PHOENIX — At the Cave Creek Golf Course, high school teams and individuals from all over the state competed in the 2019 Arizona state cross country championship.

It was the last meet of the year and the runners were letting it all out — some for the last time in their high school careers.

“I’m very emotional; competing in the state has been a dream of mine since my freshman year,” said Morenci senior Jordan Mares. “I’ve always dreamed of getting on that medal podium in state and just making my family and my hometown proud.”

Mares earned a medal as he finished in 20th place with a time of 17 minutes, 04.75 seconds.

The Morenci boys finished in 15th place as a team with a combined time of 1:34:46.

For the Morenci Wildcats girls, they only had one runner, but that runner, Kayla O’Connell, took home a medal as well as she placed seventh with a time of 20:26.44.

“I felt pretty good about today’s run. I had a real strong mental mindset coming in, so I really wanted to improve on last year’s state meet,” O’Connell said.

The Thatcher Eagles girls finished strong as a team, finishing in fifth place with a time of 1:53:43, just 57 seconds shy of fourth place.

The Eagles’ Camille Bryce received an award for finishing in 18th place with a time of 21:16.05.

“We felt strongly about today’s race; we have been preparing all week for state. It was a little more hilly than we thought but we overall did very well,” said Thatcher’s Ashlyn McMaster.

The Safford Bulldogs boys finished in 11th place with a team time of 1:30:13.

The Bulldogs’ Jacob Urrea finished in 12th place with a time of 16:48.63 as his teammate, Duncan Walker, came in 22nd place with a time of 17:07.65

“I started slowing down in the second mile, and then I was like bro, this is your last race and you got to go,” Walker said. “The hardest part of the race was right before the 1.75 miles (mark); the first mile was all adrenaline because it was my last state meet.”

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