Eagle boys win third 6-4A title in last four years

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For the third time in four years, the Eagle boys have captured the District 6-4A team cross country championship.

Mike Stearns-News-Bulletin photo: Belen sophomore Aaron Romero won the boys individual title in Friday’s District 6-4A race at Grants. The Eagle boys won their third District 6-4A title in four years, and are set to compete at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Class 4A boys state race at Rio Rancho High.

But for one Lady Eagle girl, the cross country season ended unexpectedly in an bizarre turn of events.

One of the state’s top runners, BHS freshman Arena Lewis, lost her way on the course, ran out of the course boundaries, and had to retrace her entry back into the race.

Hoping to contend with Jenna Thurman one last time before the Del Norte state champion graduated, Lewis did not qualify for this Saturday’s Class 4A state championships at Rio Rancho High.

“It was very emotional,” said Belen coach Joe Garcia of Lewis’ day. “She was emotional. I was emotional. You just hate to see it happen.”

State-championship races will be staggered by class Saturday, with all of the boys races taking place first. The scheduled start time for the Class 4A boys race is 11 a.m. The awards presentations are scheduled for 3 p.m.

The Belen girls finished last in the district with a score of 170. Their top finisher was Alisha Montoya-Silva at 23rd.

Victoria Cordova finished 31st, Shylyn Baca was 35th, Lori Espinoza ran 36th, Destinee Vigil finished 45th, Lewis was 46th, Shannon Russell was 49th and Tabitha Davis ran 50th.

Los Lunas won the title with a team score of 44, followed by Valencia with a team total of 57. Grants advanced to state by placing third.

Miyamura was fourth and Gallup finished fifth.

Eagle sophomore Aaron Romero won the boys district title with a time of 18 minutes, 2 seconds.

The Belen boys had four top-10 finishers, with Jared Garcia running fourth with at time of 18 minutes, 44 seconds.

Dontae Vigil, the district’s 2011 boys champion, was sixth with a time of 18:48, and John Berry was 10th with a time of 19:23.

“You know, I think that they are just as good as the beginning of the season,” said Garcia. “I have always thought highly of all of them. From day one, to the district meet last Friday, they are running strong and they are running together. They are just a good group of boys.”

Colton Lewis ran 20th, Brian Baldonado was 23rd, Manuel Guerrero finished 27th, Cameron Robare was 36th and Jacob Gardner ran 44th.

Garcia thought he might get a higher finish from Colton Lewis, who recently returned to action after missing most of the season with an ankle injury.

“I thought it was possible,” said Garcia. “I was hoping to have five in the top 10. I was pretty pleased.”

The boys are hoping to at least duplicate their 2010 effort at state, when they took home the third-place trophy. They were fourth last year.

Of course, Garcia was very distraught over Arena Lewis’ failure to make the state field.

“She has three more years,” said Garcia. “So we haven’t seen the last of Arena.”


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