KINGMAN - After setting the team's foundation in the season's first meet, the Kingman High cross country squads will look to take a positive step at the Ray Wherley Invitational at 9:45 a.m. Saturday in Prescott.
The Bulldogs started the season in Flagstaff at the Peaks Invitational on Sept. 6. The girls team finished in ninth place out of 15 teams, and the boys took 10th out of 21.
KHS' coach Anne Bathauer was pleased the top four Bulldogs finished close together. Bailey Lawson led the Bulldogs with a 36th-place finish in 26:18. Lucy Gaytan finished 51st, Stephanie Reinoso was 55th and freshman Heather Paulsteiner came in 62nd. Isabelle Nava rounded out the Bulldogs' scoring in 97th place.
"Their times were not the fastest, but they were consistent," Bathauer said. "Our strength in the past has been running in packs, and we'll focus on that the remainder of the season."
The girls offer huge potential as Bathauer was only able to take five runners to the meet. "We'll improve with the addition of two girls," Bathauer said. "Having a top seven will give me a better clue for the season."
Bathauer was especially pleased with Gaytan's performance. "She dropped time from last year," Bathauer said. "She has really shown great improvement already early in the season."
The boys' results excited Bathauer because of freshman Andrew Karn. Though Karn ran in the separate open race, his time would have been the third fastest for KHS. "He's an inexperienced runner who has great potential to help the varsity," Bathauer said.
Senior Wes Anderson led the way for KHS with a 17th-place finish, running the 3.1-mile course in 19:34. Jesse Peterson came in 23rd, Dominic Tapia took 64th, David Schmucher was 72nd and Kevin Laird finished 86th.
"Having Wes and Jesse finish in the top 25 is a very good combination," Bathauer said. "Andrew will try to get closer to them, and it will help to have three against our region."
Anderson changed his running style for the Flagstaff meet and was satisfied with his results. "Normally in the first race, I'll run out with the lead pack," he said. "I paced myself and that helped a lot."
Anderson said he ran with John Coretti of Bullhead City Mohave until the last 400 meters of the race. "I took off and left him in the dust," Anderson said.
The Ray Wherley is a hybrid meet as each team's No. 1 runner will only race against other No. 1 runners. This format goes down the line for all of the runners. "There are a lot of medals, and it gives everyone the chance to compete with kids their own age," Bathauer said.