Youth movement: Coaches of Mohave, River Valley boys teams optimistic about their young runners’ futures
BULLHEAD CITY — While Mohave High School T-birds junior Jaime Lozoya earned his third straight state berth, three out of his four teammates are underclassmen whose season is over but their head coach is optimistic about the team’s future.
“The boys ran well, but the competition was amazing,” said T-birds head coach Casey Amann by email. “I think it was a building block for the future. They will be better prepared for next year.”
Lozoya placed 17th with a time of 17 minutes, 45.7 seconds at the Arizona Interscholastic Association Division III, Section III Sectional cross country 5K meet and will be competing at the state meet held on Saturday at the Cave Creek Golf Course in the Phoenix area.
The T-birds came in 16th among 19 high school teams, according to the latest statistics from aiaonline.org.
Mohave sophomore Andy Debord was the second T-bird to come across the finish line at the Section III meet, completing the race in 74th place at 19.47.7.
T-birds senior Juan Rivas came in 98th place at 21.00.9, junior Andrew Grahman finished 102nd at 21:31.1 and junior Ahmad Khatib was in 123rd at 24:26.2 to round out Mohave’s top five runners.
The Lady T-birds featured two runners during the Section III meet, and junior Elena Rodriguez came in 20th at 23:04.8 to earn a berth at the state meet.
Sophomore Daniela Suttles also finished 96th at 28:06.6 for the Lady T-birds.
The River Valley High School Dust Devils placed 19th as a team, as freshman Ulyssis Short came in 33rd place at 18:22, which was not high enough to make the top 25 for a state berth.
Much like the T-birds, the Dust Devils’ future looks bright because they are also a very young team.
“Uly beat his personal best by 1 second,” said Dust Devils head coach Elizabeth Queen by email.
Dust Devils junior Brycen Lister came in 62nd at 19:17.6, senior Adam Rusikvas finished in 104th at 21:34.4, freshman Alexis Ledezma came in 120th at 23:34.3 and freshman William Moss placed 125th at 26:00.2.
The River Valley Lady Dust Devils finished 15th out of 15 squads.
Freshman Summer Sadberry came in 30th at 23:31.1, sophomore Sarahi Gingrich 46th at 24:37.5, freshman Rachelle Alamilla 80th at 27:24.4, senior Melissa Woodruff 92nd at 30:49.9 and junior Bradyn Cunningham 95th at 24:26.4.
“If they stay dedicated, they can make it to state,” said Queen about some of her young runners. “Some have asked me already if I’m coaching next year? I haven’t decided.
“I did enjoy it, but at times I felt I was more committed than some. Regardless of the sport or program any students joins, I feel they should be dedicated to their practices, games, in this case meets, and especially be eligible with their grades to be able to participate.”
TO THE RESCUE: The Lake Havasu High School Knights’ bus broke down in Vicksburg on the way to their section meet, Queen said.
“They got ahold of us and all three teams, (along with Mohave), squeezed on the bus to try to get them to their
meet,” Queen said. “Their guys were stretching on the bus as best as they could.
“We arrived at the park at 11:06, good thing the race was running 10 minutes behind.
“They made it to run and I think one runner qualified for state.”
Despite the that the schools are often rivals, River Valley’s first-year cross country said her Dust Devils were wishing the Knights luck.
RUNNING IN COMPETITOR’S SHOES: Queen said their bus was traveling on I-10, coming from Blythe, California.
“One of Mohave’s runners even let a Havasu runner use his shoes because he forgot them on their broken down bus,” Queen said. “A Havasu runner made state, but I don’t know if that same person with the borrowed shoes.”
LAKE HAVASU FARED: Lake Havasu is in the Colorado River Region along with River Valley and Mohave, but the Knights are in AIA Division II, Section III, while the Dust Devils and T-birds are in Division III, Section III. The Lady Knights placed second at the their sectional race. Senior Sydney Huffman finished 11th at 20:58, sophomore Isabella Sloma 16th at 2:11.4 and junior Dailynn Evans 17th at 21:24.3. The Knights came in fourth. Junior Joshua Hansen came in sixth at 16:59.7 and Brady Port 24th at 17:41.5.
CRR TEAM PLACES THIRD: The Lee Williams Lady Volunteers, who compete in the Colorado River Region with Mohave and River Valley, came in third place at the Division III, Section III race.
Darlene Bland came in seventh at 21:43.7, Aleix Hecker placed 14th at 22.19 and Alize Hecker finished 21st at 23:05.7 to lead Lee Williams.
Statistics, times and rankings courtesy of aiaonline.org and athletic.net.