Eagle boys win meet title for third straight year

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Not many of the top Belen High cross country runners competed in Saturday’s Meadow City Jam in Las Vegas, N.M. But many Eagles who made the trip were able to make their presence known.

The Eagle boys won their third consecutive Meadow City team title Saturday, placing four runners in the top 10.

News-Bulletin file photo: Belen’s Jared Garcia placed third in Saturday’s Meadow City Jam in Las Vegas, N.M. The Eagle boys took first place, and both BHS squads are set to compete in a meet at Cochiti Golf Course on Saturday.

Only two girls competed for the Lady Eagles in Las Vegas. Both BHS teams are set to compete in the 9 a.m. Santa Fe Indian School Invite on Saturday at Cochiti Golf Course.

Two veteran boys missed the Las Vegas meet. Dontae Vigil was out of town, and Colton Lewis was recovering from an ankle injury suffered in a basketball workout. The girls were missing several runners, most notably freshman Arena Lewis, who had a family commitment.

“I told the boys that in the absence of some guys, let’s go out and win some hardware anyway,” said BHS coach Joseph E. Garcia. “Some of the boys had a teammate or someone to push them the entire race.”

Sophomores Aaron Romero and Jared Garcia finished second and third, respectively, to lead the BHS boys. Both were about a minute behind race winner Alonzo Chavez of Mora.

Not far behind Romero and Garcia was John Berry, who placed seventh. Manuel Guerrero was 10th, followed by Brian Baldonado (16th) and Cameron Robare (17th).

Belen’s team score of 38 was by far the best of the six complete boys teams. West Las Vegas placed second with a score of 69.

“Aaron and Jared were neck and neck the whole race,” said Garcia. “Jared has been getting over a hip injury, and he’s not 100 percent.”

Berry ran alongside Los Lunas High senior Michael Brown much of the race. Garcia praised Berry’s effort, as well as the running of Guerrero, Baldonado and Robare, and said Guerrero is very inquisitive.

“Manuel is always asking questions, like about how he can improve,” said Garcia. “And he always works hard. That’s what you like to see.”

The Lady Eagles were without several regulars, such as Lewis, who is one of the fastest girls in the state. Also missing were regulars Alisha Montoya-Silva and Shannon Russell and eighth-grader Destinee Vigil.

Victoria Cordova placed 13th with at time of 21 minutes, 54 seconds. Lori Espinoza was 20th.

“Those girls should be running a little stronger than that,” said Garcia.

The Eagle teams are set to compete in the David Allen Memorial Invite at Los Lunas High on Saturday, Oct. 13. Not only will that be the first meet to feature Belen, Los Lunas and Valencia together, but it will also include those District 6-4A teams plus Grants and Gallup.


-- Email the author at jbrooks@news-bulletin.com.