Organizers postponed the start of this past Wednesday's cross country meet at Phoenix Washington High from 5 until 5:45 p.m. in hopes the extreme heat would abate. It didn't cool off, and even though Bradshaw Mountain's high country team is used to temperatures 20 degrees cooler, that part wasn't evident.
Despite the starting temperature of 112 degrees, Bradshaw's boys won their season opener. The Bears triumphed over four other teams on the 3-mile course with a score of 40. North High was second with 44, followed by Thunderbird, 46; Washington, 128; and Tolleson, 166.
Bradshaw narrowly missed the sweep, as the Lady Bears placed second with 45 points.
Thunderbird won the girls' meet with 37, followed by North, 56; Washington, 86, and Tolleson, 101.
Bradshaw's top racer of the day was Ryan Madler, who finished second overall in 17:46. The rest of the pack finished in order: 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th, starting with Saul Martinez, 19:15; then Esteban Morales, 19:31; Ryan Petzoldt, 19:36, and C.J. Unruh, 19:37.
"They ran very well as a group and that's what won the meet for us," said BMHS coach Mike Simon. "Considering it was the first meet and under extremely warm conditions, they performed great."
The girls ran a shortened course because of the heat, and the Lady Bears ran a strong race, Simon said.
Top finisher for Bradshaw over the 2-mile path was Desiree Woodruff, who placed 5th in 16:03. Gabby Jeffries was right on her heels in 6th with 16:05. Hannah Ashburn was 8th, 16:38; Katie Rogge, 12th, 17:14; and 14th was Athena Dias, 17:23.
"That's a nice time gap. It's an excellent start to the year to be within a minute-20 of each other," Simon said.
The coach expects great things, with a senior-dominated squad for the first time in years. Five of his 10 starters are veterans and members of the Class of 2012, including: Madler, Morales, Unruh, Jeffries and Rogge.
Bradshaw travels to Independence today to run in expected 107-degree heat. Saturday, the Bears compete in the Prescott's Ray Wherley Invitational at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.