Runners from 17 Great Hearts Middle School, BASIS charter schools and other smaller organizations’ cross-country teams raced through Paloma Community Park in Peoria recently, thanks to a bevy of coaches, parents and volunteers. 

The athletes christened the terrain at 7 a.m. when they dashed out of the starting gate on the 1.82-mile run coordinated by Peoria’s Recreation Superintendent, Kevin Naughton; Glendale Prep’s coach Steven Whetstine; and Anthem Prep’s coach Jamie Hays.

For Paloma Park’s first race, the coaches, parents and volunteers used 500 brightly colored cones to delineate a cross-country course out of multiuse fields, a fishpond trail and sidewalks. 

The men’s team from Glendale Prep placed first (52 points) and Benjamin Franklin second (58 points). The women’s team from Veritas Prep (42 points) took the top spot with Scottsdale Prep (67 points) just behind. 

“I wish all of our events were like this event held in a beautiful park with such a great course for our athletes,” said Scottsdale Prep coach Jackie Martz. 

The hosting teams of Glendale and Anthem preparatory academies thank the city of Peoria for their hospitality.