Our neighbors at Blue Ridge High School in Lakeside-Pinetop are enjoying a banner postseason of prep sports.
It all began Nov. 3 with the Yellow Jacket boys and girls soccer teams winning Class 1A-3A state championships.
The BR boys used superior depth to defeat Tucson St. Gregory 3-1 for the state title. The Lady Yellow Jackets stung the Show Low Cougars 5-1 in the state finale. In the Class 3A state cross country championships, Blue Ridge finished as state runner-up to Chinle but produced the event's top two individuals -- champion Jessica Rydberg and runner-up, Emerald Raney.
The Yellow Jacket volleyball team took a state-opening round 3-0 win over Tuba City, but lost in the quarterfinals to eventual state champion Parker.
In football, BR is undefeated, number-one ranked and a huge favorite to win the Class 3A state title.
If Blue Ridge continues to excel throughout the remainder of the school year, the Jackets could be a candidate for the Arizona Interscholastic Association's Don F. Stone Award, which goes to the 1A-3A school that exhibits overall excellence in interscholastic activities.
Payson High School won the prestigious awards in the spring 1999 after the Longhorns fielded state championship team in football, wrestling and baseball.
Gearing up for best of times with New Times 10K
The New Times running events held each fall, most recently on the streets of Tempe, but previously in downtown Phoenix, have traditionally drawn a good number of Rim Country runners.
Many of those believe the New Times is a highlight of the 5K and 10K fall running circuit, mostly because of the hoopla surrounding the competitions.
Along the route bands play, belly dancers twist and turn, jugglers perform and radio stations fill the airways with music, keeping the aura more festive than most runs. Before and after the events, there are ample free goodies and plenty of goings-on in a park-like area near Mill Avenue.
Those who stay around for most all the activities will end up spending the day in festive downtown Tempe.
Simply put, the runs can certainly test your resolve, but the festivities, celebrations and freebies make the events well worthwhile.
The only event I consider the equal of the New Times on the fun factor meter is the annual Pat Tillman 4.2-mile run, held each spring on the campus of Arizona State University.
For those planning on attending this year's runs, which will be held Nov. 11 on Mill Avenue, here is the schedule of events:
CITIZENS' 10K RUN (6.2 MILES) - 8:30 AM
Certificate for running shoes from Performance Footwear are awarded to overall male and female top finisher. Medals will be mailed to to the top three Male and Female winners in each of the following age divisions. 10 & Under, 11--15, 16--19, 20--24, 25--29, 30--34, 35--39, 40--44, 45--49, 50--54, 55--59, 60--64, 65--69, 70-74 and 75+. Results for both the 5K and 10K runs will be available on this Web site. Award winners will be posted in the Nov. 22 issue of the New Times.
5K RUN (3.1 MILES) - 7:45 a.m.
Certificate for running shoes from Performance Footwear are awarded to overall male and female finisher. Custom medals will be mailed to the top three male and female finishers in the following age divisions: 10 and under, 11-15, 16-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60- 64, 65-69, 70-74 and 75+. Award winners will be posted in the Nov. 22 issue of the New Times.
5K STROLLER STROLL
(3.1 MILES) - 7:46 AM
This is a on-competitive event for adults, while tots ride free. The Stroller Stroll is not a timed event, so participants need not get a timing chip. Strollers line up behind the last walker. Decorate your stroller and win some great prizes.
10K (6.2 MILES) - 8:29 a.m.
Physically challenged participants who are trained racing athletes with racing wheelchairs are invited to compete for medals and prize money. Because of safety factors, all other wheelchair participants must line up toward the back of their chosen event. Medals are given to the top 3 male and female finishers. All competitive wheelchair athletes must have a timing chip.
NIKE KIDS DASH 10 a.m. FREE
This 1K (approximately 1/4 mile) dash is free to all kids 10 years of age and under. A non-competitive event, it will start and finish on the west side of Mill Avenue, across from the finish line. The first 300 entrants who present their race bibs at the Nike booth on the day of the event will receive free Kids Dash T-shirt. Entry form must be filled out and signed by a parent or legal guardian. The event is administered by AzTech Training Program, and the Lost Boys of the Sudan. All kids will receive a participant.
THE AGE RACE PRESENTED BY PERFORMANCE FOOTWEAR
Beat Your Age Challenge: Participants who complete the 10K in a time less than their age on Race Day will receive a certificate in the mail celebrating their accomplishment. There is no need for special sign up to be eligible. You can be a winner even if you don't win the race or your age group. Example: If you are 40 and run a 39:22 - you did it.
For more information, log on to: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/10k/index.php