Weekend in Review: September 28/29

The St. Michael's boys enjoy a little camera time before their race on Friday evening. Photo by Margot Kelly.



Albuquerque Academy Invitational

Since these are done in alphabetical order, AA's meet gets top billing. I don't have much to add to Teo Cutter's article (linked below), but to emphasize that this meet went a long way toward sorting out the order of teams at the midway point of the season. Meets this large are rare in New Mexico and, due to the size of the meet, we got a lot of interesting head-to-head comparisons betweeen teams.

Although Cleveland doesn't appear to be brooking any rivals in 5A at the moment, the pile-up behind them is impressive. We didn't see La Cueva at this meet, but we did see enough of Eldorado, Volcano Vista, and Cibola to know its essentially a dead heat between these three schools. Pecos handled the level of competition very nicely for being as small of a school as they are in a decidedly large-school meet. Of course, top honors in that category go straight to Laguna-Acoma. There are plenty of 5A schools that wish they could soar with the Hawks.

Among the girls, AA went into the meet with something to prove and left the meet having proved it. Whether Los Alamos wanted it or not (and most great programs usually do want it), they have company at the top of 4A. Of course, St. Pius X was already providing that, but it just got a little more crowded at the top, sort of like the summit of Wheeler Peak on a sunny summer Saturday. 

Teo Cutter can't quite come straight out and say it, so I will. The Eldorado girls are looking very, very impressive right now. And their depth to at least seven places means they can easily roll with a runner, or even two, having an off day. Not that the C girls (Cassey, Crissey, and Coley) seem to have many off days. Teo, you need to lighten up on the grading a little; those girls deserve better than Cs.

On-Site Coverage

Girls Highlights

Boys Highlights

Centennial Hawks XC Challenge

I live a long, long way from Las Cruces, but I can't begin to tell you how good it feels to see a genuinely well-attended meet in southern New Mexico. To borrow a phrase from everyone's favorite Vulcan, may this meet "live long and prosper." Meets like this will grow the sport. I can only imagine how good a meet like this feels to the committed cross country folks in Dona Ana County and points surrounding. I'm told that it was a glorious morning for cross country on a course that rates highly on the scale of spectator friendliness.

Inaugural girls titles go out to Meghan Aguilera of Onate (we've heard of her a few times already this year) and Eastwood of El Paso. Scrolling down the results a little, however, shows Silver displacing Onate for top honors among New Mexico's  girls programs. I'm figuring that counts as a noteworthy moment in Silver XC history. 

Eastwood did more or less dominate on the boys side as well, but Onate managed a second-place team finish out of a collection of 14 scoring teams. Socorro, Cobre, and Silver represented the mid-sized New Mexico schools very nicely in the final team standings. Onate's Zac Rhodes took top honors among NM individuals.

I'm enough of a dreamer to hope this meet starts drawing schools from places like Carlsbad, Roswell, Artesia, and Clovis next year. 

On-Site Coverage

Girls Highlights

Boys Highlights

Chicken Creek Challenge

In Colorado, we understand this race enjoys a cult-like following. So, we also understand why several northwestern New Mexico schools regularly make the trip to the national forest just outside of Mancos.

Generally speaking, taking things out of the forest without a permit is frowned upon, but the team title Kirtland Central's girls took home was well earned. Genea Baca led the charge with a 22:35 for second. Although this isn't a sand-riddled course such as western New Mexico knows all too well, it is at serious altitude (more serious than Los Alamos) and does feature a lot of up and down.

Things didn't go quite as well for the New Mexico boys, as only Farmington's Josh Miller-Castillo managed a top ten finish.

On-Site Coverage

Desert Twilight XC Festival

Arizona now knows that Los Alamos cross country has come back to life, only bigger and meaner than before. Los Alamos took down absolutely all comers in stunning fashion at this one. Figure that the Hilltoppers are riding a tidal wave of confidence at this point. And they should be. Behind Sean Reardon's and Nick Hill's sub-16 finishes, they crushed one of the best teams in California and the best team out of Arizona.

Rio Rancho did some nice work of their own to take home a 4th-place finish in the boys sweeps race. St. Michael's pulled down a respectable 9th in the boys championship race (note that "sweepstakes" trumps "championship"--it all gets very confusing when we try to make adjectives work too hard).

The news wasn't quite as good on the girls side. Los Alamos ran into the Xavier machine and left with a full appreciation of why Xavier currently owns the top regional ranking. The Los Alamos pack stayed together pretty well, with the top five Hilltoppers all coming in between 25th and 36th, but that was also enough to push the Los Alamos team all the way back to 6th in the final team standings. The girls championship race had Rio Rancho in fifth and St. Michael's in 12th. Rio Rancho's Brianna Pribble led all NM girls with an 18:59.

On-Site Coverage

Girls Highlights

Boys Highlights

East Mountain XC Invitational

The small schools left the Bosque this week and reconvened at Sandia Park. The course this week was a good deal tougher and there are probably a few folks hoping that trend doesn't become a long-term thing.

Anyhow, no boys--not even Jimmy Buchanan--had any answers to the Eric Eridon riddle. Eridon mastered the course in 17:39. For the girls, it was the familiar names of Kendal and Reiley Kelly. They seem to finish at the top of a lot of races, and especially when Jackie Katzman isn't running. Santa Fe Prep (boys) and East Mountain (girls) take home the team titles.

Piedra Vista Totah Invitational

Piedra Vista's home invitational suffered a little from going head-to-head with Chicken Creek, but still had a nice turnout, bolstered a little by some schools coming over from Arizona. Brandon Levi took the individual win for PV, but it was not quite enough to keep Shiprock from leaving Farmington with the team title in hand.

On the girls side, take due note of how decisively Navajo Prep dominated this thing. The race times won't jump out at you, but the scoring by Amber Manuelito and company should.

I'm learning that fast courses are few and far between in western New Mexico.

Sandia Michael Prentice Invitational

They couldn't hold this one where they'd intended, so it was a nice little piece of serendipity that the Albuquerque Academy course was available (and freshly marked) on Saturday. Rarely do backup plans work as well as this one did.

The collection of teams was small, but those who were there saw Sandia take control of the boys race, both from and individual and from a team perspective. Devin Montoya ran 16:35 for the win, while his team scored 1-3-4-7-13 to leave no doubt regarding the outcome. 

Hope Christian's Kristen Lundberg ran 20:51 for girls honors. Manzano, however, took team honors with 47 points with a 2-3-12-13-17 tally.