Kingman coach Ann Bathauer said Saturday's Kingman Invitational prep cross country meet confirmed her expectations of a stronger girls team and a young boys team that will show its potential this season.
The Bulldogs won both team titles Saturday, and though the boys' victory wasn't a surprise, the runner who led the squad was, Bathauer said.
"To have a freshman finish as our No.
1 runner is surprising," she said of Matt Snay, who ran the 3.2-mile Slaughterhouse Canyon Course is 19 minutes, 25 seconds, taking second place.
"He's learning," said Bathauer – a point on which the race's winner, senior Maurice Jones (19:22) of Yuma-Kofa, provided insight.
Jones said he let Snay get ahead of him but then sprinted back into the lead as the two headed slightly uphill toward the finish line.
While Jones appeared to cruise, Snay looked frustrated, which he later said he was.
"I tried the hardest I could," he said.
Kris Savatgy took third (19:48), Miguel Gaytan eighth (20:17) and Ricky Kurtze ninth (20:22) to help Kingman win the team title.
The team has only one senior, Savatgy.
"Our boys program has been strong in the region," Bathauer said.
"This year's team is more of a rebuilding team."
She said she expects the squad to improve when Chris Stagner, a new runner who has trained hard in the sport, rejoins the team after recuperating from a knee injury.
"Our girls program is the strongest it's been in five years," Bathauer added.
"Pam (Erickson) is running real well with a lot more confidence."
Bathauer said Erickson, a senior who is Kingman's top runner, had a disappointing junior season after doing well as a sophomore.
Erickson took second place in the Kingman Invitational as the Bulldogs nipped Lake Havasu City for the team title.
"Morgan Thomas and Mallory Garfield taking fourth and fifth in front of Havasu's fourth and fifth runners is what put us over the edge," Bathauer said.
She also praised the victory by Samantha Biggerstaff in the junior varsity race.
"She's got potential," the coach said.
"In practice she usually doesn't go that hard."
Kingman will be host to Dobson and Goldwater high schools from the Phoenix area in a three-team meet beginning at 4 p.m.