Local Schools Compete In Rio Rancho XC Jamboree

4A girls near the start of the race. Photos courtesy of Marcos Herrera 

Local Schools Compete In Rio Rancho XC Jamboree

By George Morse Sports and Outdoors

The Rio Rancho Jamboree cross country meet Oct. 15 at Rio Rancho High School is the largest in the state after the New Mexico State cross country meet, which is also at Rio Rancho and will be held Nov. 5 this year. Because the Jamboree is held on the same cross country course as the State meet, schools from across the state attend the meet to give their runners an opportunity to compete on the same course they will compete on at State. It also provides a measuring stick for schools to see how they stack up against other schools in their class and districts.

The downside is that the fields in the boys and girls races, which include a championship race for the top high schools from across the state, a varsity race and a junior varsity race, will be the largest

they will see all season. The races are also divided between large schools (Classes 6A-4A) and small schools (Classes 3A-1A). A total of ten races are held at the Jamboree, with each race having anywhere from 130 to over 250 runners participating.

Get caught back in the pack and it can be very tough advancing through the crowd of runners ahead of you.

“I like that we get to run the course,” Pojoaque Valley Coach Alan Lockridge said. “I don’t like the number of runners.”

Pojoaque got a healthy dose of reality at this year’s Rio Rancho Jamboree. Fresh off first-place finishes at the Norther New Mexico Challenge meet Oct. 8 at San Ildefonso, the Elks and Elkettes finished well back in the middle of the pack at Rio Rancho.

Photos courtesy of Marcos Herrera

The Class 4A Elks ended up finishing 16th overall in a field of 30 teams that included 197 runners in the boys championship race. Class 6A Hobbs High School took first with 90 points. Kashon Harrison of Class 5A Kirtland Central High School took first place with a time of 15 minutes, 27 seconds.

More importantly for Pojoaque, they were fourth among the Class 4A teams in the race. East Mountain High School was seventh with 227 points. Shiprock High School was 13th with 383 points and Navajo Prep School 14th with 393 points.

The Elks fared better against teams in their District 2-4A, finishing ahead of St. Michael’s High School (20th), Taos High School (21st) and Santa Fe Indian School (22nd). Only three teams from each district can qualify for state, so it’s a real dogfight shaping up at the District 2-4A meet for those three slots. One good team is going to be left out.

The strength of the Elks is their ability to pack well and that was the case at the Jamboree. Only 35 seconds separated the Elks first runner from Pojoaque’s fifth runner.

Senior Dominic Roybal led the way, coming in 64th with a time of 17 minutes, 29 seconds (17:29). Junior Avery Torrez was 71st in 17:32. Sophomore John Hall came in 83rd with a time of 17:40 and eighth-grader Santiago Romero 102nd in 17:55. Junior Mario Santistevan was the Elks’ fifth runner, coming in 115th with a time of 18:04.

Photos courtesy of Marcos Herrera

The Elkettes wound up finishing 17th in a field of 28 teams and 198 runners, scoring 465 points. Class 6A Rio Rancho High School took first place with 32 points. Amanda Mayoral of Class 6A Sue Cleveland High School took first place with a time of 18 minutes, 47 seconds.

Pojoaque finished sixth among the Class 4A high schools. Taos High School was 6th with 206 points. East Mountain was eighth with 283 points, while Shiprock (12th), St. Michael’s (15th) and Hope Christian High School (16th) all finished in front of the Elkettes.

Among District 2-4A schools that Pojoaque will face at the district meet, the Elkettes were third behind Taos and St. Michael’s.

Senior Megan Herrera paced Pojoaque, coming in 53rd with a time of 21 minutes, 8 seconds. Herrera has finished among the top 10 runners the last four years at state in her class since she began running as an eighth-grader. She will have her work cut out for her if she is going to make it five years. Individually, she finished 11th among the Class 4A runners in the girls championship race.

Junior Consuelo Quintana was the next runner to finish the race for Pojoaque. She was 82nd with a time of 21:54. Senior Miranda Grasmick came in 87th four seconds behind Quintana. Freshman Michaela Martinez was 102nd with a time of 22:13 and sophomore Taylor Roybal was 153rd with a time of 23:07.

The goal for Pojoaque is for both the boys and girls teams to return from state with trophies for either first, second or third place.

“It’s going to be tough,” Coach Lockridge said. “There are some good teams out there. Our district is tough. The kids are working hard, trying hard.”



