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Fri, July 19

Ray Wherley meet has faster course thanks to monsoons

Bradshaw Mountain High cross country runners Hannah Madler, front, and Chelsea McKenna, start the race of the Nos. 2 and 3 together Saturday at the Ray Wherley Invitational at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University campus in Prescott.<br>
TribPhoto/Cheryl Hatrz

Bradshaw Mountain High cross country runners Hannah Madler, front, and Chelsea McKenna, start the race of the Nos. 2 and 3 together Saturday at the Ray Wherley Invitational at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University campus in Prescott.<br> TribPhoto/Cheryl Hatrz

Worried about monsoon mud, organizers changed the route for the Ray Wherley Invitational at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott this year. The result was a quicker and more spectator-friendly cross country course.

Each race started and ended by circling a grassy spectator area where some 25 high schools set up canopies as home bases for runners and fans. The 3.1-mile course for boys and 2.6-mile section for girls wound outside the campus, uphill on pavement and downhill on dirt. (The anticipated mud problem did not occur.)

"We had to adjust," said Chris Bray, ERAU head cross country coach for both men and women. "It actually made the uphill faster and we had a nice clean straightaway to the finish."

Bradshaw Mountain's boys placed 16th of 20 teams, while the Lady Bears finished 11th of 16. Scoring for the annual meet counts the top seven runners of each school, rather than the top five of regular meets. Some schools did not field complete teams.

Following open and novice events, separate races took place for the seeded Nos. 6/7; Nos. 4/5; Nos. 2/3; and finally, the No. 1s. The top eight in each seeded race medaled.

Saul Martinez turned in the top time, 18:09, and place, 46th, for Bradshaw, among the 154 seeded runners. Following for the Bears were: Satchel Clifford, 59th, 18:28; Cody Sharp 86th, 19:07; Tycien Chaney, 90th, 19:09; Elijah Shaffer, 100th, 19:39; Brandon O'Connor, 145th, 21:28; and Daniel Morales, 149th, 22:20.

Brophy College Prep boasted the top two runners, in Jack Rubenzer, 16:30, and Marco Ruiz, 16:33.

For the 150 ladies, Diana Garcia of Tempe turned in the winning time of 16:14.

Bradshaw's Hannah Madler was 48th, 18:38; followed by: Desiree Woodruff 74th, 19:50; Erika Meza 91st, 20:36; Chelsea McKenna, 106th, 21:03; Maria Gonzales, 113th, 21:35; Abigail Kelley, 127th, 22:15; and Hannah Ashburn, 137th, 23:41.

Bradshaw's next meet is today at Glendale Independence High.

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