2013 All-Tribune Girls Cross Country - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

2013 All-Tribune Girls Cross Country

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Posted: Monday, December 9, 2013 3:46 pm | Updated: 3:48 pm, Mon Dec 9, 2013.

All-Tribune Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year — Danielle Jones, Desert Vista

Season highlights: For someone who prefers the 800 and 1,600 meter races, Dani Jones is turning into a heck of a cross country runner. Jones is already among the all-time best in Arizona in both the 800 and 1,600, but this year developed into one of the top racers in not just Arizona, but the nation.

No one in Arizona beat Jones this season. She won at the Sole Sports Invitational, at the Desert Twilight and at the Division I state championships. Her lone regular season defeat came in California when she finished sixth in the Woodbridge Invitational. Jones was the lead runner on a young Desert Vista team that ended Xavier’s run of Division I state titles at six. Desert Vista is now poised for a run of titles. Jones’ younger sister Baylee, a freshman, was runner-up at the Division I state meet, and four out of the Thunder’s top seven runners were freshmen.

Jones jumped into the national conversation with her win at the Desert Twilight, when she erased a significant deficit in the final 400 meters to beat 2012 Virginia champion and 2013 state runner-up Hannah Christen. Her 5k time of 17 minutes, 19.30 seconds was the fastest in meet history. On the same course in late November, Jones used another strong closing kick to finish fourth at the Nike Southwest Regional meet.

Jones earned a trip to Eugene for the Nike Cross Nationals on Dec. 7, where she placed 15th out of a field of 198 of the best runners in the country.

Coach of the Year: Jeff Messer, Desert Vista:  Messer knows how to pick programs. He was coaching at Xavier during the school’s run of six straight state titles and took over a Desert Vista program that has always been in the title conversation, including three runner-up finishes to the Gators during that span. Messer knew he had a star at Desert Vista in Dani Jones, but cross country titles are won with more than just a star and Messer found the right touch with a team that had four freshmen running at the state meet. It helps that one of those freshmen is Baylee Jones, who finished second to sister Dani at state. But Messer helped the rapid development of freshmen Sabrina Camino, Madi Bucci and Amanda Davis, as well as sophomore Emily Smith to put the Thunder in great position for a run at multiple titles.

All-Tribune First Team

Name                     Yr.      School           Comment

Danielle Jones         Jr.    Desert Vista      Div. I champ being recognized as one of the best in the nation

Baylee Jones           Fr.    Desert Vista      Div. I runner-up will set sights on catching sister next year

Lauren Ellsworth    Jr.      Highland          Had very good year, was 5th at Desert Twilight, 3rd in Div. I

Huston Jones         Sr.   Mountain View    Ran best in the big meets, was 5th in Div. I

Kelly Naumann       Jr.  Corona del Sol     Came on strong late in season, won section meet and was 4th in Div. I

Alice Jensen           Jr.     Mesquite          Very strong season capped by 6th place finish in Div. I

Allyson Girard        Jr.      Highland          Could usually be found near front; was 7th in Div. I

All-Tribune Second Team

Name                   Yr.        School              Comment

Taryn Estavillo       Jr.     Red Mountain       Won Mesa City meet, placed 12th at Div. I meet

Nicole Hicks           Sr.     Desert Vista         Was solid leader as lone senior on state champions’ roster

Alexis Nichols        So.      Chandler            Made huge strides this year; was Chandler City champ

Lucy Hilarides       Jr.      Queen Creek        Was runner-up in sectional meet to lead Bulldogs

Sarah Ziemba       Sr.         Skyline              Had strong season, capped by 9th place finish in Div. I

Madi Bucci             Fr.     Desert Vista         Part of pack of young Thunder runners; was 17th in Div. I

Mason Swenson   So.   Corona del Sol      15th at Div. I meet; 4th at sectional race for Aztecs

Honorable Mention

Apache Junction – Allyssa Willis, Jr.; Basha – Sadie Deem, Jr.; Courtney Goodrich, Sr.; Campo Verde – Jessica Watts, Jr.; Corona del Sol – Sammie Moore, Sr.; Desert Vista – Amanda Davis, Fr.; Emily Smith, So.; Sabrina Camino, Fr.; Dobson – Melody Mass, Sr.; Hamilton – Xury Deputy, Sr.; McKenna Ebiner, So.; Highland – Adeline Montgomery, Jr.; Marisa Kennedy, Fr.; Horizon Honors – Mikaela Martin, Sr.; Mountain Pointe – Ramsay Chancellor, Sr.; Mountain View – Madey Brooks, Sr.; Cherokee Davis, Sr.; Summer Stapley, Sr.; Perry – Gabby Ybarra, Jr.; Taylor Slevin, Sr.; Briana Junior, Fr.; Queen Creek – Alexus Navarro, Fr. ; Red Mountain – Mariah Montoya, Sr.; Corinne Clarkson, So.; Skyline – Jessie Williams, Jr.

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[Stats Courtesy of MaxPreps]