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Southwest Regional
November 22, 2008 at Kiwanis Park, Tempe AZ
Colorado - Utah - New Mexico - Arizona - Nevada - Wyoming
Two teams and five individuals qualify for NXN national finals December 6, 2008 at Portland OR

Predictions - State Champions

New Mexico titans will battle to the last man again
Albuquerque Academy beat Los Alamos on a 6th man tie breaker last year;
they are ranked 1-3 in the region this year and are joined in the top rank by NM 5A champ Cibola.
11 state champion teams and 14 state champion individuals will try to qualify for national finals

by Cheyne Heiny

TEMPE AZ 11/20/08 -- Every runner counts. Time and time again this slogan is proven in Cross Country. It is this reason that Nike created a race for the nation’s elite teams to race head-to-head on one course.
    Nike Cross Nationals (NXN) was a giant step in the right direction for high school cross country. But there was still something missing. Having a committee select teams for the national meet contradicted the slogan. The missing ingredient was simple: Regional Championships for teams to run head-to-head for the chance to run at nationals. Last year was the inaugural season for Regionals, and it proved that every runner does count.

    The perennial top two boys teams in the Southwest, Albuquerque Academy NM and Los Alamos NM, knew each other very well. Throughout the 2007 season, the Chargers and Hilltoppers fought through five different battles, with Los Alamos defeating Academy at the New Mexico State Championships. The sixth battle here was the closest one yet. In fact, a race couldn’t be any closer, as the two New Mexico rivals tied with 93 points through five runners. Academy’s sixth man, Damon Campbell, beat out Los Alamos'  sixth by 25 points to give the Chargers the title, putting a resounding emphasis on the slogan: Every Runner Counts.

    Last year, Southwest's four qualifying teams all placed in the top 10 in the national finals, and they are among the top favorites to return to Portland again this year.  In the boys race, Los Alamos was 2nd at nationals last year and is ranked 3rd in the Southwest this year.  Albuquerque Academy was 3rd at nationals and is SW#1 this year.  In the girls race, Fort Collins CO was 7th at nationals last year and is ranked SW#2 this year.  Davis UT was 9th at nationals last year and is SW#3 this year.  These four are joined by two new contenders to qualify for nationals -- SW#2 Cibola Albuquerque NM boys and SW#1 Classical Academy Colorado Springs CO girls. 

   Sixteen of the 20 boys and girls teams ranked in the top 10 in the Southwest are here, including 11 state champion teams. 

Boys - a New Mexico story

    Elite teams have come and gone. Wheat Ridge was ranked in the pre-season polls but has merely been a bubble team since. Galena’s outstanding showing last season was followed by a year where the team failed to qualify for the Nevada State Championships.  But for the top two teams, the song remains the same. US#4 SW#1 Albuquerque Academy defeated US#15 SW#3 Los Alamos, 31-34 in the New Mexico 4A State Championships to avenge last season’s loss.

    The story of the year, however, could very well belong to US #21, SW #2 Cibola. An afterthought for most of the season, Cibola proved they’re a force to be reckoned with, dominating the 5A field in New Mexico, and narrowly defeating the Chargers of Academy in the combined results.

Girls - Fort Collins and Davis are better than last year, but Classical dominated Colorado state meet

    On the girls side, the pressure is on US #13 SW #2 Fort Collins and SW #3 Davis to defend their territory and punch a ticket to Portland Meadows for the second consecutive year.  It’s not like either team has lost much ground in the past year. In fact, most critics think both teams have improved. Fort Collins was finally able to win the CO 5A State Title that has eluded them for so long, and Davis’ performance in Utah’s State Championships produced a faster average for the Darts than last season.

    The problem for Fort Collins and Davis is that the rest of the Southwest has improved immensely, especially US #7, SW #1 Classical Academy.  Led by Kaitlin Hanenburg, the Titans created a lot of noise with their dominating performance in the Colorado 4A State Championships. The Titans ended up with six runners under 19 minutes and had an average time of 18:29, 49 seconds ahead of Ft Collins’ average time. 

Individuals qualify also this year

    The second year of regionals brings a change -- an individual championship as well as teams. The top five Southwest individuals not on a qualifying team will also earn a spot on the starting line at Portland Meadows.


