D-I state boys/girls XC preview
November 15, 2019 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365
Highland's Leo Daschbach is the state's top distance runner be it cross country or track. He's won and individual title in 2017 as a sophomore and was runner-up last year. There is one honor that's eluded him in his cross country career and that's being part of a team state champ. Daschbach seeks to remedy that and help his Highland teammates to that end on Saturday Nov. 16 at the D-I state meet at Cave Creek Golf Course.
Highland, Desert Vista and Brophy are the top contenders for team honors. The girls team race has some of the same contenders - Desert Vista, Highland and Xavier Prep.
On the girls side indivually, newcomer to the high school ranks, but loaded with talent is race favorite freshman Lauren Ping from Desert Vista. Ping and older sister, junior Grace, moved to Arizona from Minnesota. Ping has dominated in meets vs. Arizona competition. She looks to take the title won last year by graduated champ - Chaparral's Abi Archer. LIkely to give chase to Lauren Ping for the girls crown is Highland senior Caroline McLeskey, who was the third in D-I last year and Chaparral's Tiaree Towler, fourth last year.
The D-I boys race is the first of eight races on Saturday to determine the boys and girls champions in D-I, D-II, D-III and D-IV. Start time for D-I boys is 8:45 a.m. followed at 9:45 by the girls. All races are 5,000 meters.
A a capsule look at the qualifying teams and top individuals for D-I races:
TEAM QUALIFIERS IN ORDER BY SECTION: Section I - Brophy Prep, 2. Perry, 3. Chandler, 4. Cesar Chavez, 5. Hamilton, 6. Basha. Individual section champ - Xavier Black, Brophy. Section II - 1. Mesa Mountain View, 2. Mountain Ridge, 3. Skyline, 4. Red Mountain, 5. Liberty, 6. Chaparral. Individual section champ: Hunter Krasa, Mountain Ridge. Section III - 1. Highland, 2. Desert Vista, 3. Queen Creek, 4. Desert Ridge, 5. Shadow Ridge, 6. Corona del Sol, 7. Cibola, 8. Valley Vista. Individual section champ: Jose Palafox, Westview.
Defending team champ: Desert Vista, five titles in a row. Defending individual champ: Sammy Van Alstine, Desert Vista.
Runners returning with top-25 finish last year: Leo Daschbach, Highland, Sammy Van Alstine, Desert Vista, Hunter Krasa, Mountain Ridge, Caden Resendez, Highland, Matthew Judd, Mesa Mountain View, Ernest Green, Highland, Zachary Johnson, Corona del Sol, Marcos Gonzalez, Brophy, Jose Acuna, Brophy, Sam Green, Highland, Demetrus Love, Desert Vista, Austin Clayton, Mountain Ridge. Other runners to watch: Salat Ibrhim, Alhambra.
TEAM QUALIFIERS IN ORDER BY SECTION: Section I - 1. Xavier, 2. Perry. 3. Hamiton. 4. Chandler. 5. Basha, 6, Maryvale. Individual section champ - Rujuta Sane, Hamilton. Section II - 1. Red Mountain, 2. Mesa Mountain View, 3. Pinnacle, 4. Liberty, 5. Skyline. 6. Chaparral. Individual section champ: Tiaree Towler, Chaparral. Section III - 1. Highland, 2. Desert Vista, 3. Desert Ridge, 4. Cibola, 5. Shadow Ridge. 6. Corona del Sol, 7. Queen Creek. Individual section champ: Caroline McLeskey, Highland.
Defending team champ: Xavier Prep. Defending individual champ: None.
Runners returning with top-25 finish last year: Caroline McLeskey, Highland, Tiaree Towler, Chaparral, Mia Olsen, Xavier, Jamie Stelnik, Xavier, Olivia Thatcher, Desert Vista, Marina Dear, Highland, Niki Hemmerlin, Red Mountain, Grace Valandra, Xavier, Taylor Jacobs, Red Mountain, Emma Finchem, Highland, Katy Clausen, Desert Vista, Leonela Lizzarage, Chandler.