Photo by Shawn Byrne.
KINGMAN – Despite returning the majority of the No. 9 cross country team in the state’s Division III, the Lee William High boys squad will rely on its depth to return to the state championship meet this season. Zach Moyd is expected to take over the lead for the boys squad with the departure of Brendon Allred and Peyton Cardiff from last year’s team. Cayden Robles, Colby Robles and Zack Tempert return to Lee’s top seven and scoring lineup.
Braden Spencer has worked tirelessly over the summer so he can join the top of the lineup, and Nick Piccinetti, Nicholas Polasky, Carlos Castaneda, Jose Castaneda and Drew Cardiff should threaten for a spot.
“We have 19 boys on the roster,” said LWHS cross country coach Joan Abraham. “That is phenomenal considering four years ago I had three at this time.”
For the Lady Volunteers, Hallie Powell and Meah Wilson are expected to push each other for the top spot. Cassie Finkbeiner, Alondra Correa, Karina Lamsus and Kendra Pease should be among the top group of runners.
“Hallie and Meah both trained with the boys over the summer,” Abraham said. “Starting the season in the full heat of the summer is rough on the new members.”
Both teams eye state for Kingman
Kingman High has a real shot at making the D-III championship race, and the Bulldogs are being told constantly of that opportunity.
“I say it every day to remind the athletes,” said KHS cross country coach Anne Bathauer. “We are in a good section and feel as though we have a legitimate shot to make it.”
Bathauer is in her 23rd season leading the Bulldogs onto the cross country trails.
“Working with cross country has brought great pleasure to my life,” Bathauer said. “Cross country athletes have to have dedication and discipline to make it through a season. To run when its 102 degrees is brutal, and to repeat that pattern daily is just plain tough.”
The Bulldogs boys team returns nearly its entire team and they’ve become stronger.
Seniors Robert Clark, Jonathon Hunt, Jesse Lopez and Jubryn Siyuja join junior Thomas Bigelow as the Bulldogs’ top runners.
“The boys are pushing each other to be better and have taken a strong leadership role with the team holding team members accountable,” Bathauer said. “We also have some newcomers who are showing great promise.”
There are 17 Lady Bulldogs on the girls roster, pushing Kingman’s total number of runners to nearly 30. Sophomore transfer from New Mexico Holly Tsosie, sophomore Julia Ostberg and junior Taylor Tanner are newcomers who should be in the top seven. Returning junior Celine Lucero-White, junior Leann Linzell and senior Kyla Silas are also expected to lead the Lady Bulldogs.
“When you have 17, you have some healthy competition,” Bathauer said. “Everyone is showing up and working hard to improve.”
KAHS numbers grow
Kingman Academy has a total of 13 runners that will be on the cross country course. KAHS coach Robert Skankey is not only happy with the surge in participants, but he’s excited with the Tigers’ talent.
The Lady Tigers are anchored by returners Angela Burr, Serena Parker, Serena Kregler and Reagan Delaney. Tatianna Welch and Kali Lewis are newcomers to the Tigers.
The boys team is led by Sam Skankey and Grant Stryker. Returners Andrew Mickelson, Jacob Appleby and Nathan Zorn return with significant improvements from a year ago.
The Tigers have two new runners on the squad, Jacob Glover and Sterling Selana.
Kingman Academy runs in Division IV and the Tigers need to finish in the top 11 to advance to state.
In all divisions, a runner in the top 25 but not on a team that qualifies for state will be invited.