Photo by Luke Mailliard ’15 — Cross country runner Luke Mason ’17 sprints ahead of a Gilbert High School runner.
By Chase Bayless ’15
The cross country season came to a close as the team finished ninth in the state championship, Saturday, Nov. 8 at Cave Creek golf course.
“We didn’t run to our potential, but three of our top six were underclass men and are still learning how to race, including myself,” said Luke Mason ’17. “One of our runners in particular, senior Andrew Webb (’15), fought and gave all that he had to bring our team success. It was truly inspirational.”
The Broncos were led by head coach Mr. Mike Keahon ’73, as well as four other assistant coaches.
In an interview before the season with The Roundup, assistant coach Mr. Matt Williams ’07 said “top five at state is certainly possible if everyone stays healthy, if everyone improves, if everyone puts the work in.”
While the team didn’t reach their goal, they came away with a top 10 finish for the second year in a row, as the team also placed ninth in state last year.
The seven runners that participated in the championship this year were Mason, Webb, Drew Burns ’18, Stephen Casillas ’15, Luke Mailliard ’15, Conner Andreen ’15 and Gabe Morrison ’17.
Underclassmen Mason and Burns took the spotlight finishing 1st and 2nd among Brophy runners, respectively. Seniors Mailliard, Casillas, and Webb rounded out the top five.
“We were disappointed by our state finish, but hopeful for the future,” said Mr. Steve Smith ’86.
Mason echoed the same sentiment citing the “pool of (young) talent” as well as the “desire to run” as reasons for potential success.
The seniors are irreplaceable,” said Mr. Smith. The future looks bright though with the top two runners returning for next season.
“You need all of your guys to do their best on that one specific day and we just haven’t had that.” Mr. Smith said of the team’s shot at next year’s title.