Mud no match for Williams cross-country racers

Williams Falcons cross-country team watches as runner Riley McNelly crosses the finish line at the Williams Invitational on Sept. 9. Ryan Williams/WGCN

Williams Falcons cross-country team watches as runner Riley McNelly crosses the finish line at the Williams Invitational on Sept. 9. Ryan Williams/WGCN

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Williams Elementary-Middle School played host to its first ever home cross-country race on Sept. 9.

Despite the muddy conditions, the runners performed well in a competitive environment.

Williams competed with Prescott, Heritage (Chino Valley), Sinagua, Mt. Elden, Flagstaff Junior Academy, Parks, and San Francisco Diocese.

"The kids loved it," said head coach Lela Schober. "They love the mud."

Despite having to change the course due to extremely muddy trails, Schober said the visiting teams seemed to enjoy the race.

"I think some of the teams were more comfortable running the roads anyway," Schober said.

Schober was impressed with the Williams runner and said they turned in great times.

"We were up against some really stiff competition," Schober said. "The winner of the girls' varsity race came in at 12:40, which is extremely fast for a 1.8 mile course."

Schober said that all of the Williams runners stayed above the middle of the pack. She was happy to see the high level of competition that participated.

Approximately 150 runners participated in the race and Schober was happy with the turnout.

"The kids felt like it was fun, but said it was a hard meet," Schober said. "I'm proud of that. I didn't want it to be mediocre or easy. I wanted the kids to have a challenge."

Schober said they team exceeded her expectations and ran with a lot of heart. She said many of the runners ran their best times of the year so far.

Results:

5th grade girls: Winner was SFDA runner Mairaed Kelly in 13:45. Williams runners: Cheznie Carter placed 2nd at 14:06. Riley McNelly placed 5th at 15:30. Kadence Orozco placed 7th at 16:51. Shaelee Echeverria in 8th at 17:01. Jessica Zabala in 9th in 17:13. Maine School runner: Aspen Weatherhead 16th 19:49.

5th grade boys. Winner was PMS Matt Dunkel at 12:13. Maine School runner: Kent Stafford placed 9th in 15:21.

6th grade boys: Winner was PMS Aiden Solorzano at 12:53. Williams runners: JW Olson placed 4th at 13:17. Josh Wamble placed 10th at 13:43. Preston Ford placed 26th at 15:50. Maine School runners: Gage Betts placed 11th at 13:44. Zac Hudman placed 17th at 14:56.

7-8th boys: Winner was Sinagua Zac Joyce at 10:46. Williams runners: Mauricio Gonzales placed 13th at 12:24. Eli Walters placed 42nd at 14:09. Maine School runners: Kody Kelly placed 18th at 12:39. Jon Smith placed 36th at 13:44.

7-8th girls: Winner was MEMS Nikki White at 12:01. Williams runners: Maegan Ford was 6th at 13:17. Ashlynn Kennely in 21st at 15:07. Mac Carter in 8th at 13:36. Madi Olsen in 23rd at 15:17. Riley Hollis in 45th at 18:28. Maine runner: Sydnee Mortensen in 12th at 14:30.

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