Maricopa High harriers compete at regionals


The biggest challenge for Maricopa High head cross country coach Duane Anderson heading into the season was fielding a full team.

That challenge proved to be true for much of the campaign, yet the Rams still put their best foot forward this fall. “We did not have full teams for most meets,” Anderson said.

At last weekend’s regional championships, Maricopa had several runners shine. Anyone finishing in the Top 15 qualified for the state competition.

On the girls’ side, Maricopa only had three members running. Alyssa Joaquin finished 10th and earned second team all-region. “She has run extremely well this season and has placed in most meets against 2-3A schools,” Anderson noted.

Carisa Fletcher finished 22nd at the regionials and Kathleen Hammons placed 33rd.

On the boys’ side, the Rams were able to have a full team at the regional meet.

Santino Smith won the meet in a time of 17:52 seconds on the 3.1 mile course. Gary Webb finished in 19th place, while Taylor Martin fell during the race but still finished in 27th place. Frank Acuna was 32rd, Nate Campbell was 36th and Justin Ballatin finished in 39th place.

The top four teams qualified for states, with Maricopa placing fifth. Maricopa finished with 115 points, with Fountain Hills winning the crown with a score of 24.

While this season was challenging, the addition of more runners in the off-season will bode well for the Rams.

According to Anderson, if all the boys and girls who can return next season do, there will be six boys and three girls racing for the Rams.

Photo by Katie Winkley