By GABRIELLE SHIOZAWA
Moapa Valley Progress
Between an influx of new athletes and an increase in stand-out performances, the Moapa Valley High School Cross Country teams have had a successful season and have set their sights from the beginning on making it to state.After competing in the Southern Division Finals at Basic Academy last Saturday, their dreams are even closer to becoming a reality.
Pirate runners dominated most of the top positions in the 3A Sunrise Division Boys’ race.SECTA’s Bruce Troncoso placed first at 17:14. But finishing in second place at 17:30 was Pirate athlete Nathaniel Thompson. He was immediately followed by Preston Humes, who took third place at 17:31. Taking fourth place at 17:46 was Jerrick Stastny. Bryton Dorsey placed seventh with his time of 17:52, and Samuel Jolley took 11th place at 18:45.
The Pirate boys team placed first overall with their score of 27 points. SECTA, the previous reigning champion of the 3A Sunrise Division, fell in second place with 36 points. Taking third with 86 points was Boulder City.
“This is the first time in seven years that we’ve been even close to winning Division,” remarked head boys’ coach Gary Watkins. “To win Division today and to beat SECTA to do it…the feeling is indescribable. It’s just absolutely wonderful!”
Next was the 3A Sunrise Girls’ race. Taking first with a time of 21:25 was Virgin Valley’s Viviana Archuleta-Vega. Andrea Mogren placed ninth for the Pirates at 22:34. McKinley Bledsoe, Hannah Watson, and Emma Thompson ran close races, taking 15th, 16th, and 17th places, respectively. Bledsoe finished the race at 24:10, Watson at 24:17, and Thompson at 24:27. After Alexa Canfield placed 22nd at 26:36, Kennadie Burt took 23rd place at 26:53. Miranda Robison finished the race for the Pirates at 27:42, taking 26th place.
The girls earned 71 points, which placed them fourth overall, just five points behind Virgin Valley. SECTA and Boulder City took the first two slots with scores of 27 and 57.
In the Varsity B Boys’ race, Arbor View’s Reznor Weist set the course at 17:37. Zachary Anderson placed 32nd for the Pirates at 18:57, beating Green Valley competitor Allen Rios by a single second. Close behind was Nathan Waite, who placed 35th with his time of 19:01. Garrett German took 52nd place at 19:21, after which Max Shambaugh placed 64th at 19:35. Four seconds later, Gabriel Leavitt finished in 74th place. Taylor Landini crossed the finish line at 21:09, placing 152nd. The boys B team placed seventh overall.
Centennial’s Cheyenne Jones set the course for the Varsity B Girls’ race with her time of 21:08. Isabella Bustillos led Moapa Valley with a time of 25:38, an improvement of more than five minutes on her previous 5k record. Bustillos placed 51st. Not far behind was Laura Adams, who placed 53rd at 25:48, after which Annabel Lounsbury took 59th place with her time of 25:58. Haley Bush and Gabrielle Shiozawa placed 86th at 27:51 and 88th at 28:21, respectively. Kayli Thompson finished the race at 30:54, placing 108th.
The girls placed eighth overall. Centennial, Arbor View, and Coronado took the top three spots in the event.
“I never actually thought I’d make it,” commented freshman runner Isabella Bustillos, whose time on Saturday qualified her for a spot at regionals. “But now that I am, I’m overjoyed! I’m really excited and I can’t wait for the next three years!”
MVHS Cross Country will carry Saturday’s momentum into the Southern Regional Championship this Friday. The rigorous competition will feature the top seven runners from each team and will be held at Veterans Memorial Park in Boulder City.