2014 Boys Cross Country Capsules


Head coach: Don Giardina, second season

Returning lettermen: One

Top athletes: Ben Elharrar (Fr.), Cutty Zanghi (Jr.)

Outlook: The Lions are fielding a full team for the first time in the school’s brief history.

Elharrar was the private middle school champion last year, and the Lions hope he’ll step in and perform as well at the high school level.

“Our goal this season is to keep everyone healthy and win the Division III Southern Regional,” Giardina said.


Head coach: Tyrel Cooper

Returning lettermen: Two

Top athletes: Will Teel (Jr.), Tim Myers (So.)

Outlook: The Aggies graduated five of their top seven runners, including a pair of state qualifiers.

Teel finished 22nd, and Myers took 23rd in the Sunset Region meet last year.

“They are our top two runners, and both of them had great summers and should see big improvements this season,” Cooper said. “We will really be counting on some kids to step up this season.

“As a team, we always want to qualify into the state meet, but we are in a tough region with Centennial, Palo Verde, Gorman, Desert Oasis and Shadow Ridge. I still expect us to finish in the top five this season. Tim and Will should compete for individual trips to state if the team doesn’t make it in.

“We have some kids that are really training hard this summer, and if they can stay healthy, we should have a solid 5-6 kids this season.”


Head coach: Bruce Eubank, sixth season

Outlook: The Bengals are hoping to improve throughout the season.


Head coach: Freddie Thompson, 11th season

Top athletes: Joseph Spendlove (Sr.), Daniel Contreras (Sr.)

Outlook: The Pioneers are hoping to be more competitive this season.

“We’re looking to add more runners and improve,” Thompson said.


Head coach: Scott Thrasher, 13th season

Returning lettermen: One

Top athletes: Marcus Vellinga (Jr.)

Outlook: Vellinga is the lone returnee for the Desert Shields and finished 28th in last year’s Division I-A Southern Region meet.

“Marcus will be setting his sights on trying to be a state qualifier individually,” Thrasher said. “The team is looking to improve due to strong freshman additions.”


Head coach: Jillian Sesto, first season

Returning lettermen: Five

Top athletes: Flimon Fre (Sr.), Yoseph Siferaw (Jr.), Charles Bennion (Sr.)

Outlook: The Chargers return five runners and hope to be competitive in the Southern Region.


Head coach: Mark Tondryk, ninth season

Top athletes: Xavier Cummins (Jr.), Sterling Saltz (Sr.), Zach Kaufman (Sr.), Jake Kaufman (Sr.), Ryan Liebig (Jr.), Nathan Cromwell (So.), Branden Ramirez (Sr.), Brian Wolford (Jr.)

Outlook: The Cougars welcome back five runners who placed in the top 30 in last year’s Sunrise Region meet in Cummins (sixth), Saltz (seventh), Zach Kaufman (17th), Liebig (27th) and Jake Kaufman (28th).

“Most of the entire boys team is back from last year, so we will be up near the top of the region,” Tondryk said. “We lost our top runner to transfer, so that will hurt us a bit, but hopefully our team makes up the difference with a lot of depth.

“We should be near the top three in the region and contend for a spot in the state meet.”


Head coach: Michael Buscio, second season

Top athletes: Omar Rubio (So.), Stuart Hall (So.)

Outlook: Rubio placed third in the Sunrise Region freshmen/sophomore meet last year, and along with Hall, will lead a young squad.


Head coach: Jim Dinkel, seventh season

Returning lettermen: Four

Top athletes: Thomas Ness (Sr.), Zach Wood (Jr.), Elliott Trask (So.)

Outlook: The Diamondbacks finished second in the Southwest League last year and return four lettermen.

“The boys team suffered big graduation losses with three of the top four runners graduating, but are looking for strong leadership from senior Thomas Ness and newcomer Zach Wood,” Dinkel said.


Head coach: Jim Holben, 15th season

Top athletes: Marlon Medina (Sr.), Yoseph Theodros (So.), Felmon Mesgun (Sr.), Daniel Caswell (Sr.), Cory Conner (Sr.), Omar Campos (Jr.), Brian Shaffer (Jr.), Ethan Shaffer (So.)

Outlook: The Trailblazers are hoping to show continued improvement this season.

“The Blazers had good summer training and are looking to contend for a spot to state,” Holben said. “I’m expect all runners to (personal record) from one minute to two minutes this year.”


Head coach: Josh Wertheimer, seventh season

Top athletes: Josh Ririe (Sr.), Markos Valerio (Jr.), Francisco Gonzalez (Jr.), Martin Swapp (So.), Anthony Painter (So.)

Outlook: The Sundevils are hoping to improve and compete throughout the season.

“We are pretty young and very thin,” Wertheimer said. “Hopefully we will stay healthy and continue to improve throughout the season.”


Head coach: Jeff Edwards, fifth season

Top athletes: Chase Wood (Jr.), Austin Hunt (Sr.)

Outlook: Wood finished third and Hunt 15th in last year’s Division I-A state meet.

Edwards believes Wood could win the state title this year and said Hunt could be a top-five finisher in the state meet.

“The team has a possibility of four seniors running on varsity who want to win a region and state title,” Edwards said.


