Form held at Boulder City’s Veterans Memorial Park on Friday as the four favored Northwest League schools — Centennial, Shadow Ridge, Palo Verde and Arbor View — finished in the top four spots in both races at the Sunset Region cross country championship.
The big winner was Centennial, which won both team titles.
The Bulldogs easily won the Sunset boys race with a score of 47. Palo Verde (74) was second and Shadow Ridge (91) third.
Centennial’s girls finished with 43 points, followed by Shadow Ridge (65) and Arbor View (74).
The top three teams in each race along with the top five individuals from nonqualifying teams qualified for the state meet Nov. 8 at Veterans Memorial Park.
Centennial’s Nathan Williams made short work of his competition in the boys race, leading from the start and extending his lead throughout the race.
Williams’ time of 16 minutes, 35 seconds over the 3.1-mile course was 25 seconds better than Palo Verde’s Zack Smith, who was second.
“(I was) surprised when I looked at the clock,” Williams said. “It was the best time I’ve had all year.”
Not only was it the fastest time Williams had run on the course this year — he ran 17:16 at the Las Vegas Invitational and 17:04 at the Lake Mead Invitational — he appeared to have an easy time of it Friday, cruising from start to finish in near-perfect weather conditions.
Williams wasn’t the only Centennial boys runner to have a strong performance. Freshman Nick Hartle finished third in 17:00, coming in just behind Palo Verde’s Smith.
“Pretty darn good for a little freshman, huh?” Centennial boys coach Mike McGuire said.
Clark’s Jacob Naylor (fourth, 17:09), Spring Valley’s Ricky Barcenas (sixth, 17:26), Arbor View’s Adonis Gaines (11th, 17:47) and Greg Marschik (13th, 17:53) and Durango’s Matt Shelton (12th, 17:47) qualified for state as individuals.
The Sunset girls race was expected to be a close contest between Centennial and Shadow Ridge. That changed when Shadow Ridge’s No. 1 runner, Michelle Schenck, who had been nursing a sore knee for three weeks, was forced to drop out of the race early, and Centennial had an easy time of it.
Centennial girls coach Bill Miller called it a team effort.
“All seven ran hard,” Miller said. “It’s a seven-girl team.”
In fact, all seven Centennial girls placed in the top 20, with a time spread of only 48 seconds between their five scoring runners.
Shadow Ridge edged Arbor View for second, in what coach Pat Fitzgerald called an “incredible effort by a great bunch of girls.”
He singled out Elaina Vlassopoullos and Palolo Prince who finished sixth and seventh, respectively.
In a mild upset, the individual winner was Elisa Vazquez of Clark, who finished in 20:35, 13 seconds ahead of Arbor View’s Katie Carrell.
Vazquez was ecstatic with her win.
“I wasn’t feeling good before the race, but I kinda pushed it at the start,” Vazquez said. “That was my plan. I wanted to make it to state so bad. I kept up my pace.”
The other individual state qualifiers were Palo Verde’s Kelsi Koch (fourth, 21:07), Bishop Gorman’s Brielle Crovetti (10th, 21:45) and Maddie Levine (15th, 22:06) and Cheyenne’s Alexa Ayala (22:22).