By Matthew Narvaizsports@taosnews.comThe Taos cross-country team traveled to Río Rancho High School on Saturday (Nov. 9) for the State Cross-Country Championships, their final meet of the season.
The Taos cross-country team traveled to Río Rancho High School on Saturday (Nov. 9) for the State Cross-Country Championships, their final meet of the season.
It was a gathering of the best runners and teams in Class 4A, and among them were the Tigers' boys and girls varsity squads.
Overall, the girls varsity team performed up to par, head coach Bruce Gomez said, as the team finished sixth overall in a field of 14 teams. The boys varsity team finished in 11th place overall, one spot up from a season ago.
Individually, Alyx Mastor was the strongest runner on Saturday for Taos, as she finished in third place in the Class 4A girls varsity race with a time of 19:13.45.
Mastor was happy with her performance - her second straight third-place finish in the state meet.
"I felt really good about it," Mastor said of her performance. "I did the best I could that day."
The girls varsity race was strong this year, too, Gomez said. Between fourth and sixth place for team placings, the point spread was just 11. As far as the individual times in the girls varsity race, the top 13 runners finished with times below 20 minutes.
Taos, as a team, finished with 159 points. Miyamura, which finished fifth overall, scored 155 points, and Kirtland Central finished with 148 points, good enough for fourth place.
In the girls varsity race, Taos had two other runners finish in the top 30, with Ella Katz finishing with a time of 20:42.80 and Marielle Gomez finishing with a time of 21:09.30. Katz finished 24th individually, while Gomez finished in the 28th spot.
A total of 110 runners participated in the Class 4A girls varsity race. Salome Borrego-Marsh finished in 57th place, and rounding out the 64th and 65th spots were Kai Duchanois and Jade Mares, respectively.
Gomez said that, for most of the beginning of the season, the Lady Tigers ran with just five runners - the same five who rounded out the top five runners for Taos in the state meet.
But Duchanois and Mares, an eighth-grader, decided to join later on - both welcomed by the team and Gomez. Duchanois was new to the sport this season, Gomez said. And adding those two only strengthened the team throughout the season and into the state meet.
He added that the girls Class 4A as a collective are the best in the state throughout all classes. Gomez said that if Taos' placings were to count in the Class 5A girls varsity race, the team would have finished in either " fifth or sixth place."
Mastor said that even though she finished in third place individually for the second season in a row, she's still noticed improvement as a runner on her end.
"I've improved a lot," Mastor said.
She also said that the team has gotten close throughout the season. "We've all grown as people over this year," she said.
In the boys varsity race, Eddie Duran was the top individual finisher for the Tigers as he placed 42nd overall with a time of 18:00.25.
Gomez said that he appreciated Duran's consistency all season long. He then said that the runners for the boys varsity squad wanted to get better this season.
They competed against some of the best runners in the state, which included the likes of Los Alamos - arguably the best squad in the state - and Albuquerque Academy.
"Every time out competing at this level you learn something," Gomez said. "And we did. … I think we had a really good season, really great kids. This is a very dedicated, really good bunch of kids that I was fortunate enough to have."
Rounding out the individual placings in the boys varsity race for Taos was Duncan-Stewart Jackson in 43rd place, Elliot Molz in 55th place, Joseph Trujillo in 57th place, Jonathan Evans in 67th place, Carlos Rodriguez in 75th place and Nathaniel Martinez in 87th place.
Gomez said he's sad about losing two senior runners in Martinez and Trujillo but is excited for his other runners that are coming back next season. He said that things from here can only get better, just as they have before.
When prompted with the simple question of how he'd evaluate this season overall for both squads, Gomez kept it simple.
"Good," he said. "We gave it our all."
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