The Williams High School Vikings boys cross country team completed its first season Nov. 2 at the Division IV sectional meet in Holbrook.
Williams did not compete as a team at sectionals since they did not have all five runners. However, Gabe Chavez improved his personal record by a few seconds at the meet with a time of 22:06.34. Jorden Pirie also ran his personal best with a time of 25:54.22. Tyler Heggestad and Alex Clark came close to reaching their personal best times, and Chris Shelton did not compete.
"They really did better than what you might expect because you've got to remember that this is the first time that we've ever had a cross country team, and they're competing against the national champions," said coach Dan Ayub, referring to Hopi High School.
Ayub said he saw improvement in the team throughout the season leading up to the sectional meet.
Of their five regular season meets, the Vikings only competed as a full team with all five runners in Tuba City Oct. 12. At that meet, the Vikes finished seventh, which was the last of the full teams.
"Part of their course was a pretty steep hill that (the team) didn't enjoy very much," Ayub said.
Without all five runners, the Vikings competed individually in the rest of their meets.
Williams opened their season Sept. 21 at the Four Corners Invitational at Buffalo Park in Flagstaff. Ayub said the team enjoyed the course at that meet.
"They just felt comfortable, it was more like the environment they were used to running," he said.
On Oct. 14 Williams competed against Seligman and on Oct. 16 the Vikes competed in a city meet in Flagstaff. These were smaller meets, which Ayub said benefited team.
The Vikings' last regular season meet was Oct. 25 in Holbrook. Chavez led the team, but three runners posted personal best performances at the meet. Heggestad finished with a time of 24:47, Clark posted a time of 25:11 and Shelton came in at 27:01.
The Vikings' girls cross country team had one runner, Stephanie Wamble, complete the season. Wamble achieved her personal best time of 33:05 at the Flagstaff meet on Oct. 16.
Ayub said he hopes more students join the team next year, but said overall it was a good season.
"We were humbled because we don't do as well as the other teams that have been established for a while," Ayub said. "Even though we did not make it to state, we will be back next year to try again."