Aztec cross country squad hits its peak just in time for state meet

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Corona’s cross country teams are ready for state after the boys team took first place in the Tempe City Cross Country Championship at Kiwanis Park for the first time since 1992, followed by first place at the Sectionals since 1997. The girls team brought home the second place trophy from sectionals held at Firestone Park. Teams include, from left, bottom row Ryan Normand, James Hert, Jared Hirschl, Jake Whitney, Daniel Wrapp, Michael Seall, Hannah Snyder, Hallie Swenson, Sarah Wright, Ellen Dunn, Hanna Lewis, Alyssa Ramsland, Mason Kuluris, Dani Lemieux. Middle row, Wade Hooke (alumni), Justin Yang, Matt Ykema, coach Pat Smith, Jansen Colello, Grant Swenson, Jeff Morrison, Cody Jackson, Eric Repking. — Photo courtesy Jen Lemiieux

Corona’s cross country teams are peaking at the right time as they head into the 5A state meet that was due to be held Nov. 6. The boys team took home the Tempe City Cross Country Championship trophy Oct. 20 at Kiwanis Park and then took first place at the Division I Sectional III meet Oct. 28-29 at Firestone Park in Chandler. The girls team was second at sectionals, which basically takes the place of regional meets in the new AIA state tournament scheme.

“I was very proud of both Corona teams,” said assistant coach Pat Smith. “It was a just a great day for us to take home two of the four sectional plaques.”

Corona’s boys team had four runners in the top 15 out of 106 to take home the first place plaque at sectionals.

“The guys won the sectional title by 28 points over Gilbert Highland and 34 over Tucson Rincon. And the girls took second to Gilbert Highland,” said Smith. “This was our first sectional/region title since 1997.”

Jared Hirschl led the boys team with a 4th place finish, followed closely by Jake Whitney in 6th and Jim Hert in 8th. Daniel Wrapp took 14th and Ryan Normand was Corona’s 5th scorer in 19th place. The other finishers for Corona’s boys team were Michael Seall in 27th and Justin Yang at 59th.

The girls also had a second place sectional finish led by Dani Lemieux in 4th and Hallie Swenson in 8th. The scoring was rounded out with Sara Wright in 18th, Hannah Lewis in 21st and Ellen Dunn in 26th. Alyssa Ramsland finished 32nd and Hanna Snyder was 59th to complete Corona’s girls team.

Winning the Tempe City championship was also a milestone for Corona’s boys team.

“The guys won the Tempe city meet for the first time since 1992,” said Smith. “We lost by one point the first year I coached in 1997 but haven’t been close since. I think last year Desert Vista beat us by 8 points.”

Corona beat Desert Vista by four points this year partly because the Aztecs had a first place finish and then three more runners in the top 10.

“Corona had the individual champ in Jared Hirschl which made it even better,” said Smith. “This is the second year in a row we have had the individual champ. Having Whitney, Wrapp and Hert come in 6th, 7th and 8th place was key to our winning. Then freshman Normand finished our scoring off in 11th.”

Seall and Yang finished in the top 25. The girls team had some runners coming off small injuries runners but still managed to finish in third place at Tempe.

Dani Lemieux led us like she has done all season with Hallie Swenson finishing right behind her,” said Smith. “Hallie had probably her best race of the year.”

Lemieux finished 8th, Swenson 9th, Wright 12th, Ramsland 20th, Dunn 21st, Snyder 22nd, and Lewis 23rd.

Corona also had runners in the Freshman Mixed 5K Run, the Boys Open 5K Run and the Girls Open 5K run.

Mason Kuluris was 7th, Hannah Dinell, 8th and Hannah Webber 25th for the girls team in the freshman race. Finishing 4th in the same race for the boys team was Andrew Truswell. Josh Ambre was 13th, Bridger Lewis 16th, and Henry Eischen 21st.

