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Christian Franklin, Jazmin Felix flex muscles at league meets

Saturday provided one last big meet for Southern Nevada cross country teams before the region tournament begins. All the schools met at Basic for the league meets.

It just proved to be the latest impressive performance for both Valley’s Christian Franklin and Desert Pines’ Jazmin Felix.

Franklin had the fastest time among boys over two races, racing through the 3.1-mile course in 16 minutes, 0.4 seconds. Felix had the fastest girls time, at 18:31.8.

Though there were four large races at the varsity level, and meet results were broken down further into divisions.

The first race was the girls race involving teams from the Class 4A Northeast and Southeast and Class 3A Sunrise League.

After the first mile, Coronado’s Claire Rawlins, Felix, Basic’ Raquel Chavez, and Green Valley’s Mia Smith comprised of the lead group. Rawlins dropped shortly from the halfway point. The race got on the Basic track for a short turn where Chavez started to push the pace on her home course. Felix stayed right with her for another mile. But Felix took off on a slight incline on the back side of the race and went out in front for good.

“I knew it was going to be a challenging race,” Felix said. “I knew everyone was going to kick at the end, so I tried to keep up my pace and then give it all I got towards the finish.”

In addition to Felix’s first-place result, Desert Pines grabbed three of the first four spots among Northeast finishers to take the team title.

Normally a frontrunner, Chavez was content to let others set the pace early and then tried to stay with Felix toward the end. Though Chavez was second in the race in 18:47.7, she was first among 4A Southeast girls, beating out Rawlins (18:57.2) and Smith (19:02.8).

Coronado scored 28 points to top the Southeast teams, well in front of Green Valley (75) and Foothill (80).

Moapa Valley freshman Emma Humes was the top finisher among Sunrise runners (20:12.9) while her team took first in league with 24 points, 10 points better than second-place Boulder City.

Sierra Vista’s Sarriah Brown was the top finisher in the second girls race, winning the Southwest title in 18:57.2. The senior shared the lead with Bishop Gorman’s Emilia Puskas early before pulling ahead on the final hill and opening a fairly large gap. Desert Oasis’ Jacey Wood (19:21.4) finished second, and Puskas was third (19:27.4).

“I do feel like I am peaking at the right time of the season,” Brown said. “I’ve started to ramp up my miles as of late and I feel ready for regionals.”

Bishop Gorman scored 39 points to win the Southwest, well ahead of Desert Oasis (75).

Among Northwest runners, Centennial’s Josephine Ruggieri had the top time (19:31.5). Centennial easily took first in the team standings with 27 points.

Frida Reyes of Valley was first for Class 3A Sunset League runners (20:23.5), as her team beat out Pahrump Valley in the team standings, 33-41

Laughlin’s Stephanie Zamora was first among 2A/1A runners, winning in 21:10.5.

Franklin continued his strong first cross country season. He took the lead shortly before the halfway point and kept a steady pace. By the third mile, the lead pack whittled down to Franklin, Desert Oasis’ Conner Nicholas, and Palo Verde’s Noah Jordan. Franklin put in a surge up the final hill to seize the lead for good, and then made a run at a sub-16:00 time, falling just short by fourth-tenths of a second.

“Coming up to the last hill, I thought the others were breathing hard,” Franklin said. “I knew it was time to go.”

While Franklin topped the 3A Sunset League results, Valley finished second to Pahrump Valley, which had 35 points to the Vikings’ 43.

Nicholas led Desert Oasis to an easy first-place team finish with 22 points after getting the top individual time in the Southwest League: 16:12.

Jordan was first among Northwest boys in 16 :14.4 as Palo Verde scored 46 points to edge out Arbor View (49) and Shadow Ridge (55).

Beatty’s Jose Granados topped 2A/1A runners in 17:25.2.

In the other boys race, Liberty’s Ryan Gilbert (16:45.8) held of Moapa Valley’s Preston Humes (16:47) in the end. Humes took the lead at the start of the third mile, but Gilbert stayed close and went ahead of him late. Humes made one last surge and drew even with Gilbert, who then kicked his way to the win.

“I didn’t want to look back because that is when I slowed down,” Gilbert said. “However, I heard the crowd and I chanced a look and saw him right there on my shoulder. That’s when I made my last kick.”

Gilbert was first among Southeast boys, but Green Valley scored 26 points to take the team title ahead of Coronado (49).

Humes was first among 3A Sunrise boys and Moapa Valley scored 18 points to take first among boys as well.

Legacy’s Romelow Turner had the top time among Northeast runners (17:23.1). Overall, Legacy was first in its division with 33 points followed by Eldorado (42).

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