Mora's Alonzo Chavez and Pecos's Cassie Cde Baca captured the district meet titles at District 2 - 2A. Photos by Tim Host.
Although we've not yet received reports from all district meets around the state (and we probably won't ever complete the set), let's take a quick look at what we did get from the various state-qualifying contests:
Call it sharpening. And the edge of the blade is very sharp indeed. Laguna-Acoma rolls through their regional contest with a 15-point team score. Coming into Saturday's state meet, there is no bigger favorite among either gender and all of the classifications. They don't figure to score 15 points again at state, but it should be a low total.
The girls race was a lot more interesting (unless you're Laguna-Acoma, of course) at this meet. Bosque matched up well early to East Mountain, but eventually ceded to East Mountain's superior depth. And, Bosque did appear to be missing one of the Kelley sisters as well. Even with both Kelleys, however, this one figures to go easily to East Mountain. Addison Rauch outraces Jackie Katzman by 21 seconds for the individual title. That little matchup should be a good one to watch on Saturday, though.
Shiprock had the home course and swept the team titles. They may not have needed the home course advantage, however. The Chieftains look to be hitting their stride at the right time and must be figured among the 3A contenders. Shawvan Levi and Cassandra Peters match up the team titles with a pair of individual titles. All in all, a good day to be from Shiprock.
Piedra Vista absolutely had their way with the boys field, starting with a 1-2 from Brandon Levi and Harrison Fleming. Much sterner tests lie ahead for the Panthers, but this was one to stick in the bag and celebrate.
Aztec nipped Piedra Vista for the girls team title, although Kerstin Ortiz gave PV a stranglehold on the individual titles at this meet.
It's difficult to imagine that taking five of the top nine places may not have been Cleveland's best race. Rio Rancho's Preston Charlie moved into an unusually large gap between Luis Martinez and Aaron Flores at the front of the Cleveland pack. We'll see what turns up on Saturday when everyone is playing for keeps. Any way you look at it, however, Cleveland and Rio Rancho are among the elite of 5A teams.
For the girls, Cleveland simply didn't encounter much resistance. A short-handed Volcano Vista team was no match for the Storm. In a bit of a surprise--and certainly a break from a long-term trend--the Rio Rancho girls did not qualify a team for state.
Pecos takes the boys and Tucumcari the girls. But, individual titles went to Alonzo Chavez (Mora) and Cassie Cde Baca (Pecos). Mora hangs on to get their boys team in, but the Pecos girls are not so fortunate.
Noel Prandoni. Mark that name. Noel Prandoni attends Santa Fe High School. She is also the one person who stood in the way of a double perfect score for the Los Alamos Hilltoppers. In fact, she was the only runner among the top nine of the district girls race not wearing green and gold. It can get lonely mixing it up with the LA pack.
But, all of this was more or less expected going in. It's a vintage year for Los Alamos. This meet simply adds to the mountain of confidence Los Alamos should be bringing into the state meet.
Anyone harboring hopes that a week off had softened up the Eldorado girls probably went home from this one disappointed. The Eagles advance and prepare to make a statement at state. Cassie and Crissey Amberg may not be as anxious to cross the finish line together this weekend, but it was a suitable touch to kick off the scoring for this meet.
Sandia had a very nice 1-2-4-5 run at the front to dominate the first four places of scoring at this meet. They'll need some closure at #5 this weekend, but the front four of Devin Montoya, Shamen Tom, Carl Meyer, and Joseph Manuelito looked very strong this time around.
Cobre had the only complete girls team at the meet, so they join the LAs with one of the weekend's perfect scores. It probably won't be that easy at state, however.
The Cobre boys lost a tie-breaker to NMMI, but both teams will be among the state field on Saturday. Isa Lee (Cobre) and Marchez Coriz (NMMI) win easy individual titles to help propel their teams to victory.
What we do know is that the Ruidoso boys won handily. But, their times shall be forever cloaked in mystery. The gremlins got the clock. They're scouring the Lincoln National Forest (or at least what's left of it after this summer's fires) to make sure said gremlins don't find their way to Rio Rancho on Saturday.
For the girls, it was a case of "Hi, ho, Silver, and away!" It kind of made the long trip a little more worth it to come away with the team title and an individual title for Angelica Vega.
Tragedy struck the Onate team in the last week, and the black machine undoubtedly ran this race with a lot of other things on their minds. Nevertheless, it was yet another impressive performance for the Onate team. A 1-3-4-5-6 team score for the boys left them very close to a perfect score. The girls missed, by one point, beating Alamogordo for that team title. Individual titles go to Zac Rhodes and Meghan Aguilera, both from Onate.
ATC hosted this one in the thinner air of Santa Fe. Rachel Fleddermann isn't much slowed down by thinner air. The Sandia Prep star won going away, with her back covered by teammate Hanna Grober. If the Sundevils can close down the times at 4 and 5, they could conceivably make a run at a team title come Saturday.
Hope Christian got off to a nice start with a 1-2 from Josh Diltz and Patrick Wood, but they couldn't make it stand. St. Michael's broke up the party and went on for the boys team title.
If anyone is going to beat Jenna Thurman on Saturday, she didn't seem to be in attendance for this one. St. Pius did their usual Giannini/Nathe/Regan (please correct me, somebody, if I'm messing up the spelling of these names) thing, but got maybe a bit of unanticipated support at #4 from Aryana Dominguez. And, so, just before state, the plot thickens a little.
As I recall from a lament posted (elsewhere) by Coach Turcotte from about a year ago, St. Pius X showed up at state last year in black. That didn't go so well. You may see a different color scheme this year.
But, being ready for Los Alamos and Albuquerque Academy likely trumps the color and design of the singlets.
For the boys, AA spotted the first two places to singlets of other colors, but it was the Red Sea after that. Consequently, the Chargers dominated the team scoring.