Those who accomplished the most at Saturday’s 35th annual Doug Conley Invitational had completely different agendas when their respective races were over.
Phoenix Xavier, which won the girls team championship at Tempe’s Kiwanis Park, couldn’t leave town soon enough. Jim Walmsley, who won the boys individual title for Scottsdale Horizon, seemingly didn’t want to leave.
For the first few moments after the girls race, Xavier coach Dave Van Sickle was under the impression his team had defeated runner-up Mesa Mountain View by a point. A few minutes later he learned his team had beat the Toros by three points (120-123).
“Before it changes again — and not in our favor — we better go get our trophy and get out of here,” Van Sickle said with a laugh. “You are always happy to win, but we definitely have plenty to work on. We need to keep improving.”
It would be difficult for Xavier’s Jessica Tonn to improve much, winning the girls race in 18 minutes, 24 seconds, beating runner-up Lindsay Prescott of Glendale Sandra Day O’Connor by seven seconds.
“I wanted to stay with Lindsay for the first part and then pull away hopefully,” said Tonn, who finished second to Prescott at last year’s race. “I think the last little hill helped me. I’m really happy with this accomplishment.”
Mountain View coach Bill Webster also left Tempe pleased with his team’s performance.
“We knew this was going to be a very, very tough meet. There is so much talent here,” said Webster, who received a team-best performance from junior Cami Jackson who placed sixth at 19:07.
In the boys race, Walmsley nearly set a meet record. His time of 15:46.3 was .01 of a second behind former Douglas star Kenny Cormier’s record time set in 2004.
Following the race, the sociable Walmsley performed his rounds at the park. He did a cool-down run with Tucson Salpointe’s Steve Magnuson, who finished second overall.
“I knew about the record but just didn’t push it enough at the end. I could have gone a little faster and don’t know why I didn’t,” said Walmsley.
Walmsley, who has not lost a race yet this season, said he was hoping someone would set a quicker pace through the first mile. When no one ran to his liking, he decided to take off and put a large gap between himself and the rest of the field. No one came close to closing that gap the rest of the way.
Queen Creek sophomore Sherod Hardt finished third at 16:05.
Phoenix Desert Vista placed third in the boys race with 167 points. Rio Rico took first with 123, followed by Phoenix Alhambra at 137.
The Thunder also placed third at last year’s race and went on to win the Class 5A Division I state championship.
“We had an acceptable day,” Thunder coach Chris Hanson said. “Our goal is always the end of the year. We were not the best team here today.”
Senior Matt Boughton led Desert Vista with a fourth-place finish in 16:13. Mesa Mountain View placed fourth in the team standings with 193.
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