Two weeks ago when Mesa Mountain View's Huston Jones ran at the Chandler Invitational at Tumbleweek Park, her race plan was quite different from how she ran Saturday on the same course at the Ojo Rojo Invitational. Her time reflected that.
Jones, who won the senior race at the Chandle Invite, prevailed in the varsity race wth a much faster time that paced the Lady Toros to the team title of the invite over runner-up and city rival Red Mountain. Mountain View finished with 73 points while Red Mountain totaled 93.
“The last race here was more of a workout, that's how I treated it,” Jones said. “This time I ran harder. We didn't have our whole team here today because of ACT's. I felt I had a good race.”
Jones finished the 5K course in 18 minutes, 48 seconds to edge out Highland's Lauren Ellsworth by four seconds. Jones covered the course two weeks ago in 19:20.
Ellsworth pushed Jones most of the way, leading much of the first two miles.
“She went out fast,” Jones said of Ellsworth. “I wanted her to stay out front. I caught her with about a mile left, but knew I'd need to have something left. She's a sprinter so I tried to conserve to have something left at the end.”
Following Jones, who placed fifth at last year's Division I state meet, were Madey Brooks (8th), Madelyn Gherkins (17th), Isabel Huish (22nd) and Kymber Palmer (25th). Completing the top five individuals were Red Mountain's Taryn Estavillo (3rd), Sandra Day O'Connor's Kyra Davis (4th) and Mesquite's Alice Jensen (fifth).
The boys varsity race belonged to Corona del Sol in a landslide. The Aztecs totaled 32 points with Mesa Mountain View the runner-up with 103. Corona senior Nate Rodriguez repeated as individual champ and once again had senior teammate Ryan Normand on his heels. Rodriguez bettered the course record he set two weeks ago by one second, finishing with a time of 15:27. Normand ran 15:30 and Campo Verde's Lucky Schreiner was third (15:42). Schreiner kept the pressure on the front runners much of the way as he did three weeks ago at the Sole Sports Invite in Scottsdale before placing third behind them. Mesquite's Tyler Day finished 5th.
Normand finished just a couple seconds behind Rodriguez for the third time in three invitationals this season. They have a way of pushing one another and it works to their advantage.
“It's nice to have someone to run with like him,” Normand said. “I didn't run with him much today. He was behind us a lot of the race. He didn't pass me until the last 200 meters or so. It' great to be pushed and we had that today.”
Rodriguez said he didn't feel his best Saturday, somewhat on the tired side. He decided to make a push at the end that was enough to win. More importantly, however, Rodriguez liked the team effort Corona put forth.
“The upside of today is as a team we're starting to put it together,” Rodriguez said. “Today was the first time we raced together as a trio (Rodriguez, Normand and Marcus Wheeler (4th overall). That's what we're looking for with a couple more big meets coming up like Conley and Desert Twilight. After that we'll be able to get some rest, and be ready for the end of the year.”
Corona's fourth and fifth runners Saturday were Andrew Truswell (11th) and Blake Fischer (14th). The Aztecs sixth and seventh runners were 15th and 20th, completing their domination of the field.