Claire Archibeck and friends were all smiles on Saturday, but watch out for the game faces on this Friday afternoon. Photo by Bill Wampler.
It's getting a little cooler in New Mexico, but you wouldn't know it from the way that cross country is heating up across the state.
Let's start in the dead center of the state with Friday's Albuquerque Academy Invitational. Coach Adam Kedge was good enough to send me a pile of background information on his meet. I'll share some of that with you.
Teams expected to come include the host school, Cibola, Cleveland, Del Norte, Eldorado, Highland, Rio Grande, Sandia Prep, Valencia, Valley, and Volcano Vista from points close in, plus Espanola Valley, Gallup, Grants, Laguna-Acoma, Miyamura, Moriarty, and Pecos from points more distant.
Much anticipation centers around the testing of a very good Laguna-Acoma boys team against some solid big school competition. Will they rise to the occasion? That answer will be revealed on Friday.
Athletes shooting at the course records have to run 15:15 and 18:21. Those records are currently held by Matt Tebo and Julia Foster. Cracking the top ten on the all-time list would require a 15:50 or 19:06. There are those in the field who will be taking their shots. Cleveland's Luis Martinez already owns the #6 spot on the all-time leader board for the course.
Albuquerque Academy has won the boys title 12 of the last 13 years. The only team to interrupt that streak will be off in Arizona this weekend. Cleveland, though, may be smarting a little, however, after losing last yaer's team title by a single point to AA. The girls team title has circulated a little more in recent years, with Eldorado figuring as both the team to beat and the team with the most recent titles.
Elisa Woody and Luis Martinez will attempt to defend their individual titles from last year.
We've already alluded to Los Alamos heading to the Desert Twilight meet in Mesa, but there will be plenty more action around the state this weekend.
Piedra Vista will be hosting the Totah Invitational at Lions Wilderness Park in the Farmington area. Racing starts at 3:30 PM with the JV races. It's possible one or two teams from that area escapes into Colorado for the Chicken Creek Challenge just outside of Mancos.
The Roswell city meet goes in Roswell (where else?) on Thursday.
Santa Fe figures to siphon off a good share of the north-of-Albuquerque schools in the Capital City Invite, but will also compete with the Meadow City Invitational for northern New Mexico schools. East Mountain figures to be a good small school draw.
Cloudcroft invites the southern New Mexico schools to enjoy a little run at elevation before things start to get overly chilly in their pleasant little piece of paradise.
Sandia gets the distinction of being the local school to butt heads with the Albuquerque Academy Invitational.
It seems axiomatic that there would be something going on in El Paso to lure the Las Cruces area schools across the border into Texas. But, wait, that was last year's script. There's a new script this year. Brand new Las Cruces school Centennial will be hosting the inaugural version of their Centennial Hawks XC Challenge. And, it looks as if almost everybody in the area is coming to the party. Racing starts at 9 AM.