State Meet 2011

author Web Master - DVCC (Nov, 06 2011)


Thunder runners celebrate a second-place finish at the 2011 Arizona D1 State Championship Meet. Zack Smith, Jonathan Furseth, Carter Macey, Ryan Dykstra, Nick Kooinga, Ryan Smith, and Andrew Hermanski. Photo courtesy of DVCC

Earn a shiny second-place trophy at the biggest meet for the biggest schools in Arizona, and most any other team would party like a rock star.

But for the Desert Vista Cross Country boys team, a runner-up finish in the AIA Division I State Championship meet was equal parts celebration and consolation.

With only two of the seven varsity members graduating from 2010's third-place team and a deep contingent of talented underclassmen, DVCC expected to win it all in 2011 and was considered a preseason favorite. But one returning varsity team member changed sports, one changed focus and one was injured, and just two Thunder runners returned to the state meet. That duo excelled all year, and again in the biggest race of the season. Carter Macey finished seventh overall and Ryan Dykstra also medaled in the championship meet on Saturday, Nov. 5. But the Thunder's standards are so high, both elite runners were frustrated in their individual and collective performances.

"I could have gone a little bit faster," Macey said with a shrug. Dykstra was upset because he tightened up and lost a few places over the final 100 yards. And Coach Chris Hanson called the trophy merely "acceptable" after entering the year with such high hopes. Still, "If you had told me we'd have five fresh bodies who'd never run state before and still would finish second, I'd have said that was excellent," said Hanson, the only coach DVCC has ever known.

Macey completed the cool, wet and hilly 3.1-mile trek across Cave Creek Golf Course in 16 minutes, 11.82 seconds, improving his time by 13 seconds and his placement by 10 spots from the 2010 state meet despite tweaking his hamstring in the sectional race the previous week. Dykstra wasn't far behind, finishing No. 13 in 16:22. Fellow juniors Ryan Smith (24th, 16:45) and Zach Smith (57th, 17:17) were followed by promising sophomore Andrew Hermanski (46th, 17:04). Seniors Nick Kooinga (45th, 17:04) and Jonathan Furseth (51st, 17:09) capped stellar careers by finishing in the top third of 183 runners.

"We'll miss these seniors," Hanson said. "We wanted to give them a good going-away present -- and we did."

Consider what they've achieved: In the past decade, DVCC has been No. 1 four times, No. 1 or 2 seven times, No. 1, 2 or 3 nine times and No. 1, 2, 3 or 4 all 10 years. And considering how the young Thunder squad improved throughout the year and return with a stacked junior and strong sophomore class, Hanson sees only blue skies ahead. While the other contenders graduate their top runners, DVCC will return its top three runners and four of its top five.

"We're already as excited as could be for next year," said Hanson, whose boys have a year to think about what they accomplished - and what more they need to do to celebrate a championship next year.

Related Information:

  • Race Results can be found here.
  • Team Results can be found here.
  • Pictures can be found here.

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