The Maricopa High School cross country team is gearing up for the Desert Twilight in Casa Grande on Friday.
“This week is very important,” head coach Heather Abel said.
As the team comes off its only home meet of the season, Abel is expecting several runners to turn in personal records (PR) because of the high level of competition. Her runners agree.
“Friday’s a big, big meet,” said junior Alec Kramarczyk, who has become the boys’ team leader this year. “Twilight’s going to be awesome. I’m getting closer and closer to my PR just about every race. I think this is the one where I break it.”
Kramarcyzk posted that personal best of 17.47 late last year. He has been in the low 18s this season. He finished third in Wednesday’s meet at Copper Sky. Desert Twilight is at Grande Sports World.
Abel said this has been a rebuilding season for the Rams. While she thinks up to three of the girls could make it to the state meet, the boys need to improve overall to catch up with Kramarczyk let alone qualify for state. The boys’ team competed at state the last two seasons.
“We lost a few good runners this year and we’ve got a whole bunch of new ones, so we’re just training them right now,” senior Chet Carroll said.
This year, the girls are improving though still gelling as a team. Abel said sophomore Evelyn Corliss and seniors Megan Carr and Alondra Borbolla Gonzalez could compete at the state level.
The girls’ race at home Wednesday against Coronado and Mesquite went awry, with at least five competitors taking a wrong turn and cutting several meters off their route. The boys’ race was much smoother.
“It’s a tough course but it’s nice and flat, so it’s a nice change of pace compared to some of the hills we’ve been doing,” said Kramarcyzk, who finished third Wednesday.
Carroll ran his fastest so far this season in Apache Junction. “It was more running through the creek bed. it’s just mostly sand all the way,” he said. “That course I really PR’d on because I wasn’t focusing on me running; I was focusing more on the path. It was more of just a mental sport.”
He has been in the low 20s, and hopes to get into the 19s at the Desert Twilight.