Tribune boys cross country runner of the year: Jim Walmsley, Horizon - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Tribune boys cross country runner of the year: Jim Walmsley, Horizon

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Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2007 1:46 am | Updated: 5:53 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Simply put, Jim Walmsley had a winning season. The Scottsdale Horizon senior won every race he entered in Arizona this past cross country campaign, including the 5A Division II state individual championship.

“It’s nice to finally get a state title,” Walmsley said after finishing his prep career at the Cave Creek Golf Course. “It’s a relief.”

Walmsley finished second at the 5A-I meet last year to Phoenix Desert Vista’s Matt Boughton, and sixth his sophomore year.

Horizon dropped down to 5A-II before the 2007 season 'began, but Walmsley’s state time this year was the best of any classification by far, including Boughton’s winning 5A-I time on the same course where all of the state races were run.

That was typical of Walmsley’s season. He didn’t just win his races, he dominated them.

He set course records at the state meet (15 minutes, 37 seconds), the Doug Conley Invitational and the Ojo Rojo Invitational in Chandler.

During the season, he won a large national meet in California with more than 1,000 competitors. After the season, he qualified for the Foot Locker National Championships and finished 23rd in that race.

He nearly led Horizon to the team championship, too, but the Huskies finished second to Marana Mountain View in a tiebreaker.

“He had a pretty outstanding year,” Horizon coach Mike Gleason said. “He’s just going to get stronger.

“His strength is being able to keep up that pace for long distances. In college, he is only going to get better.”

Walmsley said he is going to take as much time as he can deciding where to attend school next year. He has scheduled visits to Arizona State, Georgetown, Iona College, Washington, California and the Air Force Academy.

“The thing about Jim is he works harder than anyone else,” Gleason said. “Even his teammates know he is going to outwork them.

“They ask him to take a day off. He never does.”

Looking Back: Memorable moments from the 2007 season

Twice as nice: Phoenix Desert Vista senior Matt Boughton captured his second straight 5A-I individual title in warm conditions at Cave Creek Golf Course. Boughton fought through illness and injuries during the season, but capped his career in winning fashion.

Record breaker: Scottsdale Horizon senior Jim Walmsley made it look easy — too easy — in setting a course record at the 5A Division II state meet. His time of 15 minutes, 37 seconds easily beat all runners at the Cave Creek Golf Course. He won his race by more than 28 seconds and beat all competitors by 23 seconds.

Coming on strong: Flying under the radar all season was the Gilbert Mesquite boys team. Many coaches and runners took notice of the Wildcats at the end of the season as they finished fourth in the 5A-I team standings at state, and only four points behind third-place Mesa Mountain View.

Another one: Isaiah Klassen followed in his sister’s footsteps by winning a 1A/2A state championship. His sister Jillian won three state titles and Isaiah will aim for his second next year.

Class 5A All-Tribune first team Runner School Yr. Comment

Jim Walmsley Horizon Sr. 5A-II champ did not lose a race in Arizona

Matt Boughton Desert Vista Sr. 2-time 5A-I individual state champ

Ben Jankunas Horizon Sr. Placed 3rd in 5A-II

Derek Breinholt Highland Sr. Finished 3rd in 5A-I, Fiesta Region champ

D.J. Johnson Mountain View Jr. Placed 4th at 5A-I state meet

Class 5A All-Tribune second team Runner School Yr. Comment

Gwendal deBrunier Pinnacle Sr. 6th place at 5A-II state meet

Brady Alling Mtn. Pointe Sr. Won Central Region, 10th at 5A-I state

Aaron Sherf Mesquite Sr. 2nd in Central Region, 17th at 5A-I state

Sean Barr Desert Vista Sr. Placed 11th at 5A-I state, 3rd Central Region

Spencer Nielsen Mesa Sr. Finished 12th at 5A-I state meet

Runner of the year: Jim Walmsley, Horizon

Coach of the year: Mike Gleason, Horizon (Took Huskies to runner-up finish in 5A-II)

Class 4A-1A All-Tribune first team Runner School Yr. Comment

Isaiah Klassen Sco. Christian Jr. 1A/2A individual state champion

Sherod Hardt Queen Creek So. Runner-up in 4A-II, 3rd at Doug Conley

Isaac Nelson Valley Christian Sr. First-year runner was 7th at 1A/2A state

Kevin Rayes Arcadia Jr. East Sky runner-up, 10th at 4A-II state

Kyle Short Cactus ShadowsJr. Seventh at 4A-I state meet

Class 4A-1A All-Tribune second team Runner School Yr. Comment

Sean Newport Valley ChristianJr. Finished 8th at 1A/2A state meet

Levi Combs Queen Creek Sr. 11th at 4A-II state meet

Marvin O’Ketch Saguaro Sr. 9th-place finish at 4A-I state race

Marcus Shisler Sco. Christian Sr. Came in 14th at 1A/2A state meet

Jack Griffen Notre Dame So. 24th-place finish in 4A-II state meet

Runner of the year: Isaiah Klassen, Scottsdale Christian

Coach of the year: Erika Jackson, V. Christian (Led young Trojans to 3rd in 1A/2A)

Contact writer: (480) 898-5904 (Ext. 4) or

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[Stats Courtesy of MaxPreps]