Boys TeamsBoys Individuals
 On the Starting Line:
The top 4 teams set to punch their ticket to Portland Meadows

1)    Cibola (NM) US #21, SW #2 – Cibola edged Albuquerque Academy in the New Mexico combined State results and is set to pull off another upset.
2)    Albuquerque Academy (NM) US #4, SW #1 – The Chargers’ depth will carry them to another NXN berth.
3)    Rio Rico (AZ) SW #5 – Consistently strong in Arizona all season, Rio Rico upsets Los Alamos for 3rd spot.
4)    Los Alamos (NM) US #15, SW #3 – Hilltoppers hang on for 4th spot, the final spot for At-Large recognition.

Best of the Rest:
Rounding out the Top 10 for NXN SW

5)    Timpview (UT) SW #7 – After disastrous race last season, Jonathan Nelson should lead Timpview to a top 5 finish.
6)    Sandia (NM) SW #6 – Unable to catch New Mexico’s big three, but hang on for a solid 6th place performance.
7)    American Fork (UT) SW #8 – American Fork betters their rank by one, bowing out to Sandia by a few points.
8)    Falcon (CO) SW Bubble – The Falcons top 2 (Wes Rickman and Kevin Johnson) set the tone for a top 10 finish.
9)    Mingus Union (AZ) SW #10 – Tim Freriks leads Mingus to the top 10, just ahead of Desert Vista.
10)    Desert Vista (AZ) SW BT – The Thunder find themselves back in the top 10 after last year’s sub-par performance.

 Oregon Bound:
Top individuals set to qualify for NXN

1)    Bryce Palmer (Eldorado) – Ranked 19th on SteveU’s Top 25. 5A New Mexico State Champion.
2)    Kevin Palmer (Eldorado) – 5A New Mexico State runner-up. 3 seconds behind brother Bryce (15:07-15:10)
3)    Tim Freriks (Mingus Union) – Second best time at Arizona State, 5 seconds behind Brian Shrader.
4)    Kyle Pittman (Los Alamos) – 4A New Mexico State Champ. 12 seconds behind Bryce Palmer.
5)    Wes Rickman (Falcon) – 4A Colorado State runner-up to Joe Manilafasha, ranked #1 in the nation.
6)    Gareth Gilna (Los Alamos) – 4A NM runner-up, 12 seconds behind teammate Pittman.
7)    Jonathan Nelson (Timpview) – Ranked 23rd on SteveU’s Top 25. 4A Utah State Champ, fastest overall time by 18 seconds.

Best of the Rest:
Harriers most likely to unseat the favorites

8)    Vincent Montoya (Cibola) – Underrated runner 4th fastest in New Mexico, behind Pittman by 7 seconds.
9)    Kevin Johnson (Falcon) – 3rd place in Colorado 4A, 3 seconds behind teammate Rickman.
10)    Sherod Hardt (Queen Creek) – 3rd fastest in Arizona. Consistently competes with Freriks and Shrader.
11)    Dart Schwaderer (Wheat Ridge) – 4th place in Colorado 4A, 7 seconds behind Johnson.
12)    Scott Fauble (Wheat Ridge) – Lost to teammate Schwaderer by 3-tenths of a second.
13)    Wade Meddles (Sierra Lutheran) – Fastest overall time in Nevada State, 9 seconds ahead of nationally ranked Bryan Tibaduiza.
14)    Dominick Robinson (Campbell County) – Dominant State Champ in Wyoming with a 16:14.
15)    Christian Meyer (Sandia) – Top five finish in New Mexico 5A State, only 5 seconds behind Gilna.
16)    Seth Gutzwiller (Davis) – 4th best finish overall in Utah State, less than 20 seconds behind nationally ranked Nelson.
17)    Jacob Barton (Ogden) – Utah 3A State Champ, one second ahead of Gutzwiller, second fastest overall.
18)    Jose Munoz (Rio Rico) – Finished 12 seconds behind Hardt in Arizona State. 4th fastest overall.
19)    Pat Zacharias (Albuquerque Academy) – 3rd place in New Mexico 4A State, 30 seconds behind Pittman.
20)    Neil Longenbaugh (Albuquerque Academy) – 4th place in New Mexico 4A State, 7 seconds behind teammate Zacharias.

 Girls Teams
Girls Individuals
On the Starting Line:
The top 4 teams set to punch their ticket to Portland Meadows

1) The Classical Academy (CO) US #7, SW #1 - The Titans proved their dominance with a resounding win in 3A Colorado State.
2) Fort Collins (CO) US #13, SW #2 - Deep team should qualify for NXN for second consecutive year.
3) Davis (UT) SW #3 - The Darts will push Ft Collins to the brink with a healthy Candace Eddy.
4) Park City (UT) SW #5 - Finished right behind Davis in combined Utah State results, and just miss the upset again.

