HS cross-country opens with Xavier & Brophy out front

Back in April, the Xavier Prep 4xmile relay team (photo) set a US#1 time of 20:31.00 to win the event in the prestigious Arcadia Invitational in California.

A little-known freshman named Sarah Fakler ran the third leg of that race, handing off to senior Jessica Tonn, one of the most recognizable names in distant racing, who ran the anchor leg and finished just a couple of seconds ahead of Mira Costa High School.

Daylee Burr ran the first leg of that relay with a strong 5:12 clocking, which helped Katie Penney grab the early lead on the second leg.

As the 2010 track season ended, it was Tonn who symbolically passed the baton back to Fakler, to continue what she had begun four years earlier.

Tonn, who won four consecutive state titles in the 3200m run and went undefeated in cross-country competition her last two years at Xavier, has moved on to compete for Stanford.

And Fakler is picking up where Tonn left off, winning the girls competition in the Sole Sports Running Zone Cross-Country Festival.  The event, which drew over a thousand participants to the Silverado Golf Course in Scottsdale, kicked off the 2010 high school cross-country season.

Fakler began her ascension to the throne early in her freshman year, when she won the 3200m event in the Freshman Showcase and then finished the season with a second-place finish in the 1600m  and a third-place in the 3200m at the state championships.

She easily cruised to the win in the Sole Festival with a time of 17:55.30, leading the Gators to a first-place victory once again.  Kylee Keiser from Marcos de Niza in Tempe finished in second at 18:36.90.

All seven Xavier runners contributed, as they were among the top 11 finishers.  It looks like, despite losing Tonn to graduation, the Xavier dominance of girls cross-country competition will continue.

On the boys’ side, it was an exciting finish between two Brophy Prep runners, who ran shoulder-to-shoulder over the entire course and finished with less than a second separating their times.

Will Firth and Tommy Williams, both seniors, propelled the Broncos to a 101:08.90 combined time and a first-place win by beating out Mountain View High School in Mesa, which finished in 101:18.75.  Firth’s time was 15:58.65 and Williams was clocked at 15:59.50.

For the boys’ teams, it was even closer than it appeared, based on the final time shown.  But the varsity races were divided into Black and Gold races, and when the two were merged together to calculate points, Mountain View finished just two points behind Brophy, 92-90.

(Photo: azmilesplit.com)