Week in Review: October Starts Strong

The girls varsity race gets underway at the Rob Winter Classic and Las Cruces. Photo by Lola Cunico.

With almost all of the New Mexico meets reporting in for the weekend, we're ready to file the summary report on the weekend, so here we go:

Desert Twilight XC Festival (This meet is full)

On-Site Coverage

Lake Braddock squads take 3rd in Arizona's Desert Twilight Festival

The Lake Braddock cross country team typically takes an annual trip out-of-state and has been picking almost a new meet each year for the past several years. This year the Bruins of Burke, Virginia traveled all the way out to Gilbert, Arizona for the Desert Twilight XC Festival, which gathers many of the top teams in the Southwest Region of the country. The VA #10 ranked Lake Braddock boys and VA #4 ranked Lake Braddock girls both ran impressively to each finish 3rd in the Sweepstakes Races standings, which is the top division race in the meet on a fast 5K course on the Toka Sticks Golf Course in Gilbert, Arizona.

Desert Vista Girls and Corona Boys Win at the Desert Twilight Invitational

Six years ago the Desert Twilight Invitational started with 5 races and 886 runners.  With the Twilight Movie theme and a love for running at night the meet became an instant hit and the word spread quickly.  The sixth annual Desert Twilight Invitational had over 4,000 runners crossing the finish line with teams from Coast to Coast attending.  The cool night air and the fast course of Toka Sticks gave way to some outstanding times and competition.

Twilight Invitational - Ready - Set - Glow!

The festive atmosphere of the Desert Twilight Invitational has become a meet favorite of most runners in Arizona.  Not only do they get to dance after their races but they also get to sleep in on Saturday morning instead of getting up early to beat the heat for a long run.

Girls Highlights

Boys Highlights

Gallup Curtis Williams Invitational

Blue and gold are already the colors most feared by New Mexico's small schools. The fear of that color scheme is starting to creep into the ranks of larger schools as well. Starting with Alex Eustace at 16:51 and ending with Cody Latone at 17:26, the Zuni scoring five ran roughshod over the competition at Red Rock Canyon. Miyarmura's Niles Thomas took the individual title in 15:56, but, in the bigger picture, this day belonged to Zuni.

There were also some small-school fireworks to be seen in the girls race, as Anneoskia Laughlin of Navajo Pine ran away from everyone in 19:52. Gallup would end up with the team title at 71 points. Zuni edged Navajo Prep and Rehoboth Christian for small school honors at this one.

On-Site Coverage

Boys Highlights

Highland Invitational

As meets in the Albuquerque area went this weekend, this one was the big one. Albuquerque Academy took the boys win despite being down at least one of their regular top seven. Cibola's Chris Harlow took the individual title in 16:07, followed closely by Kevin Wyss of AA, and then a large space of, well, air.

As a 3A school, Hope Christian scored very well at this meet and perhaps the strategy here is to continually measure themselves against 4A and 5A compeition in an effort to push the guys out a little higher in advance of state. We'll watch to see how this continues to play out. Pat Wood's 17:16 topped all small school individuals.

The girls scoring was essentially done with AA crammed four into the top five, and #5 wasn't long in coming after that. Freshman Cameren Kristensen takes the win in 19:32. Clovis was a distant second with 80 points to AA's 22. But, Clovis did manage to slip by 5A foe Cleveland in the process of getting to 80 points.

Once again, Hope Christian topped the small school entries, easily ahead of Robertson and ATC.

Meet Results

Girls Highlights

Boys Highlights

La Cueva XC Invite - Bear Cave Brawl

La Cueva hosted the smaller of the two Albuquerque area meets this weekend. 

Led by Mackenzie Everett's 19:31, La Cueva put their scoring five in the top nine and never looked back. Eldorado was there, but with a second-varsity kind of team that was no match for LC's regulars. On the list of new things to think about, however, add the name of Sierra Quinones of Volcano Vista. Quinones completed the course in second at 19:55. V-squared ended up a very respectable second in the team scoring, only 24 points behind La Cueva.

Pojoaque's Jereme Santistevan came down in little in altitude for this one and buried the boys field with a 15:55. His teammates in green compiled a team score of 67 which was oh-so-close to catching La Cueva's 60. For now, the 3A school goes home a little hungrier.

For the most part, the large schools seem to have been resting a few key individuals each at this one. Perhaps with an eye toward this weekend's Metro Championships?

On-Site Coverage

Girls Highlights

Boys Highlights

Onate Rob Winter XC Invitational

This weekend was the turn for Oñate's big show. And, it did turn out to be quite the show!

Times were extremely fast here. At least part of the explanation is that this was a three-mile course (and I'll fix that in the results here shortly). Santa Teresa put Regina Marquez, Britani Gonzales (who seems to be getting her race back) and Joanna Miranda all in under 19:00. Oñate's Meghan Aguilera joined that little party. Still, for all that speed up front, it was Alamogordo that came away with the team win, led by Katrina Quigley in ninth at 19:18. To be sure, Oñate was down a couple of their big guns, but this southern New Mexico 5A contest is turning out to be much better than anyone would have guessed at the beginning of the season. 

And, it was a nice little battle among the New Mexico 5A boys teams here, as well. Oñate edged Mayfield, 84 - 88, for top New Mexico honors in the boys race. And, on a margin that small, you look at the reversal of the usual order of Manny Casillas (15:46--photo, left, by Lola Cunico) and Aaron Thalmann (15:52) as a key piece of the puzzle. In any case, there's a lot of cross country left to be run this season, but things are definitely heating up between the top Las Cruces area cross country teams.

In the small-school category, Ruidoso held their own very nicely in the boys race, while Silver had the top showing in the girls event.

Girls Highlights

Boys Highlights

Valencia XC Invitational

It's a small meet. Was last year. Still is this year. But small is not synonymous with devoid of quality. Never has been. Never will be.

Carisma Lovato and Camila Orozco ran 19:00 and 19:26, respectively, and had a lot of time to catch their breath before the rest of the girls field crossed the finish line. Valencia took the team win, but nearby rival Los Lunas closed the gap a lot more than the finish of the top two for Valencia would have suggested.

Jakob Bernal of Estancia was an easy winner in the boys race at 17:42. Chances are good we'll hear more from Bernal at state.

Meet Results

Girls Highlights

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