Sophomore Colby Wright and seniors Skye Alker and Caleb Lara qualified for the cross country state championship race with their performances at the Division III metro sectionals Thursday, Oct. 26.
Alker finished third in the girls race, and Wright and Lara placed 29th and 31st.
Later in the day after her top-three finish, Alker passed a flight test as part of her training to be a pilot.
The three Falcons will run in the cross country state championship at Cave Creek Golf Course Saturday, Nov. 4. Wright and Lara will start at 1:10 p.m., and Alker will begin her race at 2 p.m.
Alker (20:22.0) was 11.4 seconds away from her personal best and continued her hot streak of earning a medal in every race so far this season. Wright (18:24.8) and Lara (18:31.7) kept up with each other throughout the race and pushed each other to set new personal records (PR).
“I was feeling really good at the beginning, and then when it got to [about] a mile and a half, my knees started acting up,” Alker said. “I just knew that I had to keep pace the rest of the time, because I was in a position where I was close enough to the front, and the fourth person was further back.”
Despite her knee pain, Alker finished 40 seconds ahead of the next runner and secured her spot in the state championship. Alker placed eighth last year (21:16.9) and was impressed with her performance this year.
“It’s crazy for me to think about, like from freshman year to now, I would even be placing in close to top three,” Alker said. “It’s crazy to think about, and just to get even in the 20s is great to do.”
Sophomore Allison Guerrette (22:49.5) was six seconds away from a PR on route to placing 18th, and she was one place away from qualifying for state as an individual. Junior Racine Homyak (24:09.3) set a new PR by 17 seconds and senior Eliana Bartman rounded out the team (30:23.0).
The boys team placed 10th out of 15 and were two places away from a team qualification. Wright finished under 19 minutes for the second time this season, and Lara notched his third race under 19.
Senior Dylan Romans (19:38.0) set a new PR in 53rd place and had all three of career sub-20-minute races this season. Junior Yahshua Harris (19:57.5), a newcomer to the team this year, finished 57th and ended the season nearly three minutes faster than where he began.
Senior William Breen (22:27.9) closed out the race in 88th place and ran his third fastest time of the season on the hard sectional course.
Lara and Wright cheered on graduated seniors Tyler Irvine-Violette and Zion Atwood at the state championships last year, and Alker hopes to improve on her 29th place finish at state last year. The season is over for most of the Falcons, but they will continue to train with and support Alker, Lara and Wright.
“I think it’s going to be really good,” Alker said. “I know that Caleb definitely really, really wants it. Colby always runs hard, and I know that I want to try and get top 10 in state as well. That’s my goal for state.”
The field included 75 girls and 105 boys for a total of 180 runners.