Corona’s cross country teams, looking to build on last season’s success, have already brought home more trophies midway through the 2010 season than they did in 2009, according to assistant coach Pat Smith.
The boys team has compiled two second place finishes, a third-, a fourth- and a fifth-place finish so far this season.
The girls team is hanging in there, too, with second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-place finishes.
“We lost our largest group of seniors to graduation last year that we needed to replace,” said coach Smith. “Our strength on both teams this year is that we have great leadership and our work ethic has been great.”
With only four boys and three girls returning who won varsity letters last season, Smith is expecting these runners to have a big impact on both teams.
“Jared Hirschl, who was ninth in the 5A-1 state meet last season, is our leader up front,” said Smith. “Our other top guys are Daniel Wrapp, a two-time varsity letter winner, and sophomore Jake Whitney, who was the second best freshman at the state meet last year.”
“In addition, we have Jim Hert, coming off a year of injuries, who is running with the lead group,” said Smith.
“Then we have freshman Ryan Normand, who is a pleasant surprise, running in the top five.”
Other runners on the boys varsity team include seniors Michael Seall and Justin Yang. Runners in the boys open division include Cody Jackson, Jeff Morrison, Will Morgan, Alex Frantz, Grant Swenson, Jansen Colella, Scott Eidson and Matthew Ykema.
Returning on the varsity girls team are Ellen Dunn, Dani Lemieux and Hallie Swenson.
“Ellen is our top returnee from last year’s state meet team. She had a great finish to the season last year and is looking even better this season,” said Smith. “Lemieux, one of our letter winners from last season, had a great track season last spring and is our top runner so far this season.”
“Swenson was our top freshman from last year and is also coming off a great spring track season,” continue Smith.
Sarah Wright and Alyssa Ramsland make up the rest of the top five girls varsity runners.
“Sarah, as a senior in her first season of running cross country, is a great surprise as our second or third runner,” said Smith. “Alyssa is another senior, who ran last year, but has really stepped up this season and is running in the top five.”
Challenging these runners for a spot in the top five are junior Hannah Lewis and senior Hanna Snyder. Running for the girls team in the open competition are sophomores Kate Halligan and Kierstynn Wile, junior Cyndia Yu and senior Allison Mundine.
Corona competed Oct. 1 against 28 other high schools at the Desert Twilight Cross Country Festival held at the Toka Sticks Golf Course in Gilbert, where the boys team came in fifth. Hirschl came in 17th, Whitney 24th, Hert 43rd, Normand 63rd, Wrapp 88th, Seall 115th and Yang 156th out of 188 runners.
Crossing the finish line for the freshman team were Bridger Lewis, 53rd; Brandon Rezac, 78th; and Henry Eischen, 83rd out of 118 runners from large schools.
The girls team didn’t finish as high but still had some quality runs from Lemieux, 32nd; Swenson, 48th; Dunn, 81st; Lewis, 88th; Wright, 96th; Ramsland, 113th; and Snyder, 128th out of 163 runners.
Freshman finishers for the girls team included Mason Kuluris in 11th; Hannah Dinell, 12th; Natalie Long, 68th; and Hannah Webber, 71st out of 102 competitors.
Team captains Hirschl, Wrapp, Seall for the boys team and Snyder and Dunn for the girls team will be pushing the runners to finish the rest of the season strong in order to qualify for the state meet. The teams have only three meets left before sectionals Oct. 28-29 at Freestone Park.
The teams competed Oct. 6 against Highland and Mesa high schools. Coach Smith was predicting this meet to be a preview of the sectionals, with Gilbert Highland being the main competition for both the boys and girls teams.
Up next is the Conley Invitation Oct. 8 at the Rolling Hills Golf Course and then the Tempe City Meet Oct. 20-21 at Kiwanis Park. The state tournament is Nov. 6 at Cave Creek Golf Course.
Corona’s girls golf team set at team record in a tournament against Mesquite Sept. 27 at Greenfield Lakes Golf Course.
“We scored a team record of 131, which is the record for all the teams that have ever played at Greenfield Lakes,” said coach Reed. “I don’t know if Corona has ever scored lower than that as a team.”
Dana Finkelstein scored 4 under par or 26. The rest of the team who helped set the course record included Alex Haun, Halie Carpenter, Brooke Taylor and Gabby Bochenek.
The team then went on to tie 169 with Hamilton at Ahwatukee Lakes Sept. 30. Finklestein shot a 1 under 35.
Corona’s Swim/Dive Teams
Corona’s girls diving team continues to rack up the points in the diving competition.
At the Brophy Xavier Invitational held Sept. 25, Chloe Hacker took second place and earned an automatic qualifying spot in the state meet with a score of 404.5 which was more than 100 points over the automatic qualifying score for girls of 303.6
The girls team also defeated Gilbert Highland in a dual meet held Sept. 29 by scoring 97 points to Highland’s 89. Highlights included a first place finish in the 200 Medley relay for Taylor Thorn, Emily Lewandowski, Aubry Stitt and Heidi Liou.
Thorn also touched the wall first in the 100 Butterfly and the 100 Backstroke while Liou was first in the 100 Breaststroke. Hacker came in first in the diving competition and Lewandowski, Stitt, Amanda Watts and Thorn were first in the 400 Freestyle Relay.
The boys team didn’t fare quite as well against Highland, losing 80-106, but not without some noteworthy finishes. Clay Meschke came in first in both the 200 Freestyle and the 100 Backstroke. Ryan Riley touched the wall first in the 50 Freestyle while Matt Hayhurst was first in the 100 Freestyle.
The boys team also took first in the 400 Freestyle Relay with the team of Hayhurst, Riley, Nick Wilson and Meschke.
Ryan Moore at K State
Ryan Moore, former Corona graduate and centerfield for the 2009 state champion Aztec baseball team, is adjusting to the weather, missing his family and life as a Division 1 baseball player at Kansas State.
Moore, who played in 47 of the 59 games, had a great freshman campaign with a .486 batting average and more.
“The best stat I had last year was for stealing bases. I was 10 for 10,” said Moore. “I also broke the baseball school record when I ran a 6.4 in the 60 this preseason.”
Moore found out that college ball is a bit different from high school and it does have a plus side.
“The competition at the college level is so much more competitive,” said Moore. “The perks you get playing D1 are awesome, though. The Nike gear, the Big 12 atmosphere at all the stadiums, the dinners, and the traveling are so much fun.”
Moore is looking forward to being something other than a freshman on the baseball diamond this spring, even though the expectations will be different.
“My freshman year was a learning experience, but now as a sophomore I am expected to perform and contribute at a higher level,” said Moore.
“The excuse that ‘he is only a freshman’ won’t work this year.”