State Meet 2016

author Web Master - DVCC (Nov, 07 2016)

Three-Peat! State Champs Once Again!!


Nov 5, 2016: DVCC Thunder Boys runners celebrate an eighth (and third consecutive) Arizona D1 Cross Country State Championship for Desert Vista High School (Phoenix, AZ). Pictured are Reece Donihi, Nick Thatcher, Habtamu Cheney, co-captain Chris D'Angelo, Travis Kearney, D'Angelo Piasecki, and Aksel Laudon. (image courtesy of Mark Schmisseur)

[This article is courtesy of Senior Co-Captain Clark Scalia]


Ok, so no headline is going to read like that on the front page a daily newspaper so I thought I would take the liberty of writing one myself. Both the Girls and Boys teams captured a state title this year at the Arizona DI State Championship Meet this past weekend. The two teams carried on the Desert Vista dynasty as the Boys won their third straight title in cross-country (an Arizona Division 1 record) while the Girls won their third state title in the past four years. The meet was held at Cave Creek Golf Course in Cave Creek, Arizona and was certainly one for the record books. Usually I only write about the Boys team but I think this meet merits that both teams have their accomplishments recorded.

First off for the Thunder was the Girls team who put on a dominating performance. Junior Haley Wolf was the first Thunder runner to cross the finish line, taking second place with a time of 18:30. Following her was senior Baylee Jones (18:31) in 3rd, senior Emily Crall (18:35) in 4th, freshman Brooklyn Christofis (18:38) in 5th, and senior Mandy Davis (18:39) in 6th. Yes you read that right, five Thunder runners finished in the top six spots in the meet. Following this pack, with equally impressive times, was junior Kelly Harris (19:17) in 12th and senior Madi Bucci (19:55) in 28th. The Girls team scored a combined team score of 20 points (another DI record) beating second place Chandler by 85 points.

The next race of the morning was the Boys race, which had fireworks of its own.

For Desert Vista, the first runner to cross the finish was junior Habtamu Cheney in fourth with a time of 15:54, earning a spot on this year's 1st-Team All-State squad. This was his second State Meet and his 19-second improvement over last year makes him only the second Thunder Runner ever to break the 16-minute mark at the State Meet, joining 2015 Arizona D1 Boys State Champion DJ Harris (15:50). This season, he ran an insane 15:01 (3mile) at Woodbridge and his 15:36 (5k) at Desert Twilight puts him in position to challenge the DVCC 5k record of 15:20 next year.

Next for the Thunder came junior Reece Donihi in 11th (16:14). This was also his second State Meet and his 16-second improvement over last year earned him a spot on this year's 2nd-Team All-State squad. Early this season he ran a blazing 15:20 (3mile) at Woodbridge and then battled back from injury to run his best 5k of the season at the State Meet.

Senior co-captain Chris D’Angelo was next in 14th (16:21), also earning a spot on the 2nd-Team All-State squad.  This was his third State Meet, with his previous State Meet performances both earning him 3rd-Team All-State honors. He has the distinction of completing his career as the first (and only) three-time State Championship Team Runner in Thunder history.  This season he ran a blazing 15:19 (3mile) at Woodbridge and a 15:39 (5k) at Desert Twilight.

Junior Nick Thatcher was next in 16th (16:30), earning 3rd-Team All-State honors in his first appearance at the State Meet. He fought through some major challenges this season and was able to post a fine 16:22 (5k) at Desert Twilight.

Junior Aksel Laudon was next in 20th (16:33) and he also achieved 3rd-Team All-State honors in his first State Meet appearance. He posted an impressive 16:05 (5k) at Desert Twilight.

Rounding out this year's Championship Squad were junior D’Angelo Piasecki (16:56) in 38th and sophomore Travis Kearney (17:19) in 52nd, each turning in solid performances in their first appearances at the State Meet. Earlier this season, each posted an impressive season-best (5k) at Desert Twilight, 16:12 and 16:26 respectively.

The Boys team had a team score of 57 points, a low score stemming from having five runners finish in the top 20 places. This victory was also somewhat narrow, with DV finishing 13 points ahead of second-place Brophy.

Overall Desert Vista posted unbelievable performances at the State Meet that will surely be remembered for many years to come. Both teams showcased why they are in fact the premier teams in Arizona. All the grind during the season certainly paid off and showed why hard work is important. Neither team can have a championship hangover though, as the Nike Cross Regionals (NXR) is on the horizon. At NXR the best teams in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah all converge in Casa Grande to try and qualify for the Nike Cross Nationals (NXN) in Oregon, a feat only one Thunder team has done in the past. Both teams certainly have the potential to qualify. Potential is just a word though, what really matters is action. If both teams put into action the training they have done all season, there is no reason why we cannot emerge on top.

As always a huge thank you is in order for the coaches, parents, and boosters who are the backbone of Desert Vista Cross-Country. All of the amazing accomplishments of the team are not possible without your help and I hope all of you know that.

Go Thunder!!!

Related Information:

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

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