New Mexico Girls Cross Country Countdown: #22 Penasco

New Mexico Cross Country Countdown Series

The New Mexico Cross Country Countdown breaks down the top 25 New Mexico boys and girls teams returning this fall. These rankings will include projected top runners and weigh how each team may do in their respective districts and state competitions. Changes to class alignments and adaptions to the state championship format have been taken into consideration. These rankings are based on the past season of performances. All top returning runners are only projections and may include athletes no longer on the team due to transfer or out-of-state relocation.

#22 Penasco Panthers 

Despite coming into last season unranked, there shouldn't really have been any doubt that a Penasco team that has seen success in recent years was capable of upsetting ATC en route to their third state title in six years.  The defending state champs do land on this list at #22 entering the 2022 season, with high expectations that feel minuscule when returning six of your seven state runners. Freshman Rochelle Lopez returns to lead this Penasco squad hoping to improve from her 3rd overall state finish. Alongside her returns Charnelle Gonzales (7th in 2021), Rhyen Vigil (30th in 2021), Analise MacAuley (35th in 2021), Tristanee Lucero (59th in 2021), and Anna Mitchell (63rd in 2021). In what can only be described as the most entertaining finish of the 2021 State Championship races, Penasco was in a real duel against ATC and Gateway Christian that saw the three schools constantly sliding up down the leaderboards as runners came through the finish line. A difference of four points decided the champion from the third place it would be the Panthers hoisting the blue trophy to end 2021. This year it may not be as close, Penasco returns by far the greatest number of state runners than other schools in A/2A and we have to feel confident that they may only get better spending an off-season as defending champions. If any team looks confident in pulling a back-to-back performance at the state meet it would be this unit led by a potential individual champion in Rochelle Lopez. Expect the Panthers to only get better from last season as they seek more hardware for the trophy case. 

A/2A Girls

2021 State Finish: State Champions

State Titles: 2016, 2017, 2021

Individual State Titles: Elizabeth Gonzales (1982-1985) Carly Gonzales (2015, 2017) 

2022 Penasco Rankings

New Mexico Ranking #22
A/2A Ranking#1
District 5-A2A Ranking#1

Top Returning Runners

NameGradePersonal Best (5K)Best State Finish

Rochelle Lopez

Fr20:453rd (2021)

Charnelle Gonzales

Jr21:397th (2021)

Rhyen Vigil

Sr23:2430th (2021)

Analise MacAuley

Jr23:4635th (2021)

Tristanee Lucero

Jr24:5359th (2021)

Anna Mitchell

Fr25:2163rd (2021)

Elaine Mitchell


Watch the 2021  A/2A State Championship Race