Lady ’Stangs team, two individual Mustangs qualify for state cross country meet
NEEDLES — The Needles High School Lady ’Stangs cross country team and two individual Mustang cross country runners qualified to run in the NIAA 2A State Championship meet. The qualifier was the NIAA 2A South League championships run Oct. 26 at Veterans Memorial Park in Boulder City.
Aliyah Rentas, Imperia Phillips, Payton Sahlstrom, Lynsey Federico and Ashleigh Blackwell make up the Lady ’Stangs Cross Country team who qualified for state. The two Mustang runners who qualified for state as individuals were Christian Zuniga and Collin Leivas.
“The girls team really surprised me this year,” said Chuck Stahl, cross country head coach. “We have a young core of runners in the girls team this year and I wasn’t sure how (successful) they could be. They worked hard all year long and earned a spot in the state meet this year. I’m very proud of them.”
In order for the cross country runners to qualify in the state meet they had to have a good outing at the NIAA 2A South League Championship meet.
When total points are announced the lower the score a team has the higher in the standings they are placed.
For the Mustangs, Zuniga finished in 14th place with a time of 20:53.5 and Leivas came in 15th with a time of 20:53.7. The Mustangs as a team scored 81 points.
“Before we go to the meet I go over a hypothetical with our team and this time I told them that we needed to make up 11 points to qualify for state as a team,” said Stahl. “We were able to close the gap but we just missed the cut by six points to the Laughlin Cougars, who scored 75 points.”
For the Lady ’Stangs, Sahlstrom finished in 11th place with a time of 27:08.5; Federico came in 15th at 29:52.2; Blackwell came in 18th at 32:40.7; Phillips came in 19th at 37:15. Overall, the Lady ’Stangs came in second with a score of 43.
“When I told the girls that they were able to qualify as a team for state, I could tell that they were getting nervous,” said Stahl. “They were able to shake off their nerves and did a great job in the meet to be able to reach the goal that they had set for themselves.
“When we qualified for state my message to the cross country team was to enjoy the moment, have fun and give it your all,” said Stahl. “We are looking for personal best and to keep on working on our techniques to get better.”