Youth was served Sept. 21, as local cross-country runners ventured south to Albuquerque and took on some of the toughest competition of the year in the Bosque School Fall Fiesta Invite.

A dozen schools sent teams to run the 3.1-mile course at the Bosque School, including high school and middle school squads from Taos and Peñasco.

Taos cross-country runners freshman Haley Rach led the girls team and sophomore Donevan Gravelle led the boys team across the finish line. Rach finished third, 30 seconds behind winner Jackie Katzman, of host Bosque School, while Gravelle narrowly missed winning boys’ division by two seconds.

Peñasco eighth-grader Charlyna Gonzales led the Panthers when she finished sixth in the female division, trailing the winner by 1:32. Panther Isaiah Rodarte also took sixth place, less than a minute behind Pojoaque victor Jeremy Santistevan.

The Taos boys team took third place with 62 points, only two points behind rival Pojoaque that the Tigers beat by a point earlier in the season. The Lady Tigers finished sixth out of 10 teams.

“The boys had a good day,” said coach Bruce Gomez. “They are working out the kinks as a unit. We have the weekend off, which will help.”

As for the girls, Gomez said they had an “off weekend.

“They were competitive most of the race, but fell off in the last half mile,” he said

Peñasco coach Ben Sanchez was pleased with the progress that his young teams are making during the season.

“This was our toughest competition, and they did well,” Sanchez said. “The teams have improved with every meet. Our times are coming down.”

Other finishers for Taos girls were Hannah Gunther (ninth), Marcella Sanchez (32nd), Kimberly Santistevan (45th), Rachel Montoya (46th), Elisha Sanchez (58th), and Hannah Varela (59th).

Taos boys finishers were Cade Cannedy (16th), Mateo Vigil (20th), Francisco Vigil (21st), Stephin Romancito (27th), JC Santistevan (40th), and Tristan Padilla (45th).

For Peñasco, the other boy finishers were Kyle Fernández (17th), Max Lopez (42nd), Patrick Denne (43rd), Donevan Sánchez (47th), Steven Vigil (51st), and Reyes Leyba (63rd).

Girls’ team finishers were Victoria Vásquez (35th), Makaela Vogel (37th), Jaylene García (52nd), Katherine Gallegos (53rd), Nancy Tafoya (56th), and Shannon Medina (66th).

Both girls and boys Taos middle school teams came in first, according to Gomez, and the Peñasco girls came in third, while the boys finished second.

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