Xavier Cross Country came away with a 4th place finish in the Div 1 State Cross Country meet on Saturday, November 13, at the Cave Creek Golf Course in a race clearly dominated by Highland and Desert Vista.
In fact, DV and Highland have been battling is out for that first place trophy ever year since Xavier won the title in 2018.
As you can see here, Highland has been “aggressively” sneaking up on DV since 2018 (behind by 50, then behind by 3) until overtaking them this year to become Div 1 State Champions.
xxxx— 2019: DV 49, Highland 99
xxxx— 2020: DV 41, Highland 44
xxxx— 2021: Highland 38, Desert Vista 45
Xavier’s 4th place finish is a little better than early projections. After the Desert Twilight meet (Sep 24), the Gators were projected to take 5th (DV, Highland, Perry, Liberty, XCP). Since then, however, Perry’s performances suffered a decline as they finish the season taking 5th at State.
This was a great finish for Xavier #1 Tatum Goforth‘s Xavier Cross Country career (outside of the upcoming NXN SW region meet)
xxxx— Last year: first State XC meet – – Xavier #3 runner – – 26th place
xxxx— This year: Xavier #1 runner – – 8th place
Xavier #2, Catherine Alaimo ’22, also had a nice finish to her Xavier Cross Country career.
xxxx— Last year: first State XC meet – – Xavier #6 runner – – 53rd place
xxxx— This year: Xavier #2 runner – – 22nd place (moves up a whopping 31 places from 2020)
Xavier #3, Hanna Wheeling ’22, has also had a progressive journey through her State meet appearances, which began during her sophomore year. Beginning with 2019, Hannah has taken 94th, 35th, and now 30th.
Xavier #4, Reese Brown ’23, was Xavier #6 at Desert Twilight. At State, she is Xavier #4, taking 33rd place in her very first State Cross Country meet.
Xavier #5 for the 2nd year in a row, Macarthy Mahoney ’22, went from 46th last year to 38th place this year.
Rounding out the 2021 Xavier State Cross Country squad were Ansley Burns ’22 (46th), running in her 3rd XC State meet, and Lily Beaver ’24 (54th) — her very first State Cross Country meet.
If you’re wondering about losing 5 runners to graduation from this year’s State team: Xavier won five JV/Open races this year. A sizeable number of Gator runners are in a great position to take their talent to the next level and keep Xavier competitive in the upper echelon of Div 1 State Cross Country.