Corona took second place in the Boys 5K Open Run. Grant Swenson was 13th while Will Morgan was 17th, Alex Frantz 19th, Jansen Colella, 26th and Jeff Morrison 39th.

The Lady Aztecs took fourth in the 5K Open Run with Victoria Haun coming in 7th, Kate Halligan, 10th, Cyndia Yu, 19th, and Kierstynn Wile was 55th.

The boys varsity team will be defending their 2009 5A State Championship Nov. 6 at Cave Creek Golf Course. The girls team has set their goal to finish in the top five at the same meet.

Girls golf

Corona’s girls golf team finished fifth at the Division I State Golf Tournament held Oct. 29-30 at Dell Urich Golf Course in Tucson. The Lady Aztecs finished the two rounds with 650 strokes as a team, which represented the best two-day total for Corona girls golf ever, according to head coach Pat Reed.

In the first round, Corona scored average as a team except for one competitor, who had an incredible first round shooting a 74 on the par 70 course. “Freshman Halie Carpenter had the day of her life, lowering her average like 8 strokes,” said Reed. “She did great and held the team to a 332 score, and in 7th place that first day.” 

Dana Finkelstein shot a 76 on the par-70 course in round 1 but improved 7 strokes to end up one under par or 69 in round 2.

“Senior Dana Finkelstein and junior Brooke Taylor did fantastic in the second round,” said Reed. “Dana scored the only one under par for the day at 69 and Brooke dropped 15 strokes from day one to day two. Plus senior Alex Haun and sophomore Gabby Bochenek were very consistent both days and kept us in there.”

The team finished round 2 with a low for the year of 318 which was 14 strokes better than round 1 according to Reed.

“This year’s finish was a great way for Dana and Alex to close out their awesome four years as members of the Corona golf team,” said Reed. “I definitely will miss them both as they are a great asset to the team and two personalities that any coach would want on their team. They are helpful both on and off the course.” 

Swim and dive

Corona’s combined swim and dive teams took third place at the Tempe City Championships held at Rio Salado Swim Club, Oct. 27-28. The girls team placed third and the boys team fourth.

Notable finishes for the girls team included Heidi Liou’s second place in both the 200 Yard Individual Medley and the 100 Yard Breaststroke, Emily Lewandowski’s third in the 200 Yard IM, and Taylor Thorn’s third in the 100 Yard Backstroke.

Several Corona girls relay teams finished in the top three including a third place finish in the 200 Yard Medley Relay for Thorn, Lewandowski, Liou and Amy Hong. The relay team of Hong, Amanda Watts, Liou and Lewandowski took third in the 200 Yard Freestyle, Aubry Stitt, Emily Baker-Slama, Watts and Thorn teamed up to take third in the 400 Yard Freestyle Relay.  

Top four finishes for the boys team included Clay Meschke’s third place finish in both the 200 Yard Individual Medley and the 100 Yard Butterfly, Matt Hayhurst’s third place in the 100 Yard Freestyle and fourth place in the 50 Yard Freestyle, Matt Hurst’s fourth in the 500 Yard Freestyle.

Freshman Chloe Hacker won first place in the girls 1 meter diving event by 100 points. Carli Giese came in 8th and Carrie Tate 9th for the girls team. Hacker and Giese combined to give Corona first in the girls diving event.

Hacker is on track to be the top seed in the Arizona State Swimming and Diving Championships held Nov. 4-6 at Kino Aquatics Center and the only member of Corona’s dive team competing in the state tournament according to second-year dive coach Lije Arnold.

“What sets Chloe apart from the typical high school diver is that she is very focused, hard working and dedicated to the sport,” said Arnold. “She also has a great support system of family and friends. I think she has a great chance of finishing in the top five.”

Corona’s Initial Placement by AIA

The AIA Executive Board has approved the initial placement of Arizona high schools into divisions by sport for the 2011-2013 school years. Corona’s 2,390 enrollment placed all sports in the Division I category. Final division placements will be made Nov. 16, but it is doubtful Corona’s placement will change.

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