BENSON — Early work and a commitment to the program resulted in a state qualifying year for the Benson ladies’ cross country team.
It was a successful season in many ways, according to coach Randy Barney, in that it could provide a solid foundation for the future.
On Saturday at Cave Creek Golf Course Amity Hall placed 20th overall to medal. She covered the 5,000 meters in 21 minutes, 24.8 seconds to lead the Benson girls. Dalia Moroyoqui, competing in her final high school cross meet placed 44th overall in 22:31.8. Rounding out the girls were Brooke Schmidt [97th] 24:14.3; and Dalma Santiago [132nd] 25:37.9; and Briley Barney [159th] 31:12.2.
Ali Upshaw of St. Michael Indian posted the winning 17:49.5 time. St. Michael Indian, with three runners in the top 10, won the girls’ team title with 37 points. Glendale Preparatory Academy placed second, 103, and Many Farms, third at 166. Northland Preparatory, 168, and Thatcher, 194, rounded the top five. The Bobcats finished in the top 20, 15th overall with 354 points.
A trio of boys qualified for the men’s division race. Sean Laura placed [76th] 18:36.1, followed by Justice Dallaportas  19:28.6 and Joseph Akers [120th] 19:36.9.
Barney was pleased overall with the Bobcats’ progress throughout the season, which included a third place in the sectional meet and the boys just missed qualifying as a team.
“We had several first-year runners and they followed the lead of our captains to become solid runners,” the coach said. “I enjoyed coaching this team. They represented our school and community very well. We will miss our seniors Dalia Moroyoqui and Kolby Barney, both four-year varsity year runners, but we do have several new prospects and look to be even stronger next season.”
The girls last fielded a team in the state meet in 2016. The year prior the boys and girls qualified.