Cross country: Girls qualify for state, boys get in one

It has been an interesting, and successful, season for the Yuma High School cross country teams.

The Indians have done very well while navigating through the 2020 COVID-impacted shortened season. It included two weeks in which the runners could not practice together as the majority of YHS students were on quarantine
They all got together for just one main practice last week before competing in the Wiggins Invitational.
Next up was the Class 3A Region 1 Meet at Lyons High School on October 8.
The girls qualified for the first time ever as a team, placing third. The boys missed qualifying as a team, but sophomore Javier Duran earned one of the individual spots.
All the schools were be able to bring their full squads to regional.
That is notable because initially that was not going to be the case.
CHSAA had set up a voting site online for coaches to select which 12 teams would best represent at regional. On the girls’ side it was not an issue as there are 11 schools in regional. It was on the boys’ side, though, as there are 15 teams. The bottom three would get to send just two or three runners, instead of five plus an alternate, in order to meet the restrictions on the number of runners.
However, after all that, CHSAA announced changes Monday allowing all schools to bring a full team.
“That’s par for the course for the year, right?” Zahller said. “I’m glad because every kid should have a chance to run in that last race of the year.”
The Yuma teams never were in danger of not sending their full squad. The top four teams at regional qualify for state, and the girls and boys teams both are in the running for those spots. The remaining state berths will be filled by the next top five individuals.
“I’m confident we can do that in both,” Zahller said of finishing in the top four. “It’s not so much a pressure thing, but having the ability to do it, and we do.”
It will not be easy, though, as Region 1 is loaded. Zahller said the state champions will come out of that regional, with Heritage Christian, Peyton, Wiggins (boys side) and Lyons among the top contenders, along with the Yuma squads.
“We are going to be hard to contend with in both the boys and girls side,” Zahller said. “We’re in a good position.”
Yuma had a decent showing at the Wiggins Invitational, last Saturday morning. The meet also served as the LPAA Championships as Yuma, Wray and Wiggins fielded full teams.

The Yuma boys team takes off at the start of the Wiggins Invitational, last Saturday morning. (Dave Gustafson)

The Indians had the one full practice last Thursday, after working out individually for two weeks, and then a warm-up practice on Friday.
The girls finished fourth overall, and second to Wray in the LPAA portion, with 76 points. Denver North won the girls title with 44 points, Wray second with 53, Peyton third with 71, and behind Yuma were Pomona with 124, Wiggins 137 and Byers 146.
Yuma’s Lea Richardson, Ashley Ibanez, Shelby Blach, Hailey Eyring and Samantha Wells take off at the start of their wave at the Wiggins Invitational, last Saturday morning. (Dave Gustafson)
Senior Shelby Blach led the way for the Tribe, placing sixth with a time of 21 minutes, 32.6 seconds. Freshman Ashley Ibanez was right behind her in seventh in 21:40.2. Hailey Eyring was 15th as the sophomore finished in 22:21.7, sophomore Lea Richardson 26th in 23:30.2, junior Meidi Reyes 37th in 24:38, junior Samantha Wells 43rd in 25:40.3, and sophomore Nuvia Vega 49th in 26:37.
Yuma’s boys finished third overall, and were second to Wiggins in the LPAA scoring. Peyton won the team title with 34 points, Wiggins second with 45, Yuma third with 78, Denver North fourth with 108, Byers fifth with 124, Pomona also had 124, Heritage Christian seventh with 144, and Wray eighth with 183.
Peyton and Wiggins dominated the top places, with sophomore Javier Duran leading Yuma by placing eighth in 18:10.3. Freshman Angel Escobar was 10th in 18:16, senior Braden Smith 11th in 18:17.2, junior Jaxson Lungwitz 23rd in 19:14.7, sophomore Jesus Ross 29th in 19:53.7, and junior Yahir Trejo 43rd in 21:52.4.