KINGMAN - The long and arduous cross country season is all about being ready for the Oct. 29 Northwest Region meet, and Kingman High continues to gear toward the pivotal date. The boys team took fifth place and the girls were seventh at the Lake Havasu Invitational on Saturday.
Wes Anderson led the Bulldogs by running the 3.1-mile course in 17:30 for a seventh-place finish. Sophomore Jesse Peterson took 15th place and junior Dominic Tapia and freshmen Andrew Karn and Anthony Smith also scored for the Bulldogs.
"The biggest thing was that the times improved, and they ran close together as a team," KHS coach Anne Bathauer said. "These were our fastest times of the season."
A note of concern for the Bulldogs is that No. 4 runner, junior David Schmucker, missed Saturday's meet because of a nagging knee injury. "Our trainer will check his knee on Monday," Bathauer said. "If she says he needs to see a doctor, then he'll go. We're hoping he'll only be out a couple of weeks."
Smith stepped up and only 21 seconds separated KHS' three through five runners. "He ran fantastic," Bathauer said. "It's very promising when the young guys run as fast as the juniors."
The girls team could have had a higher finish, but the Bulldogs had to run without their No. 1, junior Bailey Lawson, who missed the meet for personal reasons. Senior Lucy Gaytan took over the No. 1 spot for KHS to finish 24th overall in 24:12.
Junior Tiffany Reinoso came in 32nd, but she had to overcome stomach cramps through the middle of the race. If missing Lawson and Reinoso's cramping wasn't enough hard luck for KHS, senior Stephanie Reinoso had to pull out during the race after she injured her ankle.
"It's a big difference when Bailey's not in the mix for us," Bathauer said. "Lucy Gaytan has been consistent all year and works hard at every practice. She's been getting better because of that."
Freshman Heather Paulsteiner also ran for the Bulldogs.
KHS hopes to use this week to heal some of its injuries before Saturday's Bradshaw Mountain Invitational in Prescott.