Pojoaque Take Second At State, Elkettes Place Sixth

by Staff Reporter / Nov 07, 2017 / comments
The Pojoaque Valley boys cross country team: Mario Santisstevan, Zach Hall, Donovan Lujan, Avery Torrez, Jesiah Martinez, John Hall, Santiago Romero. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Pojoaque Take Second At State, Elkettes Place Sixth

By George Morse Sports and Outdoors

It was not the ending that the Pojoaque Valley High School boys cross country team wanted at the Class 4A state cross country championships Nov. 4 at Rio Rancho High School. In what was a two-team battle for first place, the Elks couldn’t catch the defending state champion Navajo Prep Eagles. Packing in their top five runners within 40 seconds of each other, Navajo Prep withstood Pojoaque’s challenge and beat the Elks with a score of 78 points to 89 points for Pojoaque.

Sandia Prep’s Epherem Zerai and Pojoaque’s Avery Torres lead the pack, but would later fade back and not finish in the top 10 in the Class 4A boys state championship cross country race. West Las Vegas’ Miguel Coca (#945) would finish first. West Las Vegas’ J.J. Esqibel (#946) would finish second and the Dons Isaiah Paiz (#950) would finish third. St. Michael’s Justin Angel would take fourth and Pojoaque’s John Hall finished fifth. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

 

Junior John Hall led the way for the Elks. He finished fifth with a time of 17 minutes, 10.25 seconds. He has consistently been Pojoaque’s first runner most of the season. He has improved dramatically from his sophomore year.

Pojoaque’s John Hall leads St. Michael’s Eli Seward down a hill at the state cross country meet. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

“I put in a lot of work this summer,” Hall said. “We all did.”

Injuries played a part in Pojoaque’s fortunes. Senior Avery Torrez, who had consistently run with Hall during the season, was battling injuries at state. Torrez’s heart was willing, as he flashed in front of the pack at the start. His body couldn’t keep up with his heart. He faded back as the race wore on and finished the race in 66th place.

“He led us all year,” Pojoaque Coach Alan Lockridge said Nov. 5 at the team’s awards banquet. “He made sure this team was ready.”

Another leader who tried his best for Pojoaque in the final race of his high school career was senior Mario Santistevan. Running what may have been his best effort of the season, Santistevan came in 13th overall with a time of 17 minutes, 44.40 seconds.

“I knew I had to step up for the team,” Santistevan said. “End my season on a good note. I ran as hard as I can.”

Pojoaque’s Mario Santistevan runs between two Navajo Prep runners in the Class 4A boys state championship race. Santistevan finished 12th overall. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Santistevan was not the only runner to step up.

“Mario had a great run,” Coach Lockridge said. “Donovan (Lujan)-boom-and Jesiah. They were great. Santi (Santiago Romero) is normally my third runner.”

Lujan, a sophomore who worked his way up from the junior varsity, finished 20th with a time of 17 minutes, 59.25 seconds. Senior Martinez came in 26th with a time of 18 minutes, 13.95 seconds. Freshman Romero came in 29th with a time of 18 minutes, 18.30 seconds as Pojoaque’s fifth runner.

“We raced good,” Coach Lockridge said. “We did everything we could.”

Pojoaque’s Santiago Romero (#822) and Donovan Lujan (#820) head down the hill. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Navajo Prep was led by senior Cameron Becenti, who finished eighth with a time of 17 minutes, 21.85 seconds. Behind Becenti was where the Eagles packed their runners in. Junior Tyrease James finished 17th  and right behind him was junior Trejon Clichee in 18th place. Behind them in 19th place was another junior, Tyrese Begay. Coming in as the Eagles’ fifth runner in 21st place was junior Dante Barton, securing a second straight state championship for Navajo Prep.

The Dons of West Las Vegas High School swept the first three spots in the individual championship. Senior Miguel Coca ran away from the pack in first place with a time of 16 minutes, 20.05 seconds. In second place was the Dons’ J. J. Esquibel with a time of 16 minutes, 45.05 seconds. Junior Isaiah Paiz completed West Las Vegas’ sweep of the top three individual spots, coming in with a time of 16 minutes, 50.65 seconds.

After that there was an anxious wait for the Dons’ next two runners. Jared Baca and Omar Gallado came in 53rd and 54th, respectively, to give West Las Vegas a spot on the awards podium to receive the third-place trophy.

The Dons edged past Santa Fe Indian School, scoring 101 points to 109 for the Braves. Thomas Lucero led Indian School, coming in 10th with a time of 17 minutes, 30.85 seconds.

St. Michael’s High School was close by in fifth place with 119 points. Justin Angel finished in fourth place with a time of 17minutes, 4.65 seconds. Eli Seward was sixth with a time of 17 minutes, 13.65 seconds for the Horsemen.

 

The Pojoaque boys with their second-place trophy. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

 


GIRLS

The Pojoaque Valley High School girls cross country team had made it a goal to return to the Class 4A state championships after not qualifying last season. The Elkettes accomplished that goal Oct. 27th with a third-place finish at the District 2-4A meet. Making its reappearance at state, Pojoaque ran a strong sixth in the team standings with 141 points.

Pojoaque girls cross country team: Alicia Sanchez, Consuelo Quintana, Dallas Archibald, Michaela Martinez, Amerie Onesalt, Taylor Roybal, Danielle Jimenez. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Leading the way for Pojoaque was sophomore Amerie Onesalt. Plagued by injuries in earlier meets, Onesalt came in 14th overall with a time of 21 minutes, 35.50 seconds.

Pojoaque’s Amerie Onesalt. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Michaela Martinez, another sophomore, came in 27th with a time of 22 minutes, 12.50 seconds and close behind her was senior Consuelo Quintana in 29th place with a time of 22 minutes, 16.95 seconds.

Pojoaque’s Michaela Martinez. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Senior Dallas Archibald was 41st with a time of 22 minutes, 43.55 seconds. Junior Taylor Roybal was Pojoaque’s fifth runner, coming in 51st with a time of 23 minutes, 16.75 seconds.

Pojoaque’s Taylor Roybal. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Senior Danielle Jimenez finished 59th and sophomore Alicia Sanchez finished 69th for Pojoaque.

“It wasn’t my best race,” Quintana said. “To be able to run with the girls at state was all that mattered.”

Pojoaque’s Dallas Archibald. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Coach Lockridge was pleased that the girls had made it back to state and run well.

“I’m very happy,” he said. “They stepped up and that was their best race of the season.  They ran well and they were passing people at the end.”

As expected, Taos High School easily took first place with 31 points. The lady Tigers swept the first three individual spots. Freshman Ella Katz took first with a time of 20 minutes, 18.80 seconds. Senior Cora Cannedy, the defending state champion, was second with a time of 20 minutes, 26.45 seconds. Eighth-grader Alyx Mastor came in third with a time of 20 minutes, 27.05 seconds. Freshman Erin Manchester-Jones came in 10th to give the Lady Tigers four runners in the top 10 finishers. Freshman Kelly Tonrey finished 18th as Taos’ fifth runner.

Hope Christian High School took second place with 76 points. Junior Kylie Poole led the Lady Huskies, finishing fifth with a time of 20 minutes, 35.20 seconds. Shiprock High School was third with 98 points. Freshman Elena Hardy and junior Kahdija Lapadie finished sixth and seventh, respectively, for the Lady Chieftains. Robertson High School came in fourth with 129 points. Junior Mikayla Quintana was fourth overall with a time of 20 minutes, 29.25 seconds.