By George Morse
The Pojoaque Valley High School boys and girls cross country teams both finished sixth in the team standings at the John Grimley Memorial cross country meet Oct. 5 at San Felipe Pueblo. The Elks and Elkettes will be competing at the Northern Challenge cross country meet Saturday at the Pojoaque Wellness Center.
Despite the sixth-place finish, Pojoaque did place higher than any other Class 4A high school at the John Grimley meet. For the Elkettes, it snapped a streak of two first-place finishes in their previous two meets. Pojoaque had taken first place at the Laguna-Acoma Invitational Sept. 20 and at the Capital City Invitational Sept. 28 in Santa Fe.
It was a much larger field of runners at John Grimley than Pojoaque had faced all season. At the starting line, 165 runners anxiously awaited the starting gun. Pojoaque, led by seniors Mia Vigil and Michaela Martinez, likes to run in a pack. The crowded conditions broke the Elkettes up.
Martinez and Vigil did their jobs, coming in one right after the other. Martinez was 28th with a time of 21 minutes, 34 seconds. Vigil was right behind her, finishing 29th with a time of 21 minutes. Their experience showed as they negotiated the large field of runners.
After that, the other Elkettes were scattered. A trio of eighth-graders packed in well, but they were well-behind Martinez and Vigil. Jasmine Valdez came in 47th with a time of 22 minutes, 29 seconds. Marisa Martinez, Michaela’s younger sister, was 53rd with a time of 22 minutes, 53 seconds. Kaylee Martinez was next, coming in 58th with a time of 22 minutes, 57 seconds to complete the scoring for the Elkettes. Arissa Herrold also ran for the Elkettes, coming in 63rd with a time of 23 minutes, 11 seconds.
Taking first place in the girls race was Wingate High School’s Jewels Leslie, who had a time of 19 minutes, 27 seconds.
Pojoaque finished with 215 points. Rio Rancho High School took first with 74 points. Cottonwood Classical Prep School was second with 84 points. Defending Class A-2A state champion Pecos High School was third with 108 points. Santa Fe Indian School was fourth with 167 points. Crownpoint High School took fifth with 194 points.
For the Elks, the boys field was even larger with 217 runners crowding the starting line. Pojoaque scored 220 points in sixth place. Rio Rancho took first place with 76 points. Santa Fe Indian School was second with 109 points. Cottonwood Classical came in third with 159 points. Laguna-Acoma High School came in fourth with 197 points. Tohatchi High School edged by Pojoaque to take fifth place with 217 points.
Leading the way for Pojoaque was junior Santiago Romero, who came in 18th with a time of 17 minutes, 34 seconds. Senior Joseph Gutierrez was 28th with a time of 17 minutes, 55 seconds. Senior Dylan Romero came in 53rd with a time of 18 minutes, 22 seconds. Junior Zack Hall came in 63rd with a time of 18 minutes, 42 seconds. Pojoaque’s fifth runner was sophomore Lucas Tiede, who was 65th with a time of 18 minutes, 44 seconds.
Also running for Pojoaque were sophomore Isaiah Roybal, who came in 75th. Michael Apodaca came in 79th for Pojoaque.
The boys race was won by Cottonwood Classical’s Justin Howey with a time of 16 minutes, 10 seconds.
Also competing at the John Grimley meet was Espanola Valley High School, who will also be running at the Northern Challenge. Espanola is a District 2-A rival of Pojoaque. Both teams will be fighting for second and third place in District 2-4A along with Taos High School and Moriarty High School. The top three teams at the District 2-4A cross country meet Nov. 1 at Moriarty will advance to the State Class 4A cross country meet Nov. 8 at Rio Rancho High School.
Los Alamos High School is the prohibitive favorite to take first place at the District 2-4A cross country meet.
Espanola looked like they had shocked the world at the John Grimley meet when the boys team results were first posted. Espanola was listed as finishing third with 118 points. It quickly became obvious that this was a mistake. The results were reviewed and revised. Espanola finished 13th with 380 points.
Pacing the Sundevils was junior Juan Branch, who finished 41st with a time of 18 minutes, 11 seconds. Jose Castro came in 60th with a time of 18 minutes, 36 seconds. Mario Equino was 96th and Zachary Salazar 101st for te Sundevils. Terrance Sanchez was Espanola’s fifth runner, finishing 120th.
The Lady Sundevils did not have five runners and did not score as a team. Pacing the Lady Sundevils was junior Emily Chavez, who came I 43rd with a time f 22 minutes, 20 seconds. Alysia Martinez came in 96th and Kayla Hernandez was 118th for Espanola.