Lady Jaguars focused on state qualifying

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Seventh-place team finishes from both the girls and boys Valencia cross country teams were not representative of the teams that will come back a week later on the same ground to compete in the District 6-4A championships.

Coach Lynette Padilla feels that her girls team has a chance to qualify for the Class 4A state meet by taking one of the top three spots in the District 6-4A race, that is scheduled to be held at 3:30 p.m. on the New Mexico State University-Grants campus course Friday.

News-Bulletin file photo: Valencia’s Sara Lopez is one of the Lady Jaguars hoping to help propel her team into the state championships. The top three teams at Friday’s district meet will advance to state.

The state championships are set to be held at Rio Rancho High on Saturday, Nov. 10.

Padilla said she was shorthanded during last Friday’s Grants Invitational, also held at the NMSU Grants campus.

“We had three of our top five girls absent,” Padilla said. “Two because they had an appointment, and the other was on a school trip out of state. We had one boy miss for disciplinary reasons.”

With Grace Vickers, Consuelo Lovato and Carisma Lovato missing, Corina Baca’s 19th place finish led the Jaguars. Belinda Lucero was 39th, Sara Lopez ran 40th, Alicia Carabajal was 41st, Lydia Gallegos ran 47th and Shelby Lucero was 68th.

“The girls did well despite not having three of the top five runners,” said the coach. “We just need to focus on a common team goal to prepare for district. We have a strong chance of going to state as a team as long as each girl does her part and stays focus on the team goal.”

The Jag boys finished seventh without Carlos Caro.

Adam Larson posted a good time at 19:54 and finished 19th to lead the Jaguars.

“The boys team did all right considering they were also missing a top runner. It was a tough course, perhaps harder than it was last year, so times were slower than we’d like them to be this time of year,” said Padilla.

“We think Adam and Carlos have a good chance of qualifying for state as individuals.”

Gerardo Gutierrez ran 40th, Luis Soto finished 49th, Dakota Wallace was 51st and Lucas Garcia ran 75th.

Padilla felt it was and advantage to run the course a week be fore the district race.

“It is a challenging course, so those that ran it will at least have something to visualize throughout the week as they’re preparing for the meet,” said Padilla.


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