Running your best race in the season’s final race is what it’s all about in cross-country.
Both Mingus Union High School cross-country teams ran their best race of the year at the state Division III championships on Saturday, Nov. 9, at Cave Creek Golf Course in Phoenix. The girls team, led by senior Justine Taylor, finished second, while the boys team finished fifth.
Taylor finished fifth in 19 minutes, 18.19 seconds, to earn All-State First Team honors, while teammate Monica Soliz earned All-State Second Team honors by finishing 10th in 20:08.24 to lead the top five Marauder girls who totaled 132 points, second only to Division III champ Rio Rico High School, which totalled 89 points.
Lisa Rauch coached the Marauder girls team to their second straight second-place finish, with Taylor finishing fifth for the second straight year as well.
Not all of the Mingus girls were 100 percent healthy for the meet, according to cross-country head coach Jim Bostwick. Maribel Cruz, who is normally among the team’s top runners, had a leg injury, but toughed it out to finish 95th in 23:12.24.
But the Marauders’ No. 3, 4 and 5 finishers — Kelli Balensky, Sienna Gehl and Cassia Gehl — all stepped up and ran their best races of the year.
Balensky, a sophomore finished in 30th place in 21:05.49 while senior Sienna Gehl finished in 40th place in 21:29.69 and freshman Cassia Gehl finished in 57th place in 21:59.08. Also, junior Anissa Ureta finished in 58th place out of 157 runners in 22:01.21.
After not qualifying for the state meet as a team last season, the Mingus boys were very happy with their fifth-place finish, according to Bostwick.
For the full story, please see the Wednesday, Nov. 13, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.