Espanola Valley High School competed in the boys championship and the girls championship races at the Rio Rancho Jamboree. The boys finished 26th overall with 665 points. The Sundevils could draw some encouragement from placing fifth among the Class 5A teams at the Jamboree. Kirtland Central High School was the top team in Class 5A, coming in 9th. Albuquerque Academy, Aztec High School and Roswell High School also finished ahead of Espanola. Class 5A cross country powerhouse Los Alamos High School did not compete at the Jamboree.

The boys were paced by sophomore Ryan Trujillo, who came in 108th with a time of 17 minutes, 57 seconds. The Sundevils turned in an excellent pack time, with just 35 seconds separating the Sundevils first thru fifth runners.

Junior Lorenzo Gasca came in 129th with a time of 18:20. Espanola’s talented trio of freshmen followed. Christian Arzipuro was 145th in 18:31. Ruben Salazar was 146th just .10 seconds behind Arzipuro and AJ Cordova 147th for the Sundevils.

Espanola’s average time was 18 minutes, 23 seconds

Espanola competes in District 2-5A and the Sundevils goal is to finish third at the district meet behind perennial powers Los Alamos and Albuquerque Academy to qualify for state. The team that they need to beat is Del Norte High School. The Knights did not compete in the boys championship race, but did run in the large school varsity race. There were 24 teams and 172 runners in the varsity race.

Del Norte took first place in that race with 125 points. The Knights had an average time of 18 minutes, 10 seconds. Del Norte’s split time between their first and fifth runners was one minute, 49 seconds. The Knights top runner was Isaiah Mejia, who was sixth with a time of 17 minutes, 23 seconds.

It looks like a battle between the Knights and the Sundevils for third place in District 2-5A.

The Lady Sundevils did not compete in the girls championship race. They ran in the large school varsity race and finished ninth, scoring 246 points. More importantly, they finished ahead of Del Norte, which came in 11th with 298 points.

Class 6A Centennial High School took first in the girls varsity race with 87 points Roswell’s Maritza Alvarez finished first with a time of 20 minutes, 10 seconds. There were 21 teams and 150 runners in the girls varsity race.

The Lady Sundevils were paced by junior Faith Trujillo, who came in 21

nd with a time of 22 minutes, 39 seconds.

Sophomore Jayden Archuleta came in 41st with a time of 23:41. Sophomore Kaylee Chavez came in 65th in 24:27 and classmate Kaylinn Martinez was right behind her in 66th place. Senior Alexis Trujillo was Espanola’s fifth runner, coming in 68th.



The Mesa Vista High School Trojans are the defending Class 1A-2A state champions. Despite the absence of top returning runner Brian Gollas, who is still recovering from injuries suffered in an accident, the Trojans appear poised to make a run at repeating as state champions.

Mesa Vista competed in the small school varsity race at the Rio Rancho Jamboree and took fourth place in the team standings, scoring 119 points. The Trojans were second among Class 1A-2A schools at the meet, finishing behind third-place Alamo-Navajo High School, which scored 101 points. Class 3A Cuba High School took first with 78 points.

Rehoboth Christian High School’s James Byker took first place with a time of 17 minutes, 37 seconds. There were 21 teams and 156 runners in the small school varsity race.

Senior Sundeep Taniguchi has emerged as the leader of the Trojans. He finished eighth overall with a time of 18 minutes, 27 seconds. Junior Anthony Vigil was next for Mesa Vista, coming in 16th with a time of 18:41. Freshman Danny Gollas wasn’t far behind, coming in 19th. Junior Francisco Ortiz came in 28th for the Trojans. Jose Trujillo came in 60th as Mesa Vista’s fifth runner.

Class 3A Dulce High School finished 11th in the team standings with 256 points. The Hawks were led by senior Anfernee Callado, who came in 10th with a time of 18:30.

Coronado High School’s Diego Jacquez finished 52nd with a time of 19 minutes, 54 seconds.

In the girls small school varsity race, the Dulce Lady Hawks finished 15th, scoring 317 points. There were 18 teams and 133 runners participating in the race. Mesa Vista finished 17th with 360 points. Cottonwood Classical Prep took first place with 63 points. Estancia High School’s Jaime Fastnacht took first place with a time of 20 minutes, 24 seconds.

Dulce’s Dashauntee Gonzalez paced the Lady Hawks, coming in 37th with a time of 24:13. Abrianna Griego was Mesa Vista’s top runner, finishing 29th in 23:55.

McCurdy Charter School competed in the boys C-team race, for which team totals were not tallied. Senior Jayson Bustos took first place with a time of 18 minutes, 57 seconds. Freshman Alain Jaime was second with a time of 19:08 for the Bobcats.