Eagle boys improve, Lewis returns at RRHS event

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The Belen High girls’ cross country performance was buoyed by the return of Arena Lewis, but the boys still had two runners missing from their trip to the Rio Rancho Jamboree on Saturday.

News-Bulletin file photo: Belen High cross country runner Manuel Guerrero competes in a recent meet. The Eagle teams will prepare for next week’s district championships by competing in the Valley Invite, set for 3 p.m. Friday at Albuquerque’s Mariposa Park.

Lewis placed eighth overall and the Lady Eagles finished 25th as a team.

The boys team still fared well, despite missing their top runners, Dontae Vigil and Colton Lewis, who is recovering from an ankle injury.

Belen had the highest finish of any District 6-4A team, placing 12th in the field of Class 4A and 5A powerhouses.

Belen is at the Valley Invite on Friday, run at Miraposa Park in Albuquerque. The District 6-4A Championships follow on Nov. 2 at Grants, run on the New Mexico State University campus.

“I think we ran really well,” said Eagle coach Joe Garcia. “There is always room for improvement. We will try and correct the little things. I am pretty definite that the boys team will go to state. It is a matter of going out and training hard.”

Aaron Romero led the Belen runners, finishing 20th with a time of 17:08. Jared Garcia ran 61st, John Berry was 68th, Manuel Guerrero was 84th, Brian Baldonado ran 131st, Cameron Robare finished 158th and Jacob Gardner was 209th.

Garcia noted that Vigil was ill and has missed the previous week of practice. He did return to practice on Monday.

“I think we are going to have a good week,” said Garcia. “We have to keep in focus and get ready for the next meet.”

Lewis ran with the leaders through most of the race, dropping back from the pack, led by winner Jenna Thurman of Del Norte in the last part of the race. “It was nice to have Arena back. She had not raced in three weeks. She ran a really good race,” said Garcia of the freshman’s first race back.

“If we can keep her going, I think she will be alright for district and state,” said the Belen coach.

Victoria Cordova finished 124th, Lori Espinoza was 141st, Shylyn Baca ran 154th and Tabitha Davis placed 181st.

“We have a quite a gap between Arena and the second girl,” said Garcia. “We are just young this year. But I am not giving up on anyone. We can compete.”


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