Cross country is all about speed, but speed may have been the cause of a results mix-up at Saturday's state championships.
The 1A-2A girls meet results were hastily printed so organizers could start the awards ceremony. However, those results proved to be wrong, and Chandler Valley Christian, announced as the runner-up to Sanders Valley, turned out to be the team champion.
“When the results were announced at the awards, they were just so excited,” Trojans coach Erika Jackson said of her team’s runner-up finish. “It wasn’t until I got home and looked at the results on the (Arizona Interscholastic Association) Web site, I was like, ‘Whoa, what’s this?’ ”
The results posted later on Saturday were correct, showing Valley Christian winning the meet with 90 points and Sanders Valley with 91. When the awards were announced earlier, the two teams were told they tied with 90 points, but Valley was declared champion by virtue of a tiebreaker.
The problem came when the results were printed before all of the runners had finished the race, including the No. 5 runner for Phoenix Country Day School. Before that runner crossed the line, PCDS runners did not figure toward the team scores because five runners from a school must finish for a school's team score to count. After she finished, PCDS figured in the team scoring, including its top runner, overall fifth-place finisher Becca Wax. Valley Christian’s Brielle Smith finished fourth, which proved to make a one-point difference when all of the runners after Wax dropped a place in the points.
“When we were sharing this, our girls were saying how that’s going to be so hard for Valley, they are the ones that got to celebrate and now it’s going to be taken away,” Jackson said. “I thought that was honorable of our girls to think of the other team.
“But we’re anxious to get the trophy and we’re going to surely make up for that missed moment at state.”
The Tribune took the results from all the state championship races and calculated who had the best team, regardless of class. In the boys meet, the best overall team didn’t even win its own conference title.
Cottonwood Mingus, which finished second in the 4A Division II meet, one point behind Rio Rico, won the mythical title with 174 points, four ahead of Rio Rico. 5A Division I champ Phoenix Desert Vista was third with 210, followed by Flagstaff (253), giving 4A-II three out of the top four overall finishers.
Scottsdale Horizon (254), Mesa Mountain View (283), Tucson Catalina Foothills (394), Gilbert Highland (417), Phoenix Shadow Mountain (473) and Sierra Vista Buena (552) rounded out the top 10.
The top overall individual was Tucson Desert View’s Victor Zazueta in 15 minutes, 54.65 seconds. The top East Valley finisher was Desert Vista’s Matt Boughton, who won the 5A-I race in 16:18.75.
The girls overall race was even tighter, with Glendale Sandra Day O’Connor and Page tying with 147 points. However, Sandra Day O’Connor won thanks to its sixth runner finishing ahead of Page’s sixth. Tucson Catalina Magnet (204), Chinle (237) and Flagstaff (262) rounded out the top five.
Scottsdale Saguaro was the top East Valley team, finishing sixth with 300 points, 18 ahead of 5A Division I champion Tucson Salpointe. Phoenix Xavier was eighth with 390.
The top individual was Nadya Bishton of Glendale Mountain Ridge, who won the 5A-I race in 18:11.40. Xavier freshman Jessica Tonn had the third-best time, 18:52.95, and Scottsdale Christian’s Jillian Klassen represented the small schools well with the fifth-best time of the day, 19:12.30.