Cougar XC Quest For State


Evan Schubert, News Editor

Sahuaro Cross Country is an almost 50-year old tradition that has existed since the school’s beginning. A long list of talented and devoted runners headline multiple seasons of highly competitive teams, chasing continuous post-season appearances and knocking off top rivalries such as Sabino, Buena, and Catalina Foothills. Sahuaro’s track record holds top times run by past alumni including Kyel Powell, Anthony Estrella, and Travis Burkel. They truly have been missed as the program is on a two-year State drought, coming in dead last at sectionals a year ago. Led by coaches Pam North and Andrew Christian, the Cougars are locked in and hungry to get back to where they belong. A young and capable group is highlighted by other sport athletes, first time runners, transfer students, and family legacies, all hoping that together they can go the distance. Only seven can make varsity, but there is plenty of talent competing for the few spots.

Frank Moreno – Senior PR (personal record) -16:53

He has remained one of the most recognizable runners at the school. Frank has the 5th fastest time in school history and feels this year is his year. Frank will be leading this team of young runners as the veteran, expected to lead this team as far as possible. His experience is undeniable, having been distance running since deep into middle school. He’s the only male to have run at Sahuaro all four years, and should be the top runner on the team all year.

Hayden Estrella – Sophomore PR – 20:34

A cross country family legacy is being carried on as Hayden succeeds his brother Anthony, holder of the second fastest time in school history, and current collegiate athlete. His father, Sahuaro principal Roberto Estrella, was a renowned runner himself. Hayden ran more miles in the off-season than anyone else and his limitless potential has everyone anticipating a huge breakout season.

Nathan Schafer – Junior PR – 18:30

Nathan is one of the top returning runners this year and is among the most talented on the team. He’s a rare breed of athlete where he can show up and easily run a time the first day that many try to achieve by the end of the season. He is expected to be a team leader on this team next season after Frank Moreno’s graduation.

Evan Schubert – Junior PR – 18:42

Another junior expected to co-lead with Nathan next fall, Evan is a transfer student from Saint Augustine, and is expected to instantly be inserted as one of the top runners on the team. Coming from a cross country powerhouse, he has shown a lot of potential but has been set back by injury. That being said, Evan is ready to display his abilities over the two seasons remaining in his career.

Daniel Ahasteen – Sophomore PR – 20:45

His heart was with basketball his whole life until his Freshman year. His friends encouraged him to join and now he has grown an attachment, leaving basketball behind to pursue a career in running. He was a lucky discovery last year and played a valuable role on the varsity team a year ago.

Ronald Sabatino – Sophomore PR – 20:42

This will be his first year running cross country. That being said, he is among the most talented runners on the team. Ronnie has the fastest 800 meter time in the school and has the potential to be one of the elite distance runners in the program.

Angel Cruz – Senior PR – 18:42

Angel is a senior with a lot to prove this year, as this will be his first full cross country season as a Sahuaro Cougar. His height adds a lot of talent to this roster, and helps round out the varsity squad. He has been running since middle school which makes him one of the most tenured on the team, and has said to be already re-falling in love with the sport all over again

Joseph Healey-Stewart – Sophomore PR – 23:40

Standing at only 5 foot and 1 inch, Joey competes in a sport where the ideal athlete has long legs and stand over 5’10. His efforts more than make up for it, as he is expected to be another strong returning sophomore for us come state time.

Whichever seven makes the cut will be pushed by other team members and all will hopefully be proud members of a 2016 Cougar state Cross Country team.