BENSON — The Benson Bobcats were off and running last week, hosting a season-opening multi-team cross country meet.
The girls showed their potential. Amity Hall and Dalia Moroyoqui placed first and second respectively to top the 46 runner field while Siarra Wilson placed 10th to lead the Bobcats. Thatcher with 15 points and San Carlos with 40 were the only teams with the requisite five runners required for team scoring.
Hall, a sophomore, covered the 3.1 mile course in 23 minutes, 35 seconds, while Moroyoqui, a senior and one of the team captains, clocked in at 24:01. Wilson posted a 26:42 time. Santiago, the Bobcats’ fourth runner, placed 32nd in 36:07.
Thatcher runners bunched in to take the third through seventh slots.
In the boys’ meet, the Bobcats finished fourth out of five in team scoring, but coach Randy Barney noted the first meet of the year served as an eye-opener, especially for the some of the younger runners.
Thatcher with 23 won the meet and were followed by Safford, 75; Tombstone, 77; Benson, 120; and San Carlos, 175.
Sean Laura was the Bobcats’ top runner, placing 12th overall in 21:41. Thatcher’s Wesley Peña was the overall winner with the 18:26 time. Thatcher runners had six of the top eight slots with Safford’s D. Walker and J. Urrea taking second and third respectively.
Rounding out the Bobcats were Dallaportas, 17th, 22:28; Josh Akers, 26th, 23:49; Kolby Barney, 27th, 24:16; Max Frost, 38th, 25:30; Kyle Hatch, 41st, 26:27; Jason Marks, 51st, 29:49; S. Lutz, 55th, 31:39; Julian Muñoz, 57th; 31:40; Thomas Caywood, 66th, 39:53.
Coach Barney was pleased by the effort.
“The Highlight was definitely the girls taking first, second and 10th places — these three girls are a bright spot,” the coach said. “Our young boys team learned how competitive this sport is. Some went out a little hard and it cost them when they cramped. Others let the race get away early and were not able to recover. It’s a long season and each runner will learn every race to run to their potential.
“I liked the effort of the whole team, even though some of the runners did not do as well as expected, I know it was not from a lack of effort. We’ll be focusing on challenging ourselves, and our teammates working together and focusing on doing our part for the team.”