Lente, Lady Tigers win

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It’s one thing to win a race. It’s another to run away from the field.

That’s what Los Lunas High senior Kendra Lente did Saturday at the Meadow City Jam in Las Vegas, N.M. Lente beat teammate and runner-up Eliyah Lucero and the rest of the field by more than a minute, helping the Lady Tigers claim first place.

News-Bulletin file photo: Los Lunas senior Kendra Lente, left, won the girls race at Saturday’s Meadow City Jam in Las Vegas, N.M. She helped the Lady Tigers take first place. Both Los Lunas squads are set to compete in the Valencia Invite at 9 a.m. Saturday.

The Los Lunas teams will be joined by Valencia, Estancia and Socorro at this Saturday’s Valencia High Invite, set to begin at 9 a.m.

In Las Vegas, Lente’s time of 19 minutes, 30 seconds was 1:03 better than Lucero’s as the Lady Tigers won the meet’s girls title, just as they had done in 2011.

“Kendra really opened up a lead, and blew everyone away,” said LLHS coach Larry Padilla.

Los Lunas eighth-grader was passed up by a Robertson runner in the last 100 meters, but still placed fourth. The two other Lady Tigers to account for the team score were also in the top 10: Gloria Zuni placed sixth, while Shannae Williams was ninth.

Vivian Lueras placed 17th, and Courtney Gutierrez was 18th for Los Lunas. Senior Jordan Benavidez, who got a late start to the season, competed in the junior varsity meet Saturday, but will join the varsity on the basis of having one of the five fastest times at Las Vegas.

Lente received a trophy that was presented by the family of the late Fabian Trujillo, the Robertson High coach who died in a 2011 car wreck.

Michael Brown was the top finisher for the Los Lunas boys. The senior ran with Belen’s John Berry most of the race before finishing in sixth place among 38 runners.

“Michael is becoming more consistent,” said Padilla. “We started to get, from him, what we expect to get from a senior.”

The rest of the Tiger boys finished in a cluster. Issaiah Abeita was 17th, followed by Eric Gomez (18th), Nate Candelaria (19th), Phillip Hammond (20th) and Kyle Blackwell (22nd). Jose Lucero is dealing with a hip injury, and he didn’t compete.

“Phillip was our second runner for the first half of the race,” said Padilla. “But he hasn’t quite learned how to pace himself yet.”

Padilla said there were several times and places that were tough to reconcile, and the meet was not as organized as in the past.

The Valencia meet will be a critical event to start the second half of the regular season. Not only will the Tiger runners want to beat their crosstown and District 6-4A rivals, Valencia, but the LLHS girls won’t have their full lineup for most of October.

Lucero will miss the Oct. 13 David Allen Memorial Invite at LLHS, and Kinghorn will miss the Rio Rancho Jamboree the following weekend.

“After the Valencia meet, we’ll know a lot about where we stand,” said Padilla.


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