RIO RICO — The Safford boys qualified for the Division III cross country state final meet after finishing third at the Section I qualifier in Rio Rico on Wednesday.

Salpointe was section champion, finishing with a score of 44. Walden Gove finished second with 63 point, followed by Safford with 71.

Senior Jacob Urrea was the Bulldogs’ top runner, finishing in fourth overall in a time of 17 minutes, 49.8 seconds. He was just ahead of teammate Duncan Walker, who finished fifth in 17:57.1.

Sy Hargis was next to cross for Safford, finishing 15th in 18:55.2. He was followed by Jack Hackett in 20th in 19:09.4, Brenden Lines in 32nd in 20:10.7, Bronson Hatch in 45th in 20:54.2 and Timothy Fox in 51st in 21:18.2.

The girls squad was not as fortunate, failing to qualify after finishing seventh out of seven teams at the Rio Rico meet.

Emilee Baker was Safford’s top runner, finishing in 35th place in 27:00.9, a personal best time. She was followed by Madelyn Hatch in 38th in 27:39.4, Kore Villareal in 45th in 29:05.3 (also a personal best time), Lauren Montierth in 46th in 29:05.8, Olivia Madrid in 48th in 29:46.2, Karoline Hansen in 50th in 30:55.2 and Laurel Hargis in 51st in 31:50.9

Division IV Section IIThe Thatcher boys are section champions, after finishing first at the Division III Section II qualifier in Rio Rico on Wednesday.

Thatcher finished with a score of 40, ahead of second-place finisher Morenci with 81. Willcox failed to qualify for the state finals after finishing 10th of 10 teams.

Wesley Pena was Thatcher’s top placer, finishing fourth in 18:33.8. He was followed by Dean Haller in fifth in 18:35.7, Joby Rojas in eighth in 19:03.4, Tanner Palmer in 11th in 19:21, Matt Orr in 12th in 19:23.3, Talon Brown in 19:45.5 and Dathan Kartchner in 26th in 19:59.9.

Morenci was led by Jordan Mares in second in 18:47.9, followed by Conrad Aguallo in ninth in 19:13.6 (personal best), Matthew Webb in 15th in 19:28.9, Cameron Bailey-Garcia in 29th in 20:11.3, Dante Deanda in 30th in 20:17.3, Phillip Provencio in 35th in 20:42 (personal best) and Damian Billy in 61st in 22:24.4.

Fort Thomas had one runner in the meet, Jayshawn Rambler, who finished 74th in 25:35.7, a personal best time.

The Thatcher girls also scored a sectional championship, finishing first at the Rio Rico meet. Thatcher scored 48 to Baboquivari’s 83. Fort Thomas finished eighth with 195 points.

Camille Bryce set the pace for Thatcher, finishing fifth in 22:37.7. She was followed by Ashlyn McMaster in ninth in 23:12.7, Elliana Windsor in 12th in 23:17.1, Madison Pena in 13th in 23:28.2, Rachel Richardson in 14th in 23:40.9, Hailey Udall in 18th in 24:03 and Paisley Layton in 20th in 24:28.2 (personal best).

Kenia McCabe was the Lady Apaches’ top runner, finishing 21st in 24:31.8. She was followed by Kylee Logan in 44th in 27.11.2, McKenna Rogers in 47th in 27:32.8, Chasinee Stanley in 51st in 27:47.3, Marilyn Guardado in 61st in 30:13.5, Kaya Olivar in 69th in 39:08.4 and Taylor Cobb in 70th in 39:09.4.

Morenci didn’t have enough runners to qualify for a team score, but the Lady Wildcats did record an individual section champion. Kayla O’Connell finished first in 21:19.1 She was followed by Sara Gray in 42nd in 27:08 (personal best), Hannah Sylvester in 52nd in 27:48.3 and Keirah Chee in 54th in 28:17.6.

The state final meet takes place Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Cave Creek Golf Course. The Division IV meet starts at 10 a.m., while the Division III race gets under way at 2 p.m.

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