Both cross country teams at Kingman High will look to improve at Saturday's Arizona Interscholastic Association's Class 5A-II State Meet in Cave Creek after the Bulldogs fell short of their goals at the Northwest Region meet on Nov. 1 in Phoenix.
The boys team finished third at region, just three points behind second-place Glendale Deer Valley. Anthem Boulder Creek dominated the race with five runners finishing in the top 7 to win the region championship.
Senior Wes Anderson finished fifth for KHS in 18:25 and was followed by Jesse Peterson (9), Anthony Smith (20), Dominic Tapia (21) and Kevin Laird (23).
"To have a chance to win, we had to run really great," KHS coach Anne Bathauer said. "We didn't run in the order I expected."
Freshman Andrew Karn had been the Bulldogs' No. 4 runner, but he finished 35th overall and seventh for KHS. "Although we didn't finish where we wanted, we learned from the performance," Bathauer said. "They've turned it into a focus for what we need to do at state."
The girls squad finished fourth at the meet, one place behind their goal. The Bulldogs were edged out by Surprise Valley Vista by one point for the spot.
Freshman Heather Paulsteiner led the way for the Bulldogs, taking 16th in 24:16, and it was Lucy Gaytan (17), Tiffany Reinoso (19), Isabel Nava (20) and Jennie Rodriguez (30) rounding out the scoring for KHS.
No doubt the main reason for the Bulldogs' fourth-place finish was the absence of Bailey Lawson from the scoring summary. Lawson, along with two runners from Surprise Willow Canyon, got lost on the course and ran an extra mile.
Bathauer was pleased with Paulsteiner and Gaytan running together during the race and Reinoso coming up from the back of the pack to score points for KHS.
Both teams have the goal of improving over last year's finish at the state meet. The boys finished 12th and the girls 13th in 2007. "The boys have been working hard this week," Bathauer said. "They were not happy with region and now know what they have to do to do better."
Bathauer said she would be eyeing the individual times of the girls more so than the team result. "Hopefully, the girls will run hard," Bathauer said. "It all depends on how the girls race."