The Gilbert Highland senior knows she has to follow her game plan, not only to compete in races but to finish them. She followed that plan perfectly at last weekend’s Doug Conley Invitational and finished fourth in 19:08.
Athlete of the week
Ann Bawden: The Gilbert Highland senior knows she has to follow her game plan, not only to compete in races but to finish them. She followed that plan perfectly at last weekend’s Doug Conley Invitational and finished fourth in 19:08. “We were hoping for a top 10, so we were a little surprised,” Highland coach Dave Montgomery said. At the last two state meets, Bawden has collapsed in the final half-mile of each race. Now she cruises through the first half-mile of races and increases her pace by the mile mark. At the Conley meet, Bawden was 40th at the half-mile mark. At the George Young Invitational on Sept. 20, she was 25th after a half-mile and went on to place third. “It’s not always easy to hold back, but I know it’s what I have to do,” Bawden said. “Hopefully, it works that well at state this year.”
Week in review
Chandler Perry freshman Taylor DeLaVeaga had an impressive top-10 finish within her reach at last week’s Doug Conley Invitational. But the final 30 meters of the 3.1-mile race proved to be her most challenging. DeLaVeaga thought a mat 30 meters in front of the finish line was the finish line. The beleaguered DeLaVeaga stopped running, but with the encouragement of her coach and family, she managed to weave and stagger her way the final distance. She still finished 13th in 19:43 and was immediately taken to the first-aid station where she recovered after several minutes of attention.
Central clash continues: The girls 5A-I Central Region is annually one of the most competitive in the state. The same is true again this season. Entering last weekend’s action, the four teams were ranked among the top nine in 5A-I. Tempe Corona del Sol led the way in third place, followed by Chandler Basha (fourth), Phoenix Desert Vista (fifth) and defending region champion Phoenix Mountain Pointe (ninth). At the Conley Invitational, Corona led the teams with a fifth-place finish with 210 points. Desert Vista followed in sixth (214), while Basha (288) was 10th and Mountain Pointe (451) was 20th.
All for one: Not only does the Conley Invitational bring together the state’s top teams, it also incorporates the top individuals who are not among those teams. A couple of region rivals — Queen Creek’s Sherod Hardt and Gilbert Higley’s Kyle Glass — competed in the boys race as individuals but prepared as teammates. The two warmed up together, raced only a few seconds apart and then cooled down together. Hardt finished sixth (15:54) and Glass came in 10th (16:05). “Running without your team is hard,” Hardt said. “It’s nice to have a familiar face.”
The second annual Queen Creek Twilight meet is set for Friday. The race is held under the lights at Toka Sticks Golf Course in Mesa with the boys varsity race at 7:15 p.m. and the girls at 7:45 p.m. The boys race brings together the top three teams from last week’s Doug Conley Invitational in champion Phoenix Shadow Mountain, runner-up Rio Rico and third-place Mesa Mountain View.
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