Best of the Rest:
Rounding out the top 10

5) Mountain Crest (UT) SW #4 - Keeps Utah powers in sight but unable to defeat either team.
6) Highlands Ranch (CO) SW #9 - Betters SW Ranking by 3 spots thanks in large part to top 2 runners (Eleanor Fulton and Kristen Kientz)
7) Rio Rancho (NM) SW #6 - Top New Mexico team unable to keep up with Utah and Colorado's best.
8) Thompson Valley (CO) SW Bubble - Eagles find a way into the top ten mix again with a strong performance by the Tremblay sisters.
9) Sandra Day O'Connor (AZ) SW #8 - O'Connor squeaks into the top 10, barely edging out Dakota Ridge.
10) Dakota Ridge (CO) SW BT - Natosha Rogers and Paige Lillo are a strong punch for a shorthanded team.

 Oregon Bound:
Top runners set to qualify for NXN

1) Danielle Menlove UT (Jordan) - Freshman phenom adds another trophy to the hardware collection, beats Hanenburg by 15 seconds.
2) Kaitlin Hanenburg CO (The Classical Academy) - Hanenburg bows out to undefeated season, but leads the Titans to the team victory.
3) Jessica Tonn AZ (Xavier Prep) - Arizona star finishes right behind Hanenburg, qualifies for NXN with ease.
4) Clara Milne NM (Albuquerque Academy) - Fastest overall time in New Mexico State, joins Academy boys teammates at NXN.
5) Miranda Benzel CO (Ft Collins) - Senior captain leads the Lambkins to back-to-back NXN appearances.
6) Meghan Hedquist UT (Davis) - Top 5 overall finish at Utah State sneaks into an individual qualification.
7) Julia Foster NM (Albuquerque Academy) - Foster joins Milne as the only girls from New Mexico to qualify for NXN.

Best of the Rest:
Harriers most likely to unseat favorites

8) Candace Eddy UT (Davis) - Utah star defeats season-long injuries, helps Davis finish 3rd overall.
9) Natosha Rogers CO (Dakota Ridge) - Sub-par performance at Colorado State fuels top 10 finish.
10) Laura Tremblay CO (Thompson Valley) - Tremblay sneaks into the top 10 with a battle to the finish with Rogers.

State Champions

Arizona (Ind.) - Alberto Tellez (Camelback) 4A-I
Arizona (Team) – Catalina Foothills (4A-I), Rio Rico (4A-II), Desert Vista (5A-I)

Nevada (Ind.) - Wade Meddles (Sierra Lutheran) 2A
Nevada (Team) – Sierra Lutheran (2A)

New Mexico (Ind.) - Dustin Walthall (Thoreau) 3A, Kyle Pittman (Los Alamos) 4A, Bryce Palmer (Eldorado) 5A
New Mexico (Team) – Albuquerque Academy (4A), Cibola (5A)

Wyoming (Ind.) - Dominick Robinson (Campbell County) 4A, Caleb Her Many Horses (Wyoming Indian) 2A
Wyoming (Team) – Campbell County (4A)

Colorado (Ind.) - None
Colorado (Team) – The Classical Academy (3A), Falcon (4A)

Utah (Ind.) - Jonathan Nelson (Timpview) 4A, Jacob Barton (Ogden)
Utah (Team) – Park City (3A), Timpview (4A)

Arizona (Ind.) - Aeoleone Bristol (Rio Rico) 4A-II, Rolonda Jumbo (Chinle) 3A, Jessica Tonn (Xavier Prep) 4A-I
Arizona (Team) – Sandra Day O’Connor (4A-I), Flagstaff (4A-II), Ironwood Ridge (5A-II)

Nevada (Ind.) - None
Nevada (Team) - None
New Mexico (Ind.) - Clara Milne (Albuquerque Academy) 4A, Kate Norskog (St Michaels) 3A
New Mexico (Team) – Albuquerque Academy (4A), Rio Rancho (5A)

Wyoming (Ind.) - None
Wyoming (Team) – Cheyenne Central (4A)

Colorado (Ind.) - Kaitlin Hanenburg (The Classical Academy) 3A
Colorado (Team) – The Classical Academy (3A), Thompson Valley (4A), Fort Collins (5A)

Utah (Ind.) - Sarah Callister (Ogden) 3A, Macinzie O’Very (Mtn Crest) 4A, Danielle Menlove (Jordan) 5A
Utah (Team) – Park City (3A), Mountain Crest (4A), Davis (5A)