Canyon del Oro's Bridgette Doucet crosses the line in 18:37.6 on Saturday at the sectional meet at Marana High School. Doucet called the win over 3.1 miles "unreal."


Canyon del Oro sophomore Bridgette Doucet won the individual title at the Division II, Section II meet on Saturday in 18 minutes, 37.6 seconds.

Not only did it give the Dorados their first region champion since 1996, but it also gave CDO coach Rick Glider a pleasant surprise.

"I didn't expect this," Glider said about Doucet's time. "She's the fastest girl I've ever had and this is my 20th year for cross country."

Meanwhile, Catalina Foothills had six runners finish in the top 15 to run away with the team title and now the Falcons are looking to win their first state title since 2005.

The Falcons had two packs of three runners finish in the top 15 giving them a 42-point win. Sophomore Hannah Whetzel led the way, placing fourth in 19:09.

"We wanted next week to be when we go really hard but it just turned out to be this week too," Whetzel said.

Autumn Brown and Ally Vanasco were fifth and sixth, respectively.

"I think we're peaking at the right time," Vanasco said.

Ironwood Ridge's Kristin Powell placed second in 18:58.6 and the Nighthawks finished second as a team with 80 points.

"I know next weekend we can pick it up, we know what we need to do," said IR senior Melanie Zibrat, who was seventh (19:17.4). "It was a speed bump on the road to state."

Doucet said her goal is to finish in the top 10 at state, but Glider thinks she has a legitimate chance to win after her sectional performance.

"It's unreal, it's amazing," Doucet said. "I know it's the dedication of my parents and the dedication of my coaches, I wouldn't be here without them. I wouldn't even be running if it wasn't for all the motivation."

Division III, Section II

Sahuarita's Melissa Williams edged Gilbert Campo Verde's Marne Helbing to win her first section title in 19:54.7.

She was the only runner from Southern Arizona in the top seven and said she is going to take the same approach to state next week.

"I was really scared at the end because that girl was actually in front of me," Williams said. "The last two miles I tried to go as fast as I could."

Rio Rico was the top team from Southern Arizona, placing third with 108 points. Marielena Valencia led the way finishing eighth in 20:39.6.

Division IV, Section III

Pusch Ridge Christian's Sarah Macdonald, the defending state champion, won her fourth-straight regional title in 19:04.0 and led the way as the Lions swept the top four spots to capture the team title with 17 points.

"Our team is coming out strong," Macdonald said. "You're only as strong as your fifth runner and we have a lot of depth so ours could be anybody."

All top five runners finished in the top seven and within 2:40 of each other.

Cayley Hensley was second in 20:31.8 followed by Mali Smith in 20:51.2 and Kaylee Bowers in fourth in 21:02.01. Catherine Stypa was seventh in 21:43.2.

"Before the race I was talking to my team asking if anyone felt light," Macdonald said.

"I felt light, like feathery, and it's an awesome feeling before a race."