Running at night brings out the best at XC race

        Last year, Aeoleone Bristow from Rio Rico HS won the girls varsity
event at the Queen Creek Desert Twilight Distance Festival and
afterward said how much she enjoyed running at night, that it “felt
faster.”
    Well, this year it truly was faster as Brian Shrader (in photo below) (Sinagua HS) and Jessica Tonn (Xavier Prep) set course records enroute to winning the sweepstakes events, Shrader in 14:24.1 and Tonn, the defending 5A-I champion, in an amazing 16:32.3!
   
Runners began taking off around 4:30 pm Friday on the looping,
light-lined grass course at Toka Sticks Golf Course in Gilbert,
enjoying a festival-like atmosphere in the third runnning of this
event, and by the time the varsity and sweepstakes races got underway,
they were under the lights.
    It was Sarah Fakler,
the sophomore teammate of Tonn, that again finished in second place in
the sweepstakes (17:22.5).  The duo had a 1-2 finish a couple of weeks
earlier in the George Young Invitational and also at the season-opening
Scottsdale Running Company Cross Country Festival, in the Gold
division.  Mountain View HS runners Brianna Decker (17:36.6) and Sarah Schmidt (17:37.7) finished 3rd and 4th at the Twilight Festival.
    Rounding out the top 10 in the Girls Sweepstakes: 5) Kylee Kieser, 17:39.5, Casa Grand HS  6) Aeoleone Bristow, 17:47.2, Rio Rico HS  7) Marissa Opatz, 17:48.0, Desert Mountain HS  8) Christen Collins, 17:49.9, Pinnacle HS  9) Daylee Burr, 18:00.8, Xavier Prep  10) Ashley Hatch, 18:07.1, Highland HS.
    In the Boys Sweepstakes, Steve Magnuson from Ironwood Ridge HS finished in second, just seven seconds behind Shrader at 14:31.2.  Alejandro Montano from Catalina Magnet HS and Sherod Hardt from Queen Creek HS finished shoulder-to-shoulder after Magnuson, with Montano (4:51.4) edging out Hardt (4:51.5) for third.
    Rounding out the top 10: 5) Jose Luis Munoz, 14:46.0, Rio Rico HS  6) Ryan Yazzie, 14:55.6, Tuba City HS  7) Tyler Bingham, 15:00.2, Mountain View HS  8) Matthew Xuereb, 15:04.3, Brophy Prep  9) Rex  Woodbury 15:10.9, Catalina Foothills HS  10) Will Firth, 15:17.6, Brophy Prep.
    In the Boys Open event, Colton Jacobson took first place in 16:00.9 and Kevin Kennedy from Desert Vista finished in second in 16:09.5 – but four out of the top five places went to Mountain View runners: Brandon Wheat (16:13.8), Jameson Jarvis (16:24.5), and Dominic Garcia-Sal (16:25.4).
   On the Girls Open side, Highland HS swept the top three places, with Lauren Henry finishing in first in 19:35.7; Megan Wakefield second in 19:42.0; and Jessie Worger in 19:59.5.  Lauren Clark, Desert Ridge HS, finished in fourth (20:00.6) and Kristin Stroble, Corona del Sol HS, in fifth (6:28.0).
    In the Girls Varsity event, Taylor De Laveaga from Perry HS, who finished third last year, won the event in a time of 18:36.9.  She was followed by Terri Baker, Cactus Shadows HS (18:59.8); Lisa Wiley, Shadow Mountain HS (19:06.6); Allison Rydberg, Blue Ridge HS (19:23.9); and Jessie Hass, Cactus Shadows (19:26.7).
    In the Boys Varsity event, Cibola High School finished 2-3, but it was Chris Markey from Arcadia HS that took the top spot with 15:41.4.  Cibola’s Eduardo Guerrero (15:50.5) and Josh Lopez (15:55.8) were close behind.  Brenden Hernandez from Arcadia was fourth in 15:56.7 and Jared Paulus from Desert Mountain finished fifth in 15:57.2.
    Mountain View HS (Mesa) won the Boys Sweepstakes team title with 96 points, followed by Catalina Foothills HS with 107.  Xavier Prep won the girls’ side with 54, well ahead of second-place Highland HS, which tallied 103 points.