Belen XC still without its two best runners

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The Belen cross country team wasn’t at full strength for the John Grimsley Memorial Invitational, hosted by Santa Fe Indian School Saturday.

The absent team members affected the boys and girls teams differently.

News-Bulletin file photo: John Berry, shown here at a recent meet, helped the Belen boys finish sixth in the John Grimsley Memorial Invite on Saturday. Belen, Valencia and host Los Lunas are all preparing for the David Allen Memorial at 9:30 Saturday.

The boys, who placed sixth, could have finished much higher in the team standings as the four remaining regular varsity runners stayed close and finished well. It was the fifth runner’s score that dropped them in the standings.

Dontae Vigil and Colton Lewis were missing for the Eagle boys’ lineup. Lewis is recovering from a sprained ankle.

“I can’t comment on Dontae,” said coach Joe Garcia.

Garcia is hopeful that the Lewis siblings will be key contributors in the next meet at the David Allen Memorial Invite held at Los Lunas on Saturday. The girls race is set for 9:30 a.m., with the boys to follow.

Both Arena and her brother, Colton, were absent Saturday, nursing ankle injuries.

The Lady Eagles finished 14th of 16 teams and were led by Alisha Montoya-Silva, who finished 52nd. Destinee Vigil was 63rd, Victoria Cordova finished 72nd, Lori Espinoza was 75th and Shylyn Baca ran 78th.

“I wish I had a stronger squad,” said Garcia. “All of the girls are doing a good job and their times are improving. I am a firm believer in that you have to practice hard to perform well at the meet.”

The boys were led by Aaron Romero. He ran a 17-minute, 21-second time over the 3.1-mile course to finish ninth.

The pack time for the next three was very tight, but a lack of depth caught up to the Eagles in their fifth qualifier needed to complete the team total.

Jared Garcia ran a 17:59 to finish 22nd. John Berry (18:13) was 30th, Manuel Guerrero (18:31) was 38th.

The scores dropped off to Brian Baldonado (19:57) in 88th place and Cameron Robare (20:25), finishing 98th.

“We ran well, even though we only had one in the top 10,” said Garcia. “It was a tough course and their were a lot of hills.”

The Eagles’ teams are getting ready for the Los Lunas meet where they will run against Grants, Gallup, Los Lunas and Valencia, to name some of the teams involved.

“I hope everyone is back next week and up to par. It will be a really nice meet,” said Garcia. “We will have the majority of the district there. We will see where we really are. The boys have done well, and the girls will need some work. I really believe in these kids.”


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