The pre-race favorites — as expected — were the winners Friday night in the sweepstakes races at the 7th annual Desert Twilight Cross Country Invitational at Toka Sticks Golf Course in Mesa.
Corona del Sol senior Nathan Rodriguez and Desert Vista junior Dani Jones finished first in their respective races helping guide their squads to team titles as well. Corona bested the likes of Redondo Union, Redondo Beach, Calif., Page and Tuba City for first in the boys competition. Desert Vista dethroned last year's champ Xavier Prep. Desert Vista finished with 71 points, Xavier had 92 and Lake Braddock, Burke, Va., had 123,
Rodriguez, who was the top returning boys sweepstakes runner (fourth last season. Rodriguez covered the 5K course in 15 minutes, 8 seconds. Corona teammates Ryan Normand and Marcus Wheeler were right behind with Normand taking second (15:10) and Wheeler fourth (15:22). Corona totaled 102 points. Rounding out Corona's scoring runners were Blake Fischer and Patrick Cullings.
Completing the top 10 boys sweepstakes' race finishers: Anthony Masayesva (3rd, Tuba City); NIck Dale (5th, Mountain Ridge, Lucky Schreiner (6th, Campo Verde), Harvey Nelson (7th, Catalina Foothills), Alex Corbett (8th, Lake Braddock, Burke, Va), Josh Hoskinson (9th, Arizona Lutheran) and Dustin Herold, (10th, Redondo Union, Redondo Beach, Calif.).
Dani Jones winning time was 17:19. That was two seconds faster thanrunner-up Hannah Christen of Lake Braddock. Dani Jones sister,freshman Baylee, was third. Desert Vista took 15th (Nicole Hicks), 24th (Emily Smith) and 28th (Amanda Davis) to deny Xavier's bid at another title. Xavier was led by senior Shelby Brown (6th) and four teammates bunched at 20th (Sierra Brown), 21st (Jane Miller), 22nd (Lauren Kinzle) and 23rd (Sarah Carter).
Rounding out the top 10 girls sweepstakes' finishers: Alexandra Schadler (4th, Rio Rico), Lauren Ellsworth (5th, Highland), Katie Kunc (7th, Lake Braddock), Kelli Reagan (8th, St. Pius X, N.M.), Huston Jones (9th, Mesa Mountain View) and Molly Klein (10th, Rio Rancho, N.M.).