Rendon Kuykendall (Bib #8612) and Hope Christian have found a handful of meets to compete unattached this fall. (Photo by Alan Versaw)
The first fall without cross country in New Mexico since girls first held a competition in 1979 and boys in 1960. Although the contingency is still to hold a miniature five-week season in the spring a couple of dozen runners took it upon themselves to satisfy their itch for competition. Arizona, Colorado, and Texas meets found several new Mexicans among the unattached runners that competed in October and November which would have been around the same time as District and State Championship weekends. Majority of Hope Christian runners made the trek to Desert Twilight XC Festival in early October with Sophomore Rendon Kuykendall, Eric Scharton, and Cade Martin going sub-16 while Evan Stewart and Jude Kuykendall rounded out the top five. That unattached Husky squad would go on to compete at the Kokopelli Invitational in Colorado Springs in early November as well as the XC Town USA Meet of Champions all the way in Terre Haute, Indiana. Piedra Vista also competed at Kokopelli Makua Harvey leading the Panthers with a 17:19 to get back in the swing of things.
Desert Twilight Unattached Club Boys Sweepstakes 5K
Rio Rancho's Dawson Gunn competing at Kokopelli in Colorado Springs (Photo by Alan Versaw)
Elsewhere a handful of Albuquerque Academy runners found competition in west Texas at the Lubbock Christian University Invitational including Brown commit Justin Hickey who ran to a second-place performance and leading his fellow Chargers Joaquin Deprez, Brian Armijo, and Owen Dudley. Although unattached and appearing to be one man shy of a scoring five it's fair to say the renegade Charger unit could have easily won this race. Volcano Vista runners coming off a runner-up 5A state championship performance in 2019, (also ran at Kokopelli) took their talents to Phoenix for the Phoenix Classic Showdown at Sundown in October. Tyler Nord, Jude Lucero, Lucas Kedge got to get there first meet back on a course for the Hawks.
Other unattached runners to mention competed at Kokopelli include top returning 5A runner Jerrick Maldonado running 16:43 and 13th place, Rio Rancho's Dawson Gunn ran 17:17, St.Michael's Rowan Flores ran 18:57 and it appears La Cueva's Nathan Scherbarth made the trip with Hope Christian runners to Terre Haute and ran a 17.26 at the XC Town USA Meet of Champions.