our athletes throughout the season.”
Tombstone Yellow Jackets competitors were freshman Reagan McGuire who medaled in 12th place with a 21:13.2 and sophomore Taylor Jundt who medaled in 18th place with a 21:26.9.
“Both Reagan and Taylor ran very, very well,” Tombstone cross-country coach Jake Winslow said. “They rose to the occasion, ran an intelligent race and finished well. Neither had competed in cross-country state before so it’s exciting for them to realize what happens when you work hard and keep a positive mindset.”
Buena’s three female runners competed Friday in the Division 2 race. Kaila Hart placed 52nd with a time of 21:04, Sarah Pedersen was 60th with a time of 21:19 and Amiya Matthews was 61st with a time of 21:21.