Sedona Red Rock High School’s cross country team ran in atypical conditions at the 11th annual Desert Twilight Cross Country Meet in Casa Grande on Friday, Sept. 29.
The meet brings together more than 100 teams from Arizona, California and other states for a nighttime race. The higher level of competition, along with running in cooler temperatures, helped push the Scorpions runners to personal bests across the board.
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“I think they enjoyed it a lot,” Red Rock first-year coach Wyatt Stevenson said. “They all PR’d, they all did better than they thought they’d do.”
Senior Nathan Hoyer was the top Scorpion, finishing in a lifetime-best 17:12 to finish 51st overall in the 5,000 meter small schools race.
But because of unknown circumstances, only Hoyer’s time was posted online after the competition, and other times were still not available at press time.
The team raced for the final time before the sectional race on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at the Northwest Christian Invite at Thunderbird Paseo Park in Glendale.
Results from that race were not readily available before press time, either.
Going three weeks without competing in a meet was a calculated decision by Stevenson. Since the team began practicing two weeks later than other teams, he wants to focus the athletes on themselves to best prepare for the regional meet.
“They are all in a really good position to get where their goals are set,” Stevenson said. “They can do it now it’s time to teach them to grab it, because they can grab it.”
To qualify for the Arizona Interscholastic Association state meet as a team, there must be five runners for both the boys and girls. There are now just four girls, so they are left to qualifying as individual runners. Only the top 25 finishers from the sectional meet will make it to the state meet.
The goal for the boys is to make it as a team; the top 50 percent of the teams from each section qualify. Individual qualification is the backup plan.
Red Rock competes in Division IV, Section III, and the sectional meet is on Oct. 27 at Hidden Valley Golf Course in Holbrook.