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Stephanie Bruce and children

Stephanie Bruce poses for a photo with her children.

NAZ Elite's Stephanie Bruce took fourth place in the 5,000-meter run at the USATF Distance Classic on Thursday at Jack Kemp Stadium in Los Angeles, setting a PR of 15:17.76 for a new team record.

It was the 35-year-old's second personal best at the distance in 2019. Bruce, who was coming of a PR performance and national title victory at the USATF Half Marathon Championship less than two weeks ago, posted her previous 5000m PR of 15:44.71 in late January on an indoor track.

This time she thrived outdoors, claiming the best split at the 3000m mark at 1:12.93 while moving up the pack halfway through the race. At the 2200m mark, Bruce owned a 6:34.05 time as she hit the gas. She moved into fifth place by the 2600m mark and worked into fourth place at 3,000 meters.

By the 3400m split, Bruce was one of three racers holding a time of 10:21 while she clung to fourth place. With the time, she surpassed the world championship A standard time of 15:21.

NAZ Elite recently announced that Bruce and teammate Aliphine Tuliamuk will compete at the BolderBOULDER 10K on Memorial Day.

WRESTLING

Cooper French, an Arizona folkstyle title-holder, added a Greco Roman state title performance to his impressive list of accomplishments this year on his way to trying for the triple crown.

Competing at the 16U level, a high school level, French claimed the Greco gold medal in the 120-pound weight class on Saturday in Tempe.

Since winning his folkstyle championship in February, French has wrestled in Virginia Beach, Nevada, New Mexico and various tournaments in Arizona in Greco Roman and freestyle. The freestyle state tournament is Saturday, and if he wins that championship he'll become a triple crown winner.

"He's got a tough weight class but he’s a tough kid," said Northern Arizona Grapplers club wrestling head coach Mike Schmieder, who is also at the helm of the Coconino Panthers program.

His training partners, Division III state champ Pedro Billups and Michael Woods, both Coconino Panthers, are in the wrestling room three to four days per week in addition to spending time in the weight room.

French, Billups and Anthony Escalara of the NAZ Grapplers have qualified for the Arizona national team that will represent the state in July in Fargo, North Dakota, at the junior nationals. This Saturday, the Graplers will look to qualify a few more wrestlers for the all-Arizona team as Nickolas Phillips and Tony Hernandez will battle for a spot.

French has wrestled for Sinagua Middle School, and Escalara is also an eighth-grader this year.

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