DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Runners look good in Twilight, set sights on state

 When you are trying to build a championship resume in cross country, it certainly helps if you have depth.

Xavier Prep’s Gators appear to have plenty of that, as they showed in the annual Desert Twilight Cross Country Festival on Friday (Oct. 2) at the Links Golf Course in the southeast Valley community of Queen Creek.

The Gators had 21 runners compete in three divisions, seven in each.

The races were the Large School Open (165 runners total), the Large School Frosh (93) and the High School Sweepstakes (117). Length of the races was 5,000 meters.

The most successful race was the Large School Open, where Xavier had five runners finish in the top 10 and won the team title with 23 points. Xavier was led by sophomore winner Holland Carey, junior Karime Morales in second, junior Maria Benitez in fifth, junior Erika Germinario in sixth and sophomore Naomi Young in ninth.

In the Large School Frosh, Madison Gould was the top finisher, in ninth place as the Gators finished second among teams behind winner Gilbert Highland.  In the High School Sweepstakes, juniors Tatum Goforth and Ansley Burns finished back to back in 32nd and 33rd place, respectively, as Xavier finished sixth with 184 points.

“It went well. All the girls ran hard,’’ said XCP Coach Dave Van Sickle. “We have six weeks until state and we will get better.’’

Dates and locations for the sectional races that figure into state seeding and the actual state meet (likely in November) have not been determined by the Arizona Interscholastic Association. The AIA is trying to figure out which of the various possible locations will best fit the safety protocols that will keep the Covid virus in check.

Many of Xavier’s runners will be competing next in the Titan Invite on Thursday morning (Oct. 8) at Crossroads Park in Gilbert.

Xavier results

High School Sweepstakes

Tatum Goforth, Jr., 32nd (19:37.03), Ansley Burns, Jr., 33rd (19:37.12), Jamie Stelnik, Sr., 43rd (19:53.39), Hannah Wheeling , Jr., 45th (20:00.42), Reyna Silva, So., 46th (20:01.43), Macarthy Mahoney, Jr., 61st (20:22.52), Catherine Alaimo, So., 78th (20:53.25).

Team scores – IMG Academy (Fla.) 87, Phoenix Desert Vista 98, Gilbert Highland 113, Gilbert Perry 122, Flagstaff High 156, Xavier Prep 184, Chandler Hamilton 210, Queen Creek Casteel 213, Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor 261, Chandler High 261.

Large School Open

Holland Carey, So., 1st (20:44.03), Karime Morales, Jr., 2nd (21:08.76), Maria Benitez, Jr., 5th (21:17.17(, Erika Germinario, Jr., 6th (21:22.37), Naomi Young, So., 9th (21:32.24), Calista Flick, So., 15th (22:16.75), Olivia Charles, So., 45th (23.57.35).

Team scores – Xavier Prep 23, Gilbert Highland 36, Gilbert Perry 116, Mesa Mountain View 135, Gilbert Campo Verde 165, El Paso Eastwood 184, Phoenix Desert Vista 209, Surprise Shadow Ridge 216, Chandler Hamilton 217, Phoenix Pinnacle 282.

Large School Frosh

Madison Gould, 9th (23:05.41), Summer Goodman, 14th (23:11.18), Sejal Patel, 27th (24:20.39), Julietta Tavizon Heredia, 34th (24:49.17), Maya Nagaraj, 48th (25:36.05), Susan Findlay, 49th (25:37.60), Sophia Corona, 72nd (29:09.22).

Team scores – Gilbert Highland 46, Xavier Prep 95, Phoenix Horizon 110, Mesa Mountain View 121, Tempe Corona del Sol 125, Surprise Shadow Ridge 127, Peoria Liberty 127, Phoenix Desert Vista 135, Phoenix Pinnacle 238.

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