By George Morse
District cross country meets were held Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 to determine who will qualify for the State cross country meet Saturday at Rio Rancho High School. Local high school teams picked up several district championships and local runners earned individual All-District honors. In Classes 3A-5A, the top three teams at the district meets qualify for state. The top 10 individuals also advance to state and earn All-District honors. In addition, the top three individuals who were not part of a state-qualifying team also advance to state.
In Class 4A, Los Alamos High School won the District 2-4A boys and girls championships Nov. 1 at Moriarty High School. Taos High School took second place in both the boys and girls division. Pojoaque Valley High School took third place in the boys and the girls division, qualifying both the Elks and the Elkettes for the Class 4A state cross country championships.
In the boys division, Los Alamos recorded a perfect score of 15 points. Los Alamos runners swept the first six places. The Hilltoppers were led by Steven Strevell, who finished first with a time of 17 minutes, 22.26 seconds. Right next to him in second place was Rafael Sanchez, coming in with a time of 17 minutes, 22.66 seconds Wakei Hettinga was right beside Sanchez with a time of 17 minutes, 22.85 seconds.
Ryan Aldaz finished fourth for the Hilltoppers and right beside him was Keith Bridges, who came in fifth to complete the Hilltoppers’ perfect score.
Gage Ellis finished sixth overall and Reuben Goettee was ninth as Los Alamos had seven runners finish in the top 10.
The first runner to cross the finish line who wasn’t wearing a green Los Alamos uniform was Taos’ Eddie Duran, who came in seventh with a time of 17 Minutes, 54.53 seconds. Moriarty High School’s Ovideo Lujan was eighth with a time of 17 minutes, 56.34 seconds.
Junior Santiago Romero led Pojoaque, earning himself an All-District award and finishing 10th with a time of 17 minutes, 59.79 seconds. Following behind Romero were seniors Joseph Gutierrez and Dylan Romero. Gutierrez finished 12th and Dylan Romero 13th for the Elks.
Zach Hall was the next Pojoaque runner over the finish line, coming in 24th overall. Pojoaque’s fifth runner was Lucas Tiede, who came in 26th. The Elks scored 79 points for third place. Taos was 10 points better with 69 points in second place.
Dalian Lopez came in 29th for Pojoaque and Isiah Roybal was 33rd for the Elks.
Española Valley High School finished in fourth place with 108 points. The Sundevils’ Jose Castro qualified for state as an individual, coming in 17th overall. Moriarty’s Lujan and Romelio Dominguez earned the other two individual spots.
For the girls, Los Alamos scored 19 points to take first place. Freshman Sophie Chadwick took first place for the Hilltoppers with a time of 19 minutes, 50.10 seconds. Sophomore Norissa Valdez was right behind Chadwick in second place with a time of 19 minutes, 57.35 seconds.
Taos’ Alyx Mastor broke up the Lady Hilltoppers bid for a perfect score by coming in third with a time of 20 minutes, 51 seconds. Los Alamos’ Lidia Appell finished fourth and the Hilltoppers’ Emma Montoya came in fifth.
Taos’ Ella Katz came in sixth for the Lady Tigers. Four Los Alamos runners followed Katz. Mabel Pyle was seventh, Jasmine Hornberger came in eighth. Hailey McDowell was ninth and Hannah Gartz 10th as Los Alamos placed eight runners among the top 10 finishers.
Taos scored 47 points in second place. Marielle Gomez was 11th for the lady Tigers and Kelly Tonrey came in 13th. Salome Borrego-Marsh was the fifth runner for Taos, coming in 19th.
Pojoaque scored 77 points in third place. Senior Mia Vigil led the way for the Elkettes, coming in 14th with a time of 22 minutes, 31.994 seconds. Close behind her was eighth-grader Marisa Martinez, who was 16th with a tie of 22 minutes, 34.88 seconds. Senior Michaela Martinez came in 18th Freshman Arissa Herrod finished 20th and eighth-grader Jasmine Valdez came in 21st as the Elkettes top five runners did a good job of running as a pack.
Kaylee Martinez finished 24th and Ayla Garcia 25th for the Elkettes.
Espanola Valley senior Emily Chavez earned on of the three individual spots, coming in between Pojoaque’s Vigil and Marisa Martinez in 15th place with a time of 22 minutes, 32.41 seconds The Lady Sundevils did not field a full team. Moriarty’s Donmiarre Notah and Chelsea Stiverson earned the other individual spots. The Pintos finished fourth in the team standings with 109 points.
Los Alamos is headed for another showdown in Class 4A with Albuquerque Academy at the state cross country meet in Rio Rancho. Since 2007, either Los Alamos or Academy has won the boys and girls state championship. The streak for the boys goes all the way back to 1998. Academy looks like it has the advantage in the boys race, while Los Alamos’ girls appear to be stronger this year.
Hope Christian High School looks like a strong contender for third place in the boys division. The Huskies top three boys runners each have a good chance of finishing in the top 10 at state.
“I’m really happy for the kids,” Lockridge said. “They ran really well. They improved. We’re winners if we make it to state.”