The start of one of the races at the UNM meet. Courtesy photo
George Morse Sports: Espanola, Pojoaque compete at UNM XC
By George Morse Sports and Outdoors
The Pojoaque Valley High School girls and boys cross country teams competed at the Lobo Invitational Cross Country Meet Sept. 3 at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
One of the largest meets held during the cross country season, the Lobo Invitational had 276 runners competing in the boys varsity race. For the girls, 245 runners battled to see who could cross the finish line first.
In the boys race, Albuquerque Academy, coached by Espanola Valley High School graduate Adam Kedge, took first place in the team competition with a low score of 85 points. One of the premier programs in the state, the Chargers have won 15 state cross country championships including the 2015 Class 5A state title
Los Alamos High School, which battles Academy at the state cross country meet and has won six championships including four in a row from 2011-2014, took ninth place with 300 points. The Hilltoppers were second behind Academy among the Class 5A schools at the meet.
Kirtland Central High School’s Kashon Harrison took first place with an outstanding time of 15 minutes, 33 seconds
Pojoaque, which competes in Class 4A, finished 15th in the team standings among the 38 teams competing. The Elks scored 453 points. Among the other Class 4A teams at the Lobo Invitational, Pojoaque placed 4th behind St. Michael’s High School (7th), East Mountain High School (8th) and Kirtland Central (12th).
The first Pojoaque runner to cross the finish line was Avery Torrez, who came in 60th with a time of 17 minutes, 25 seconds. Hot on his heels was teammate senior Dominic Roybal, who was 62nd with a time of 17:26. John Hall was the third Pojoaque runner to cross the finish line, coming in 71st with a time of 17:32. More than a minute later, Pojoaque’s Mario Santistevan crossed the line in 18:33 in 139th place. Jesiah Martinez was next, coming in 141st in 18:37 to complete the scoring for Pojoaque’s top five runners.
In the girls race, Class 6A Rio Rancho High School took first place with 50 points. Amanda Mayoral of Class 6A Sue Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho came in first with a time of 19 minutes, nine seconds.
Los Alamos High School was 16th in the team standings and third among the Class 5A teams behind Academy and St. Pius X High School (12th).
Pojoaque finished 18th overall in the team standings with 471 points. Among Class 4A teams, the Elkettes were 5th behind Taos High School (4th), East Mountain (13th), Hope Christian High School (14th) and St. Michael’s (15th).
Senior Megan Herrera paced Pojoaque, coming in 64th with a time of 21 minutes, 47 seconds. Herrera has been running varsity cross country since the eighth grade and has been among the top 10 runners in her class for four straight years. She came in fourth overall in the 2015 Class 4A girls race.
After Herrera, the next Pojoaque runner to cross the finish line was Michaela Martinez, who was 87th with a time of 22:14. Consuelo Quintana wasn’t far behind, finishing 91st in 22:20. Miranda Grasmick was 116th with a time of 22:50 and Taylor Roybal was 120th with a time of 23 minutes as the fifth runner for the Elkettes.
The Elkettes brought home the third-place trophy from the 2015 Class 4A state cross country competition. All of their runners from last year return.
The Espanola Valley High School boys cross country team came in 20th in the team standings at the Lobo Invitational with 637 points. Espanola was fourth among the Class 5A teams at the Lobo Invitational behind Academy, Los Alamos and Del Norte High School (18th).
The Sundevils compete in District 2-5A, which includes Academy, Los Alamos, Del Norte and Capital High School. Del Norte is the team that Espanola has set its sights on in district competition. The top three teams from each district in the state qualify for the state cross country meet.
Pacing the Sundevils at the Lobo Invitational was Lorenzo Gasca, who finished 90th with a time of 17 minutes, 46 seconds. Ryan Trujillo came in close behind Gasca, finishing 93rd in 17:47. Axel Zamarron came in 133rd with a time of 18:31. Christian Arzipuro came in 172nd with a time of 19:15 and Luis Molina was 175th in 19:16 to complete the scoring for the Sundevils.
In the girls race at the Lobo Invitational, the Lady Sundevils came in 24th with 618 points. Espanola was fifth among the Class 5A teams, finishing behind Academy, St. Pius X, Los Alamos and Gallup High School (23rd). The Lady Sundevils were well ahead of Del Norte (31st).
Faith Trujillo, daughter of Espanola Coach Julio Trujillo, paced the Lady Sundevils. She finished 111th with a time of 22 minutes, 45 seconds. Teammate Jayden Archuleta was right behind her in 112th place with a time of 22:47. Three members of the Sundevils girls basketball team were the next runners to cross the line for the Lady Sundevils. Kaylinn Martinez was at 126th place with a time of 23:02. Leah DeAguero came in 137th with a time of 23:17 and Kaylee Chavez came in 152nd with a time of 23:41.
Espanola and Pojoaque will be competing at the Academy for Technology and the Classics Everybody meet Saturday in Santa Fe.