KINGMAN - Experience can be an absolute gold mine when you take part in the toughest events. At least that's how Kingman High School cross country head coach Anne Bathauer feels about her current squad.
"They know the system. If they're upset after a race, typically it's because they didn't have the performance, they didn't have the time," said Bathauer, currently in her 21st season at the helm. "Every meet that we go to, they want to do well. Their expectation is that they're going to go out and win everything."
That experience is evident, going back to the Sept. 4 meet at Lee Williams High School. Senior Amanda Williams won the LWHS girls 5k at 23 minutes and 45 seconds. Senior Paulina Delgado finished third at 24 minutes and 48 seconds.
"At practice, Paulina doesn't always show what she has. But she's a competitor, and she really stepped into that role," Bathauer said.
Senior Patrick Webb won the LWHS boys 5k at 18 minutes and 24 seconds.
"On the boys side, Mohave [High School] was out for us," Bathauer said. "I know that Patrick's always going to be one of our top runners."
Those performances were merely a starting point.
At The Peaks Invitational in Flagstaff on Sept. 7, the KHS girls finished fourth.
"Having seven seniors that know the system, that know the expectations, makes coaching a whole lot easier," Bathauer said of the girls. "At the Flagstaff Invitational, I was really proud of the girls team's finish. Our times were really close to where we were last year at this time, so I feel like our training is right on schedule.
"The one hindrance that we've had is our afternoon practices. We've had a lot of rain and lightning. So, we haven't been able to run in the heat as much as we wanted to. I think that hurt us a little bit last weekend at Prescott."
The boys finished fifth in Flagstaff. Webb suffered a bad blister on the rear part of his foot.
"He didn't get the performance he wanted," Bathauer said.
However, juniors Brandon Kelly, Tanner Cardiff, Jesse Marquez and sophomore Kaegan Rivedal helped the cause when Webb's day didn't go as planned.
"The competition on the boys side was much more competitive than it has ever been. I was really pleased with their performances," Bathauer said.
At last Saturday's meet in Prescott, the girls finished 21st. The boys finished 21st out of 27 teams. Webb had to battle the common cold at the meet, which affected his performance.
"If one runner is off, that throws your entire team results off because it's all based on minutes, down to the number of seconds," Bathauer said. "Right now, what we're doing is we really are putting in the mileage and the speed work. Then we taper toward the end of the season, where we can get really good performances."
Kingman will lace up their running shoes today and Saturday. Today's meet will take place starting at 2 p.m. at River Valley High School. The Bulldogs will head down to Lake Havasu High School for the Mark Weston Invitational, which starts at 9 a.m. Saturday.