Lady Jags seventh at Jamboree; Grants is Friday

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The Valencia girls cross country got a top-10 team finish at the traditionally tough Rio Rancho Jamboree on Saturday, but the boys could not overcome a couple of absent runners and fell to 27th out of 30 teams.

Mike Stearns-News-Bulletin photo: Valencia’s Luis Soto competes in a recent meet. The Valencia and Los Lunas teams are both set to compete in the 3 p.m. Grants Invite on Friday at the same site where the District 6-4A championships will be held next week.

The Jaguars will compete on Friday at the Grants Invitational on the same course where the District 6-4A championships will be run, on Nov. 2.

Both the Grants meet and the district meet will be run at the Grants campus of New Mexico State University.

Coach Lynette Padilla reported that Allan Quezada has been “dismissed from the team” and Carlos Caro missed the bus for the jamboree.

“Those absences had a huge impact on the team performance,” said Padilla “The other boys really needed to step it up to fill in those gaps. Unfortunately, that’s a tremendous task to ask of a young and somewhat inexperienced group.”

The girls team’s result was inspiring.

“We are getting excited about district,” said Padilla. “We beat all the teams in our district at the Jamboree, so this gives us confidence.”

Grace Vickers posted a 25th place finish, Carisma Lovato was 36th, Corina Baca ran 78th, Sara Lopez was 93rd, Shelby Lucero was 136th and Consuelo Lovato finished 143rd.

“Competing at the jamboree helps prepare the group for State. We hope to get the girls team and a few individual boys there,” said Padilla.

Adam Larson finished 75th with a time of 18:20. He was the only Valencia boys runner to finish in the top two-thirds of the times posted.

Gerardo Gutierrez ran 162nd, Luis Soto was 164th, Dakota Wallace finished 176th and Lucas Garcia was 204th.

Padilla said Wallace has posted two straight personal bests with his performances in recent meets.

“We hope he can continue that trend for the next few weeks,” said the Jaguar coach.

Padilla noted that it was a tough meet and would be some of the best competition they would see all year.

“The competition inspires some, but discourages others. It’s really up to the individual to be mentally tough and to remain positive in such an intense competition,” said Padilla. “I thought Grace (Vickers) did a good job of holding up to that pressure.”

With the district meet only two weeks away, Padilla explained that the team must move past the physical preparation to reach a higher level.

“To get ready, at this point we need to work on the mental aspect,” said Padilla. “The kids are well-trained; they’re strong and have the experience of the season to prove that they have improved and that they can succeed.”


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