The 91-degree October weather was no obstacle for 458 cross country runners in the annual Kyrene Conference Cross Country Championship.
Teams from six schools battled to the end in a showcase of some of the top runners in Arizona in the sixth- through eighth-grade division.
Going by a compilation of the fastest times run this season, the Kyrene Altadeña Middle School boys were poised to win. Led by the one-two punch of Hayes Dush and Jay Iannone in third and fourth, they pulled it off.
With a low score of 43 points, Altadeña pushed the Kyrene Aprende Middle School boys to second place, with Kyrene Centennial Middle School on their heels in third. Graham Eversden of Aprende earned some major points for the team, blazing through the boys race in 8:12 for 1.5 miles, with Centennial’s Aksel Laudon in second.
The not-so-predictable part of the evening was the Kyrene Akimel-A-al Middle School girls.
After a second dual meet loss to the powerhouse Altadeña girls the previous Thursday, the Akimel-A-al girls rallied to edge out Altadeña and secure the conference title.
The combined forces of Brooklyn Christofis (third), Soraya Holley (fifth), Sevanna Hanson (seventh), Julia Bucci (ninth), Holly Hansen (11th), and Emily Maldonado (12th) took the race over in the last half mile and yielded a score of 34 points to oust long-time, undefeated champs Altadeña. Despite the team’s loss, the first girl across the line was Altadeña’s very own perennial top gun, Morgan Foster, in 8:50, fighting off Aprende’s Caroline Liddy, who stuck to her like flypaper for most of the race.