Photo by Jaren Brooks
The Pecos Panthers are your 2021 NMAA State Cross Country Champions. This is the 5th title in school history and the first since their 3 straight from 2015 - 2017. Going in the season the Panthers were ranked #21 on our New Mexico Boys Cross Country Countdown which they were second among A/2A teams. There were some unknowns for Pecos going into the season and after the spring state championship that saw them finish 2nd behind Cloudcroft it was finding a way to land more Panthers into that top ten. In this race, they had no trouble with that task as they went 6-7-8 to score some major points with Elijah Lujan, Aidan Holton, and Antonio Garcia. In total, they would score 50 points to the state runner-ups Oak Grove Classical led by Joshua Marquez and third place Penasco.
Gilbert Valdez ran away with the boys A/2A state title finishing in 16:00 to once again prove to be the best of the classification. Not only did he defend his title put his effort played a huge role in Penasco's 1 point difference to land them on the podium over Laguna Acoma. Max Preslar also ran to yet another state runner-up performance while Hagerman's Gerardo Mendoza finished in 3rd as the highest placing underclassmen.