Pojoaque Tunes Up For State At Rio Rancho

by Editor / Oct 25, 2018 / 0 comments
The Pojoaque Valley High School boys cross country team came in 18th in the team standings in the Championship Division Race at the Rio Rancho Jamboree Oct. 20 in Rio Rancho (photo by Chris Roybal).

Pojoaque Tunes Up For State At Rio Rancho

By George Morse Sports and Outdoor

The Rio Rancho Jamboree cross country meet draws dozens of high schools and hundreds or runners from across New Mexico. Coaches and athletes use it as a training ground for the 2018 State cross country meet, which will be hosted by Rio Rancho High School Nov. 10 and run on the same course as the Jamboree. Schools from Northern New Mexico participated Oct. 20 at this year’s Jamboree, including Pojoaque Valley High School. The Elks took home a trophy from last year’s State meet.

With realignment and reclassification by the New Mexico Activities Association, Pojoaque will face much tougher competition in their quest to take home a trophy this year.

The Pojoaque Valley High School boys cross country team took second place at last year’s Class 3A state cross country meet. With realignment and reclassification, the Elks moved up to Class 4A. Now, their rivals would include perennial cross country powerhouses Los Alamos High School and Albuquerque Academy. Kirtland Central High School, another Class 4A opponent, has the premier cross country runner in the state in senior Kashon Harrison.

At this year’s Jamboree, Pojoaque competed in the Championship Division Race, which included most of the top cross country schools in the state from every class (Los Alamos and Academy did not participate). Short one of their top five runners, the Elks finished 18th in the team standings with 377 points. They were fourth among the Class 4A teams at the Jamboree.

Class 5A Sue Cleveland High School took first place with 113 points. Class 5A schools took the top 4 spots. Harrison easily took first place overall, finishing with a time of 15 minutes, 41.60 seconds.

Leading the way for Pojoaque was senior John Hall, who finished fifth last year at state. He came in 15th overall with a time of 16 minutes, 46.70 seconds in this year’s Jamboree. Hall is looking to earn All-State honors for the second straight year by finishing in the top 10 runners. At the Jamboree, he was fourth among Class 4A runners in the Championship Race. Hall has been consistent as Pojoaque’s top runner all season.

Pojoaque's John Hall finished 15th overall with a time of 16 minutes, 46.70 seconds (photo by Chris Roybal).

The next Pojoaque runner to cross the finish line was sophomore Santiago Romero, who came in 42nd with a time of 17 minutes, 34.80 seconds. Romero has been steady as Pojoaque’s second runner so far this season. Sophomore Zach Hall (John Hall’s younger brother) has been Pojoaque’s third runner. He did not compete at this year’s Jamboree due to an injury not suffered while running.

Pojoaque’s third runner was junior Joseph Gutierrez, who came in 80th with a time of 18 minutes, 16.40 seconds. Junior Sebastian Rubio was Pojoaque’s fourth, finishing 116th with a time of 18 minutes, 43.70 seconds. Pojoaque’s fifth runner was freshman Lucas Tiede, who came in 128th with a time of 18 minutes, 55.30 seconds.

The Elks are looking to qualify for state from District 2-4A by finishing in the top three teams at the District 2-4A meet which Pojoaque will host Nov. 2 at Pojoaque. Los Alamos looks like a lock for first place. Pojoaque probably takes second. Third place appears to be up for grabs between Taos High School and Moriarty High School. Moriarty is the wild card here. The Pintos do not have a standout runner. However, they pack together extremely well. Taos was for several years among the top teams in the state. The Tigers appear to be rebuilding this year. The small field at the district meet can lead to some surprises.

Pojoaque's Santiago Romero finished 42nd for the Elks (photo by Chris Roybal).

Sebastian Rubio came in 80th for the Elks (photo by Chris Roybal).

Matthew Gomez (left) finished 150th for Pojoaque and Lucas Tiede (right) was 128th for the Elks.

The Pojoaque girls cross country team had a goal last season of returning to the State cross country meet. With the help of some now-graduated seniors like Dallas Archibald and Consuelo Quintana, the Elkettes achieved their goal. They returned to state and finished a solid sixth in the team standings.

This season, Pojoaque returned several runners who ran at state last season. Junior Amerie Onesalt was Pojoaque’s top runner at state last year and so far this season has consistently been their best runner. However, she is now nursing a knee injury and has not run in three weeks. She will definitely be needed at the District 2-4A meet.

Without Onesalt at this year’s Jamboree, the Elkettes came in 25th in the team standings with 661 points in the Championship Division. Pojoaque was sixth among the Class 4A teams at the Jamboree.

Sue Cleveland High School took first place with 107 points. Eldorado High School’s Jasmine Turtle-Morales took first place individually with a time of 18 minutes, 47 seconds.

Junior Mia Vigil emerged as Pojoaque’s first runner at this year’s Jamboree, coming in 93rd with a time of 22 minutes, 23.90 seconds. Senior Taylor Roybal, normally Pojoaque’s third or fourth runner, moved up to second. She came in 133rd with a time of 23 minutes, 24.40 seconds.

Mia Vigil was 93rd overall for the Elkettes (photo by Chris Roybal).

Junior Michaela Martinez had a rough run at this year’s Jamboree. Getting sick early in the race, she was near the end of the line and literally had to pass 50 runners just to finish 139th with a time of 23 minutes, 56.70 seconds. She is normally Pojoaque’s second or third runner with a much faster time.

Pojoaque’s fourth runner was a nice surprise. Eighth-grader Arissa Herrold finished 147th with a time of 24 minutes, 22.30 seconds. She has been promoted from the junior varsity. Junior Alicia Sanchez has been consistent as Pojoaque’s fifth runner this season. She came in 149th with a time of 24 minutes, 28.70 seconds.

Like the Elks, the Elkettes are seeking to qualify for state by finishing among the top three teams at the District 2-4A meet. Here again, Los Alamos likely runs away with first place. Taos, the defending Class 3A state champion, likely takes second. The Lady Tigers are nowhere nearly as loaded as they were last year and only finished fifth among Class 4A teams at this year’s Jamboree and just 21st overall. Pojoaque and Moriarty will battle for third and once again the dark horse is Moriarty. The small field of runners at the District 2-4A meet will be a factor.

Pojoaque will participate in the Los Alamos Invitational Friday at Los Alamos. Zach Hall will not be running for the boys, nor will Onesalt for the girls. This race will feature a showdown as Los Alamos and Academy will face each other in head-to-head competition between the top two teams in the state in Class 4A.

​Senior Taylor Roybal came in 133rd for Pojoaque (photo by Chris Roybal).

Michaela Martinez had to pass a lot of runners to finish 139th for Pojoaque (photo by Chris Roybal).

Pojoaque's Alicia Sanchez (left) finished 149th for Pojoaque and Arissa Herrold (right) was 147th for the Elkettes (photo by Chris Roybal).

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