LL girls are 11th at giant meet

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The Los Lunas High cross country program got a strong finish from the girls team at the annual Rio Rancho Jamboree on Saturday. The boys did not fare quite as well.

Led by Kendra Lente's 15th place finish among some of the best the state has to offer, the girls finished 11th overall with a 383 total. Valencia had the highest team score of District 6-4A teams, finishing 10th with a score of 368.

The Los Lunas boys finished 23rd, well behind district mate, Belen, which was 12th.

"I believe the meet went as expected," said coach Larry Padilla. "Everyone in our district was present so it gave us a good idea on where we stand, individually and as a team for both boys and girls."

Los Lunas will run in the Grants Invitational on Friday on the campus of New Mexico State University-Grants. It will give the Tigers a chance to try out the course where the district meet will be held on Nov. 2.

At the jamboree, Lente placed 15th among 202 finishers with a time of 20 minutes, 43.2 seconds. Gloria Zuni was 53rd, followed by Jordan Benavidez (87th) Eliyah Lucero (110th) and Vivian Lueras (118th), Courtney Gutierrez (131st) and Eve Lovato (148th).

Padilla reported that Kielee Kinghorn did not run this weekend, as exepected, and neither did Shannae Williams.

"With those girls gone, it was difficult to get a true picture on our strength," said the Los Lunas coach.

Padilla was pleased with the girls' effort overall.

"Eliyah (Lucero) was running with an injury," said Padilla. "Kendra has continued to be the most consistent of all runners throughout the year." 

Michael Brown led the boys' effort with a solid time of 18:32.6. To show just how tough the field was, that was good enough to finish 83rd, well behind winner and nationally-recruited Luis Martinez of Cleveland with a time of 15:50.

Padilla reported that Patrick Benavidez ran varsity for the first time this week since an injury. Benavidez ran 202nd with a time of 21:54.

"We have been slowly trying to get him ready for district," said Padilla.

Issaiah Abeita finished 121st, Nate Candelaria was 142nd, Eric Gomez finished 148th and Phillip Hammon was 161st. There were 213 runners who posted times.

"We run the Rio Rancho Jamboree each year mainly so the kids can have an opportunity to run the same course they run at state," said Padilla. "This year, the course appeared to be quite sandy and slow. Hopefully, they will water it down before state." 

Padilla is working with both teams to get ready for back-to-back trips to Grants.

"The main thing we need to do to prepare for district is to keep everyone healthy," said Padilla. "Our practices will have to be modified and individualized during the next two weeks to prepare for district and state." 


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