Lady Jaguars place fifth at Academy Invite

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While the Valencia High girls cross country team didn’t quite crack the top echelon of teams at Friday’s meet, the Lady Jaguars were still the top Class 4A team on the course.

On Saturday, the Lady Jags hope to be the top team on the course. Period.

News-Bulletin file photo: Valencia’s Corina Baca helped her team place fifth at the prestigious Albuquerque Academy Invite on Friday. Saturday, the Jaguar teams will host the 9 a.m. Valencia Invite on the VHS campus.

The Class 4A Valencia girls team placed fifth at Friday’s Albuquerque Academy Invite, behind 5A squads Eldorado, host Academy, Cleveland and Volcano Vista. The second half of the regular season gets under way Saturday when VHS hosts Los Lunas, Estancia and Socorro for the 9 a.m. Valencia Invite.

“It’ll be a small meet, but it should be fun,” said VHS coach Lynette Padilla. “We’re looking forward to seeing improved time, and tighter pack (times).”

At Academy, Padilla said she was expecting the Valencia girls to finish in the top five, but hoping they could squeeze into the top four. They were led by sophomore Carisma Lovato, who placed 19th with a time of 20 minutes, 50.44 seconds.

“Carisma rested a bit (last) week because of her injury, and didn’t run as high up as we hoped,” said Padilla.

Finishing about 40 seconds behind Lovato was Valencia senior Grace Vickers, who was 34th. The other three Lady Jaguars that accounted for the team score were Consuelo Lovato (39th place), Corina Baca (48th) and Sara Lopez (63rd).

Cheyenne Wallace (90th) and Shelby Lucero (94th) also competed.

“Grace, Corina, and Consuelo ran well,” said Padilla. “Consuelo had an exceptional meet. She came back after a slow start and pulled off a PR. We hope to see more of that kind of work from the other girls. Sara was disappointed with her run.”

Senior Belinda Lucero, who competed in the girls junior varsity race Friday, has recovered from an injury, and has earned a spot on the varsity, Padilla said.

On the boys side, different circumstances led to most of the team being absent from Friday’s varsity race. The only Valencia boy in the race was senior Adam Larson, who placed 64th.

Luis Soto’s father passed away recently, and he and teammates Allan Quezada and Carlos Caro attended Friday’s funeral. Quezada and Caro made it to Academy in time to compete in the junior varsity race.

Gerardo Gutierrez was out of town, and Lucas Garcia and Dakota Wallace were out with injuries.

The Valencia Invite will feature an 8 a.m. community run. The first varsity race will be at 9 a.m. on the VHS course, which starts and ends on the Jaguar Stadium track and makes a clockwise loop around the campus.

At last year’s meet, the Lady Jaguars placed second — only six points ahead of District 6-4A rival Los Lunas.

“We need to get the pack closer together to see positive team results,” said Padilla.


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