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BOYS REGION: Centennial sprints to sixth consecutive Sunset crown

Centennial’s boys had so dominated the Sunset Region cross country meet in recent seasons, that their team score the past three meets was less than half of the nearest competitor.

That dominance continued Friday, as the Bulldogs scored 33 points, outscoring Shadow Ridge (71) and Palo Verde (98). All three teams qualified for state.

“These guys were great,” Centennial coach Mike McGuire said. “I’m real proud of them. That’s six (region) championships in a row. Jackson (Carter) was great. He really sucked it up. And it was the best race George (Espino) has run all year. He’s back. Things couldn’t be working out better for us for next week.”

Carter (16 minutes, 48 seconds) and Dajour Braxton (16:52.0), a transfer from Louisiana, turned in the two fastest times of the day. The cold, blustery conditions over the 3.1-mile course at Veterans’ Memorial Park in Boulder City resulted in slower times in all the boys’ Division I races, which were run first.

“The wind sucked,” Carter said. “ But It was a good race. I was able to break away on the downhill (with a half mile to go). I just tried to hold my pace. It was great. The team ran great.”

The Shadow Ridge duo of Nick Oberdin (16:59.0) and David Peters (17:09.1) finished third and fourth, with Espino (17:23.5) fifth.

Also qualifying for state next Saturday at Veterans’ Memorial Park were Frankie Martinez (Desert Oasis), Sami Mesgun (Durango), Seth Wright (Cimarron-Memorial), Robert Rudd (Bonanza), and Cole Jones (Arbor View). 

On the Sunrise side, Coronado’s boys also dominated their opponents, scoring 38 points to Green Valley’s 96 and Foothill’s 105.

The Cougars placed all five scoring runners in the top 11 and all seven runners in the top 14. Alan Ekanger was the team’s top individual, placing third.

“The times weren’t that fast,” Coronado coach Mark Tondryk said. “But our seniors were ready to go. They ran well. Our spread was good, probably under a minute. Now we’ve got to do it next week.”

The individual race belonged to Eldorado’s Eddie Esquivel (17:02.0), who led all the way to beat Foothill’s Brian Marshall (17:16.2), Ekanger (17:24.3), Liberty’s Colin Schultz (17:29.3), and Basic’s Nick Pinto (17:35.7).

Esquivel, Schultz, and Pinto all go to state as individual qualifiers, along with Noal Mohamud (Rancho) and Jonathan Aman (Silverado).

The Division I-A Southern Region race and the battle for the three spots at state turned out to be closer than expected.

Tech was expected to win and it did, but barely. The Roadrunners’ No. 1 runner, Martin Ponce, led for much of the race, but took a spill at the mid point in the race and was aided to his feet by a spectator, which resulted in his disqualification.

Tech finished with 72 points, followed by Clark (74) and Boulder City (87).

“I’m amazed that they won,” Tech coach Tony Kyriacou said. “Martin (Ponce) getting (disqualified) was the icing on a deflated cake. And they still made it. It speaks to the depth that we have.”

The Roadrunners didn’t have a top-five finisher, but were still able to prevail as team champions.

With Ponce out of the race, Clark’s Mucuranyana Amon (17:29.3) and teammate Flimon Fre (17:45.3) finished first and second, respectively.

Boulder City’s Chandler Harkins (17:55.7) and Chase Wood (17:57.0) and Alesio Rios (18:01.5), both from Faith Lutheran, rounded out the top five.

“The first mile was fast,” Amon said. “He (Ponce) was testing me. I was able to break away at the second mile.”

West Wendover won the Division III race with 29 points. Lincoln County (45) also qualified for state.

The individual race winner was Cameron Frehner (18:18.5) from Lincoln County. Other individual qualifiers were Trayvon Mack and Josh Yepez from Laughlin and Daniel Highfield from Indian Springs.

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