Without any upper classmen on the team, Wickenburg High School’s young cross country runners picked up some valuable experience by competing in the big Fountain Hills Invitational last weekend.

Six Wrangler runners (two girls and four boys) didn’t need to compete against experienced varsity competitors — instead they entered the freshman/sophomore races.

“The boys ran in the largest field of the day,” noted veteran coach Doug Clementz. “It looked bigger than the starting line of the state meet.”

Sophomore Jeremiah Weaver led the Wranglers’ boys by placing 142nd in 22:42 minutes; followed by freshman Simon Della Ratta (194th in 24:05), freshman Collin Hackett (229th in 26:16) and newcomer Riley Taylor (262nd in 39:55).

Freshman Cailin Almstedt led the two Lady Wranglers with an 80th place in a time of 27:18 minutes, while sophomore Madison Roddy placed 135th with a time of 31:38 in the field of 164 girls.

“We did all right for the inexperience that we have and their first big meet,” Coach Clementz reported. “Our kids were amazed by their time improvement.

“We still have a long way to go, but we are showing improvement … which is all I ask,” he added.

The Wranglers’ runners will next compete in the Camp Verde Invitational this Saturday and the Valley Christian Invitational in Chandler next Tuesday.

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