Kylee Kieser had some time alone on Saturday at the Cave Creek Golf Course in Phoenix, and that was just fine with her.
“When I was out there, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is my last year, this is it,’ said Kieser. “When I said that to myself, I knew I had to go because winning this meet was my goal.”
Kieser broke away from the field at the 1-mile mark and then rolled on alone to victory in the Arizona Division II girls state cross country championship race.
Kieser delivered the only individual title for the East Valley, winning the Division II girls championship in 18:53.01, more than 30 seconds ahead of Nogales’ Konnie Zuniga.
Kieser, who ran for Casa Grande the last three years, had hoped to deliver a team title for the Padres, but they fell just short of Nogales, who scored 77 points. Marcos de Niza got the runner-up trophy with 97 points, well ahead of Tucson Sahuaro (128).
“I really wanted this team title for my teammates because we worked so hard,” said Kieser. “I felt like we were ready.”
Kieser’s teammates, Paige Libsack and Jessie Teniorio were 11th and 14th, respectively but Nogales, last year’s team champ in 5A-II, was too deep to catch this year.
Perry finished 13th with 356 points and was led by a ninth-place finish from Taylor DeLaVega (20:06.31).
In the Division II boys meet, Tucson Catalina Foothills claimed the team title with 63 points, easily ahead of Peoria Sunrise Mountain (118). Sunrise Mountain’s Brandon Kocmund was the individual winner in 16:02.
Perry was the top East Valley team in Division II, placing fifth with 178 points, four points ahead of McClintock. The Chargers’ Eduardo Roa was the top East Valley individual finisher, placing fourth in 16:16.65. Perry’s Patrick Hardwick was eighth in 16:52.22.
In the Division III boys race, Tuba City’s Billy Orman set a new course record on his way to his second straight state title. Orman finished in 15:03, beating the record set by former Flagstaff Sinagua star Brian Shrader, who is now at Oregon.
Chinle was the team champion with 77 points, followed by Flagstaff (94) and Mingus (119).
In the Division III girls race, Chinle’s Rolando Jumbo was the individual champion, finishing in 18:34.55. The Page girls emerged as the team champions with 133 points, edging Chinle (144) and Flagstaff (156). The top East Valley teams were Saguaro in 9th (388), Tempe 12th (550) and Higley 14th (585).
Hopi swept the Division IV team titles, with the girls scoring a meet-low 33 points. Gilbert Classical Academy was the top East Valley team, placing seventh (198), one spot ahead of Valley Christian (203). Tempe Prep was 10th at 237.
Many Farms was a surprise runner-up in the Division IV boys meet with 111 points, followed by Pinon 136. Horizon Honors led the East Valley teams with a seventh-place finish (182). Valley Christian was 10th at 260.