XC Individuals: 4A Girls

Until something went wrong last November, Britani Gonzalez was giving Jenna Thurman all she could handle and looking comfortable doing it. Photo by Alan Versaw.

We now turn our attention to 4A girls, a classification dominated, team-wise, by Los Alamos, but a much more interesting classification last year on an individual level.

Here's how last year's top ten broke down:

1. Jenna Thurman, Del Norte - Graduated and headed to Adams State University, continuing in a long line of New Mexico standouts to run for the Joe Vigil/Damon Martin dynasty in Alamosa.

2. Erin Archibeck, Albuquerque Academy - Archibeck started off last fall's cross country season on almost nobody's radar screen, maybe not even Adam Kedge's. But Archibeck kept improving at every opportunity, and by the end of the season was one place away from a state title. Although her track season included a 4th place in the state 800, her cross country season was probably the better of her two sophomore seasons. It's cross country's turn again starting in a couple of weeks and Archibeck won't be slipping by anyone's notice this fall.

3. Marissa Nathe, St. Pius X - Graduated and headed to Boise State University to run under coach Corey Ihmels, a man who made no small reputation for himself in his previous position at Iowa State University.

4. Jennifer Mooday, Los Alamos - Graduated

5. Jordan Parker, Los Alamos - Parker thrived as a crucial cog in the Los Alamos cross country freight train last fall. Like Erin Archibeck, her track season was overshadowed by her cross country season, but nobody in New Mexico is taking Parker's place on the LA cross country roster with anything but complete respect. Parker seems to be at home on the cross country course.

6. Kelli Reagan - St. Pius X - Reagan will be back for her senior season this fall. Reagan's third in the 4A state 3200 makes it clear that she is definitely capable of something higher than last year's sixth place at state cross country. Look for Reagan to be in the thick of things this fall.

7. Mikayla Pulliam, Los Alamos - Pulliam finished fifth in the state 3200 this spring and 11th in the 1600. She'll be back for her senior season as a Hilltopper this fall and she's clearly among those we want to watch to see what happens this fall.

8. Talia Dreicer, Los Alamos - You're beginning to remember what the state cross country meet was like last fall, right? A sea of Los Alamos green starting at place #4. Dreicer advanced to the state meet in the 3200 this spring, but struggled a little at state, finishing 17th. But, she also had a 12:18 at the Albuquerque Invitational earlier in the season. It would be inaccurate to take the state race as indicative of her season. Like the other returning Los Alamos girls, Dreicer is a certified candidate for a top ten appearance again this fall.

9. Joanna Miranda, Santa Teresa - Miranda upheld the outstanding Santa Teresa distance tradition with a seventh in the 3200 and a 13th in the 1600 at state this spring. Miranda posted her PR mark of 11:47 at the Onate Invitational in April.

10. Teresa Sandoval, Los Alamos - Graduated

That was last year's top ten, but nobody who is returning should be getting excessively comfortable. There is a formidable pack nipping at their heels.

Britani Gonzales, Santa Teresa - After leading the state meet race early last fall, Gonzalez dropped out of the race. She came back with a vengeance this spring, however, winning the state 800 in 2:14 and finishing second in the state 400. Gonzalez combines speed with endurance and will surely take her place among the classification's best once again this fall.

Julie Giannini, St. Pius X - Giannini was another whose state cross country meet didn't go well. But one meet does not erase multiple seasons of accomplishment. Giannini was fourth in the 3200 and fifth in the 1600 at state this spring. This fall figures to be redemption time for the St. Pius senior.

Cameren Kristensen, Albuquerque Academy - As an 8th grader this past spring, Kristensen made a substantial mark on the state track meet, taking second at both 1600 and 3200 meters. That represents an enormous jump from her 13th-place finish at state cross country. The track season says Kristensen figures to be among the top contenders for the individual title this fall.

Madison Foley and Amanda Mercer, Los Alamos - At Los Alamos, girls cross country seems to be a matter of wining by committee, and Foley and Mercer are clearly on the committee. It's difficult to say in any given meet what the order of the committee will be, but both are clearly among those with potential to crack the top ten. 

Noel Prandoni, Santa Fe - After finishing 12th at the state cross country meet last fall, Prandoni took her race up a notch or two during track season. She set a PR mark of 5:18 to finish third in the state 1600. At that distance, that leaves her behind only Cameren Kristensen among returning runners.

Carisma Lovato, Valencia - Lovato was well back in 27th at state cross country last fall, but the 5:19 she posted at the Marilyn Sepulveda 1600 argues that there's a lot more to Lovato than the cross country placing would indicate. Keep an eye on Valencia results.

Arena Lewis, Belen - Lewis missed last fall's state meet, but not on account of her running ability. Lewis did not run track in the spring, but I would resist the tempation to read to much into that if I were you. While you're looking for Valencia results, make sure you check Belen as well.

And, who knows but what another one or two might climb into the hunt as well. It should be a very interesting fall for 4A girls.