Peñasco Lady Panthers Repeat As State Champions: Mesa Vista Takes Second In Class A-2A, Mora Surprises In Third

by Staff Reporter / Nov 07, 2017 / comments
The Peñasco Lady Panthers won their second straight Class A-2A state cross country championship. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Peñasco Lady Panthers Repeat As State Champions: Mesa Vista Takes Second In Class A-2A, Mora Surprises In Third

By George Morse Sports and Outdoors

The Peñasco High School Lady Panthers made it two state championships in a row in the Class A-2A girls cross country race. Peñasco pulled away to an easy win, scoring 32 points to second-place Cloudcroft High School’s 86 points. Hagerman High School was third with 38 points.

Peñasco sophomore Carly Gonzales returned to the awards podium to accept her first place medal after finishing a disappointing second last season. Gonzales had won her first state championship as a precocious eighth-grader in 2015. Gonzales finished with a time of 20 minutes, 36.55 seconds to easily outdistance Alamo Navajo High School’s Kennette Eracho, who took second place with a time of 21 minutes, 3.55 seconds.

Maricella MacAuley took fourth place for the Lady Panthers with a time of 21 minutes, 30.80 seconds. Adrianna Tafoya was 6th with a time of 22 minutes, 27.60 seconds and Estrella Gonzales came in 12th with a time of 23 minutes, 16.20 seconds for Peñasco. Martina Tafoya was the Lady Panthers fifth runner, finishing 14th with a time of 23 minutes, 21.30 seconds.

With only one senior (Gonzales) one this year’s team, the Lady Panthers look strong for the future.

“I have two eighth-graders, one senior and three sophomores,” Peñasco Coach Ben Sanchez said. “They work hard all year. They play volleyball and take classes at Northern (New Mexico College). They’re dedicated to sports and academics.”

With five of the members of the cross country team also playing volleyball, the Lady Panthers had little time to celebrate their success in cross country. After receiving their first-place trophy, they boarded a bus and headed to Tierra Amarilla to face Escalante High School in the District 5-2A tournament championship game. Peñasco made the hectic schedule and long bus ride a memorable experience, defeating Escalante 3-2 to win the district tournament championship. That earned the Lady Panthers a spot in the Class 2A state volleyball tournament.

Mesa Vista’s girls cross country team: Katalina Vigil (left), Aubrianna Martinez, Abrianna Griego, Maryssa Martin, Mia Pena. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Mesa Vista High School girls competed at the Class A-2A state cross country meet and finished in seventh place with 174 points. Junior Abrianna Griego led the Lady Trojans, finishing 17th with a time of 23 minutes, 56.35 seconds. Maryssa Martin was 32nd and Aubrianna Martinez 50th for Mesa Vista. Mia Pena came in 63rd and Katalina Vigil 64th for Mesa Vista.

 


BOYS

The Mesa Vista boys cross country team took second place in Class A-2A. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Mesa Vista High School senior Brian Gollas has seen the Mesa Vista High School cross country team grow from just something to do before basketball season into a state champion during his career as a Trojan. Starting as a freshman in 2014, Gollas was part of a Mesa Vista team that took home the Trojans’ first ever trophy from the state championships when Mesa Vista finished third in the Class A-2A boys cross country race. In 2015 and 2016, Mesa Vista took home the blue first-place trophy in Class A-2A from state. A parade through Ojo Caliente honored the team both years.

Mesa Vista’s Brian Gollas chases Navajo Pine’s Michael Marshall in the ClassA-2A boys state championship cross country race. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

There will be no first-place parade this year. The Trojans couldn’t pull off a three-peat, as Navajo Pine High School proved to be too tough for the Trojans at the 2017 Class A-2A state cross country championships Nov. 4 at Rio Rancho High School. Gollas, who had placed second last year in the individual standings, came in seventh this season.

Despite the disappointment and the tears that followed, Gollas was grateful he’d been able to experience it all.

Mesa Vista’s Brian Gollas is consoled by teammates Damian Trujillo and Ryan Garcia after the Class A-2A race. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

“The competition was heavy,” Gollas said. “Through all the ups and downs, it’s been a beautiful thing.”

The Warriors packed four runners into the top six places to pull off the victory. Navajo Pine scored 37 points to 69 points for the Trojans. Navajo Pine’s Michael Marshall took first place with a time of 17 minutes, 11.10 seconds. Teammate Galvin Curley was close behind in second place with a time of 17 minutes, 12.15 seconds. Marallus Chee came in fifth for the Warriors with a time of 17 minutes, 43.50 seconds and Dominique Clichee was sixth in 17 minutes, 57.75 seconds. There was a bit of a gap until the Warriors fifth runner, Micah Tsosie, came in 27th with a tme of 19 minutes, 31.60 seconds. By then, Navajo Pine had an insurmountable lead on Mesa Vista.

Brian Gollas’ time in seventh place was 18 minutes, .85 seconds.

Mesa Vista’s Brian Gollas chases Penasco’s Gilbert Valdez in the boys Class A-2A race. Gollas would finish seventh and Valdez eighth. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Danny Gollas was next, coming in 15th with a time of 18 minutes, 44.85 seconds. Teammate Damian Trujillo was close behind in 16th place with a time of 18 minutes, 45.95 seconds.

Mesa Vista's Damian Trujillo (759) and Danny Gollas lead a second pack of runners, with teammates Alejandro Trujillo and Jose Trujillo not far behind. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Anthony Vigil came in 19th for the Trojans in 18 minutes, 55.90 seconds. The Trojans’ fifth runner was Alejandro Trujillo in 20th place with a time of 18 minutes, 58.15 seconds.

Mora squeaked by Alamo Navajo High School for third place by the slimmest of margins, scoring 96 points to 97 for Alamo Navajo. The Rangers were led by Jerome Pacheco, who finished 11th with a time of 18 minutes, 19.35 seconds. Dalton Breault was 14the with a time of 18 minutes, 33.10 seconds. Roddy Martinez came in 22nd and Eloy Roybal was 25th for Mora. Carlos Arellano was the fifth runner for the Rangers, coming in 42nd with a time of 20 minutes, 13.35 seconds.

Mesa Vista’s boys cross country team: Ryan Garcia (left), Jose Trujillo, Brian Gollas, Damian Trujillo, Alejandro Trujillo, Anthony Vigil, Danny Gollas. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Peñasco High School had only one runner in the boys race. Eighth-grader Gilbert Valdez did a good job as the Panthers’ only competitor, finishing eighth with a time of 18 minutes, 1.35 seconds.

“It was painful and fast too,” Valdez said. “I liked it. It got kind of physical and I tried to stay out of it. Let them do their thing and pull me the way through. A lot of strategy.”