The Paradise Valley men’s cross country team placed fourth at the Drews/Neubauer Cross Country Invitational Saturday, October 14. The Pumas placed five runners in the top 76 as they came away with their best team finish ever in the race. The invitational was held in Ettrick, Wisconsin, and was hosted by NCAA Division III powerhouse, University of Wisconsin- La Crosse. “We did a great job against some very good four-year schools,” stated Coach David Barney. “We’ve still got some work to do, but we had a strong race, and things are coming together!”
The Pumas, ranked fourth nationally in the latest USTFCCCA national cross country poll, were led by Sophomore Tyler Beauchamp. Beauchamp placed 12th overall in the field of 356 runners and ran a time of 25:36 over the wet, hilly, 8000-meter course. “Tyler’s really starting to come around,” commented Barney, “he’s getting a good feel for 8000 meters, and that kid can run!” Beauchamp was followed by freshman Nicolas Caruso in 21st place (with a time of 25:53), sophomore Andres Rodriguez-Story, 41st (26:14), sophomore Hunter Hicks, 58th (26:27), sophomore Aldo Marquez-Barajas, 76th (26:44), freshman Wesley Cook, 86th (26:49), and freshman Vaughn Jackson, 252nd (29:16). “Nic really stepped it up this week,” said Barney, “He ran with a lot of poise and a lot of guts.” “We’ve got a few other guys who are ready to make big jumps; when they do we should look pretty good!”
On the women’s side, only two Pumas traveled to Wisconsin and both ran strong races. Sophomore Lauren Markee led the charge with her 145th place finish and time of 25:43 over the very hilly 6000-meter course. Markee was followed by freshman Danah Smith who placed 198th and ran a time of 26:33.
The Pumas return to action on October 28th when they compete in the NJCAA Region I Championship meet. The men’s race will start at 9:00 a.m.; the women will begin at 9:45. Both races will be run at the Shalimar Golf Course in Tempe, AZ.