Head coach: Tim Simonis, ninth season

Returning lettermen: Six

Top athletes: Andrew Babakitis (Jr.), Mikael Gamett (So.), Kolten Anderson (Sr.), Chris Ayala (Jr.), Logan Poinier (So.), Mitchell Anderson (Jr.)

Outlook: The Falcons return six runners who finished in the top 43 in last year’s Sunrise Region meet.

The team is hoping to improve on a fifth-place finish in last year’s region meet.


Head coach: Blaine Thompson, 12th season

Returning lettermen: 10

Top athletes: Austin Rogers (Jr.), Lenny Rubi (So.), Robert Lovelady (Sr.), Ben Stock (Sr.), Nick Lamb (Sr.), Jake Braverman (Jr.), Dartanyon Jones (So.), Mitch Vereen (So.)

Outlook: The Gators are primed for a big year as they bring back their entire top 10 from last season.

Rogers finished third and Rubi fourth in last year’s Sunrise Region meet. They’re the top two returnees from that meet.

“We want to win the Sunrise Region championship and contend for the state championship,” Thompson said.


Head coach: David Richards, second season

Top athletes: Miguel Ramirez (Jr.), Fernando Ortega-Dominguez (So.), William Mike Wells (Sr.), Carlos Vega (Sr.), Jason Zafra (Jr.), Caleb Tonda (Sr.)

Outlook: The Wildcats advanced to the state meet last season and are hoping for more success this year.

“We want to get back to state and improve on last year’s performance and to finish as one of the top teams at regionals,” Richards said.


Head coach: Pam Schultz, third season

Returning lettermen: Four

Top athletes: Chuckie Custer (Sr.), Matthew Johns (Jr.), Kai Perkins (Jr.), Corbin Gillespie (So.), Eduardo Soto (So.)

Outlook: Custer qualified for the state meet last year and leads a list of four returnees.

“This team has a real shot at making the third team position to qualify for state,” Schultz said. “Last year Chuckie had the flu days before state, so he wasn’t able to perform as well as he would like. This year, he hopes to make a better showing.”


Head coach: Charles Bernick, 11th season

Returning lettermen: Six

Top athletes: Jimmy Hood (So.)

Outlook: The Mustangs bring back six of their top seven runners from last year, when the team narrowly missed advancing to the state meet.

Hood was a state qualifier in the 3,200 in track last spring.

“Though still composed primarily of freshmen and sophomores, the team hopes to compete for a spot in this year’s state championship,” Bernick said.


Head coach: James Yamka, third season

Returning lettermen: Two

Top athletes: Adrian Moreno (So.), Johnny Rodriguez (Jr.)

Outlook: The Rattlers have high expectations for the season.

“The men’s cross country program at Mojave is expected to have its best season in years,” Yamka said. “New runners Carlos Barrios and Enrique Jimenez are coming off strong track seasons with school records in the distance events.

“Freshmen Dominic Mota and Dustin Sims will finish off the new and strong Mojave Rattlers pack.”


Head coach: Nick Meis, third season

Returning lettermen: Eight

Top athletes: Noah Landers (Jr.), Andrew Goldsmith (Sr.), Connor Jones (Sr.), Christian Castellanos (Sr.), Nick Vasknetz (Jr.), Josh Hosea (So.), Alex Yee (Jr.), Daniel Ziems (So.), Carlos Garcia (Jr.), Nathaniel White (Jr.), Ben Edwards (So.)

Outlook: The Panthers return eight lettermen from a squad that finished fifth in last year’s state meet.

“The boys had a very good summer and are looking forward to a successful season,” Meis said. “The boys have set team goals of placing in the top two at regionals and improving on their fifth-place finish at state.”


Head coach: Andrew Flynn, second season

Top athletes: Ricardo Ordaz (Sr.), Jacob Goldsborough (Jr.), Jake Niswonger (Jr.), Josh Ballard (Jr.), Johnathon Blaine (Jr.)

Outlook: The Mustangs bring back five runners who ran in last year’s state meet.

“Shadow Ridge has been working hard all summer to make this season a memorable one for our senior captains,” Flynn said.


Head coach: Brian Whitaker, 21st season

Returning lettermen: 11

Top athletes: Asimwe Oben (Sr.), Vinny Butera (Sr.), Roderick Pope (Sr.), James Skelly (Jr.)

Outlook: Oben qualified for the state meet last year and is one of 11 returning lettermen.

“Numbers are higher than they have been in recent years,” Whitaker said. “With the increased interest come high expectations. The team expects to challenge for one of the Sunrise Region spots in the state championship race.”


Head coach: Cathy Meyer, first season

Returning lettermen: Four

Top athletes: Garrett Meyer (Sr.), Davian Parks (Sr.)

Outlook: Meyer finished fifth and Parks 30th in last year’s Division I-A state meet. They return to lead a squad that has four returnees.

“We lost three very good runners to graduation, but we have a larger team this year, including several talented freshmen,” said Meyer, who has coached the girls team at Tech the last two seasons and will guide both teams this year.

“We expect strong leadership and dedication from our senior leaders with team goals including winning the league and qualifying for the state meet. We expect Garrett Meyer to compete for an individual state title.”


Head coach: Mark Salzman, sixth season

Returning lettermen: Two

Top athletes: Josh Nyberg (So.)

Outlook: Nyberg narrowly missed qualifying for state last season. He’s one of two lettermen back for the Vikings, who are hoping to improve throughout the season.

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