Tribune girls cross-country runner of the year - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Tribune girls cross-country runner of the year

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Posted: Thursday, December 11, 2008 6:40 pm | Updated: 10:24 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Jessica Tonn has proven she can run three-plus miles faster than any other high school girl in the state.

Now she hopes to prove she can compete against any prep runner in the country.

“To be All-American would be awesome,” the Phoenix Xavier junior said. “That’s the goal now.”

For Tonn to achieve her next goal she must finish in the top 15 at this weekend’s Foot Locker National Championship in San Diego, Calif. She earned her third consecutive trip to the national meet by placing fourth at the regional meet held in Walnut, Calif., on Dec. 6.

“She has big goals,” Xavier coach Dave Van Sickle said. “But she also has the talent and work ethic.”

Tonn won her first 5A-I state individual cross-country title this past fall and led the Gators to their second consecutive team championship.

Her state meet time of 17 minutes, 50.9 seconds was the only sub-18-minute effort of the day on the girls side. She beat runner-up and teammate Sarah Penney by more than a minute.

Tonn did not lose a high school race this season and was rarely challenged. She defended her individual title at the prestigious Doug Conley Invitational and placed in the top 10 at national meets in Alabama and California.

Tonn and Van Sickle both credit the work of assistant coach Jeff Messer with helping her attain her goals.

“Jeff is the science behind her. There are not many people who know more about how everything works than he does,” Van Sickle said.

“Both of my coaches and my family have helped me so much,” Tonn added. “They help keep me healthy and motivated. Staying healthy is the top goal right now.”

Tonn said she doesn’t like to look too far in the future but admits she would love to compete against the nation’s best some day.

“To make an Olympic qualifier would be a dream come true,” Tonn said. “I am definitely looking forward to running in college and going after a national title.

“To have a chance to compete against the top runners in the country would be great. But I also have some more goals to accomplish in high school.”

5A first team

Player                  Yr.    School      Comment

Jessica Tonn     Jr.     Xavier        Made it look easy in claiming state title in 5A-I

Sarah Penney    Sr.     Xavier        Runner-up to teammate Tonn in 5A-I

Taylor Cole         Jr.     Hamilton   Outstanding season capped by 3rd-place finish at 5A-I state meet

Ann Bawden       Sr.    Highland    Always in the mix of every race; placed 5th in 5A-I

Lacey Kalinen    Fr.     Pinnacle    In only half-a-season, still won 5A-II individual state title

Runner of the Year: Jessica Tonn, Xavier.

Coach of the Year: Dave Van Sickle, Xavier. From the end of school to the start of the season, the Gators lost two of their top five runners but still managed to win their seconnd consecutive 5A-Istate title.

5A second team

Player                      Yr.    School                 Comment

Brianna Decker     Fr.    Mountain View     Led Toros with 6th-place effort in 5A-I

Danica Ganje        Jr.    Corona del Sol     Aztecs’ leader placed 7th in 5A-I

Sydney Beatty       Sr.     Chandler               Capped wonderful season with 10th place at 5A-I

Cami Jackson      Sr.     Mountain View    Overcame injury to place 8th in 5A-I

Katie Penney        So.    Xavier                    12th-place finish at 5A-I key to Gators title

4A-1A first team

Player                              Yr.    School                Comment

Taylor DeLaVeaga        Fr.     Perry                   Started career with 4th place in 4A-II

Ashley Workman           Jr.     Queen Creek    Finished 6th at 4A-II

Carolyn Brown               Sr.    Saguaro             Led Sabercats to runner-up finish; placed 7th in 4A-I

Loren Wynn                   Sr.     Saguaro              Finished 9th at 4A-I

Tess Burghoff               So.    Arcadia                Another solid season capped by 12th in 4A-II meet

Runner of the Year: Taylor DeLaVeaga, Perry, displayed the talent and competitiveness that will make her a force for years to come.

Coach of the Year: John Prather, Saguaro, led the Sabercats to runner-up finish in 4A-II, with four runners in the top 20.

4A-1A second team

Player                      Yr.    School                     Comment

Madison Pohle      Jr.     Chaparral                Earned 14th place at 4A-I state meet

Paige LaBlonde    Jr.     Saguaro                   16th at 4A-I state meet

Shelley Isham       Sr.    Queen Creek            Finished 32nd at 4A-II

Megan Kelly          Sr.     Notre Dame Prep    Placed 17th at 4A-II

Allie Herriot           Sr.     Saguaro                    Claimed 27th place in 4A-I

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[Stats Courtesy of MaxPreps]