Green Valley senior runner Milton Amezcua says some pressure accompanied the No. 1 seed in the Class 4A Sunrise Regional boys cross country meet at Veterans Memorial Park in Boulder City on Friday.
Didn’t seem like it.
Amezcua ran away from the pack and finished the 3.1-mile course in 16 minutes, 46 seconds to claim the regional championship and lift the Gators to the team title with 31 points.
Omar Aguilar Espinoza of Silverado finished a distant second with a time of 17:27, and Coronado finished second in the team competition with 49 points.
“I know I could push a lot harder, I know my body can go harder,” Amezcua said. “I was kind of nervous in the morning, shaking … Seeded No. 1, I had to protect that. I knew I could have done better but it was a good race overall.”
Amezcua was the first of five Green Valley runners to finish in the top 11. Martin Nelson, Jesus Narciso, Ayden Patricelli and Cristian Kongsrud finished third, sixth, 10th and 11th, respectively.
Gators coach Bud Beam was pleased with his team’s performance and spoke highly of the seniors, who anchored Green Valley throughout the course of the season.
“This is big, and they came out big,” Beam said. “They know exactly what their job is. It’s a team sport but each individual knows they got a job. And if each individual accomplishes their job, we’re going to come out on top.”
Foothill’s Myna Buckley won the Class 4A Sunrise Regional girls race in 20:01, but Coronado’s depth helped the Cougars claim the team championship ahead of the second-place Falcons.
“We knew we were one of the better teams, we had to just put it together,” Coronado coach Mark Tondryk said. “They’re competing on the team to be one, two, three, four. That carries over to the meets.”
Claire Rawlins, Caitlin Shannon, Ellen Wise, Kylee Baird and Emma Schmid all finished in the top 11 for the Cougars, giving them a meet-best 35 points.
Buckley helped the Falcons record 62 points, but was happy with how she performed from an individual standpoint.
“Everyone was so compact trying to stay behind each other so they can draft off each other. I was thinking about doing the same thing,” said Buckley, who trains for triathlons throughout the year. “I just sprinted.”
Raquel Chavez of Basic finished second with a time of 20:24.
Contact reporter Sam Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.