Española Boys, Girls Headed to State

by Staff Reporter / Oct 31, 2017 / comments
The Española Valley boys cross country team at the beginning of the District 2-5A boys race Oct. 27 at Española. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Española Boys, Girls Headed to State

By George Morse Sports and Outdoors

For the Española Valley High School boys cross country team, it was all about getting to state. After not qualifying for state last year, the Sundevils were determined to qualify for state this year. Hosting the District 2-5A cross country meet, Española would be competing with Del Norte High School and Capital High School for third place.    

The first place, second place and third place teams at the District 2-5A met would qualify for state. Albuquerque Academy and Los Alamos High School, both perennial powerhouses in New Mexico high school cross country competition, would battle for first and second place. Since 1998, either Los Alamos or Academy has been the boys state champion. For the girls, either Academy of Los Alamos has been the state champion every year since 2000 except for 2008.

Competing on their home course, the Sundevils got the job done, narrowly edging out Del Norte High School for third place. The Sundevils scored 95 points, while the Knights scored 100 points. Capital took fifth place with 129 points.

Leading the way for Española was senior Daylon Garcia, who came in 11th with a time of 16 minutes, 31.61 seconds. Freshman Juan Branch came in 18th with a time of 17 minutes, 19.30 seconds. Junior Ryan Trujillo finished right behind Branch in 19th place with a time of 17 minutes, 29.92 seconds. Eighth-grader Ricky Padilla was 23rd in 17 minutes, 57.58 seconds and sophomore AJ Cordova was 24th with a time of 18 minutes, 16.55 seconds as Española’s fifth runner.

Española Valley’s Daylon Garcia finished 11th at the District 2-5A cross country meet. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Junior Jerome Trujillo came in 28th for the Sundevils and eighth-grader Cesar Pasos was 29t

Garcia, the team’s only senior, has been Española’s top runner all season.

“I think I could have stepped it up a little bit more,” Garcia said. “I went out too fast.”

Garcia will be shooting for a top-10 finish at state, which would earn him All-State honors. He has not performed well in large fields like he’ll face at state.

“I get overwhelmed,” he said. “I plan to concentrate on myself. Not go out too fast and burn myself out. Try to stay with them. Towards the end see if I can pass some people.”

As expected, Academy and Los Alamos battled it out for the top two spots. Academy took first place with 20 points. The Chargers’ A. J. Kedge took first place with a time of 15 minutes, 34.80 seconds. Teammate Julian Garcia was second in 15 minutes, 55.49 seconds. Justin Hickey was fourth, Oliver Pilon fifth and Chase Keller eighth for Academy.

Los Alamos scored 45 points in second place. Freshman Rafael Sanchez crossed the finish line in third place with a time of 16 minutes, 2.45 seconds. Shawn Williams finished seventh for the Hilltoppers with a time of 16 minutes, 21.30 seconds. Kevin Parkinson came in 10th for Los Alamos. Steven Strevell was 12th for the Hilltoppers and Josh Strevell came in 13th as Los Alamos’ fifth runner.

Del Norte’s Ronson Begay came in sixth with a time of 16 minutes, 20.89 seconds. Capitals Joseph Namingha finished 17th and Del Norte’s Cruz Silva was 20th. Those three runners qualified for state as individuals.


GIRLS

The Española Valley girls cross country team at the start of the District 2-5A girls race. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

The Española Valley girls cross country team did not face the challenge that the boys' team had to deal with. Capital and Del Norte did not enter full teams of five runners in the District 2-5A meet. That gave the Lady Sundevils a spot at state because only Española, Academy and Los Alamos had full teams. The lady Sundevils could finish no worse than third, but the team didn’t know it until just before race time.

“Our coach (Julio Trujillo) kept it from us because he wanted us to run our hardest,” senior Faith Trujillo said.

Faith Trujillo was the only senior on the girls team and has been their lead runner all season. She finished 13th with a time of 20 minutes, 55.17 seconds. Junior Jayden Archuleta came in 15th with a time of 23 minutes, 45.33 seconds. Freshman Emily Chavez was 16th with a time of 23 minutes, 56.74 seconds. Junior Megan Rael came in 18th with a time of 23 minutes, 59.58 seconds and freshman Amanda Watatsuma was 19th with a time of 25 minutes, 12.54 seconds. Freshman Nayeli Gallegos was 20th and junior Alysia Martinez 21st for Española.

Española Valley’s Faith Trujillo finished 13th at the District 2-5A cross country meet. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

“Throughout the year, we bonded as a team,” Faith Trujillo said. “Hopefully, more will be encouraged to come out.”

As with the boys, the girls race was dominated by Academy and Los Alamos. The Lady Chargers dominated the race and recorded a perfect score of 15 points by sweeping the top five places. Junior Toby Utterback took first with a time of 19 minutes, 5.80 seconds. Freshman Grace Archibeck came in second with a time of 19 minutes, 7.02 seconds. Junior Jane Archibeck was third. Junior Celeste Martinez came in fourth and senior Carly Wall was fifth for Academy.

The Lady Hilltoppers scored 49 points and were led by junior Marin Kelly, who finished seventh with a time of 19 minutes, 45.42 seconds. Freshman Megan Pyle finished ninth with a tie of 20 minutes, 6.36 seconds. Sophomore Abby Beus was 10th. Junior Paulina Burnside came in 11th and eighth-grader Kamaya Ronning was 12th for the Lady Hilltoppers.

Del Norte’s Trinity Yazzie and Ariana Castillo-Mungui, along with Capital’s Audrey Gonzalez, qualified for state as individuals.

Academy’s sweep of both the boys and girls District 2-5A championships made for a successful homecoming for Coach Adam Kedge, an Española Valley graduate.

“It was nice to see Coach Kedge’s team and especially his son, dominating in his old stomping grounds,” Española Coach Julio Trujillo said in a message.

The New Mexico State Cross Country championship will be held Saturday (11/4) at Rio Rancho High School in Rio Rancho. The first race will start at 9:30 a.m.