Dayna Guerro would push Taylor Bacon over the first mile, but Bacon had withered the challenge by the second pass of the football stadium. Photo by Alan Versaw.
Taylor Bacon saw to it that there was no repeat in the 1A girls individual title race. But, she was helpless to prevent the green-and-gold Jemez Valley Warriors from repeating as team state champions. And all of that made for a lot of green at the top.
Bacon’s win, dominating as it was, didn’t come easily. Alamo Navajo’s Dayna Guerro made a strong show of hanging with Bacon at the front for nearly half of the race, but Bacon was determined to finish this one by herself and, at 20:41, 13 seconds ahead of her second-place time from last year. Such are the character traits that make things lonely at the top.
While Bacon was running the final 1.5 miles unchallenged at the front, Jemez Valley (start line photo, at right, by Alan Versaw) was methodically putting things away behind the lead runner. Valene Madalena led the green-clad Warriors for most of the race before ceding her position to teammate Jade Altheide. Altheide would eventually overtake Guerro and the top two Warriors would finish 2-4.
After Marilyn Werito of Tse Yi Gai and Eliza Donohue of Desert Academy crossed in fifth and sixth, respectively, Jemez was back busy scoring again with Janae Henderson in seventh, Sage Majares in 11th, and Elauteria Patino in 14th. Patino finished ahead of every other team’s #4, and ahead of the the #3 of every team except second-place Cimarron. And so the deed was done; Jemez Valley renewed their 1A crown for another year.
To give a different picture of the scale of Jemez Valley’s win, the Warriors posted an average team time of 22:22, compared to 24:10 for the next-best team. JV’s margin of victory reached 37 points this year, up from 20 points last year. This dynasty might remain in place for a while longer.
Cimarron’s second-place finished was paced by top-ten finishes from Zena Stevenson and Selina Rael. The Rams would edge Desert Academy by two points for second.