ROSWELL – With about a mile to go in the boys division of the Pecos Valley Invitational on Oct. 8, Ruidoso runner Tyler Davis had some ground to make up.
He did it in a big way, passing six competitors and just besting Roswell’s Gerardo Ruiz at the finish line to take fourth place overall by less than a second.
“I ran it different than I usually run it. I ran slower that first mile and was in about 12th place,” Davis said. “At about half the race, I caught everybody. I was picking people off.”
Ruiz, in particular, wasn’t happy about being caught at the very end.
“Me and him kind of got into it a little bit,” Davis said. “He just wasn’t happy about it.”
Davis’ time of 16:40.64 was a personal best.
“We’d been playing around with race strategy with Tyler,” said Ruidoso coach Trevor Rabourn. “We felt the second mile was really hard on him, so we worked on taking it easy to start, and he looked really strong today.”
As a team, the Warriors were fifth overall, but bested District 3/4-4A opponent by 60 points.
It was the first time Ruidoso had been in competition since the Cobre meet two weeks ago. The fast course at Enchanted Lands Park on the west end of Roswell was a good way to get back into performance shape before heading to Rio Rancho next week for the Rio Rancho Jamboree.
Rabourn said his team needed the rest and practice to prepare for what would be a challenging meet up north, particularly since it’s also the site of this year’s state meet.
“We were hoping to gain some confidence from this meet, to come off of this and go into Rio Rancho next week,” Rabourn said. “We had a great day, with both the boys and girls running really well.”
The girls team did a little better than the boys, finishing fourth overall, but well back of third place Artesia.
Nalley Gomez had the best finish, coming in at 15th with a time of 21:19.17. Naomi Chavez and Uriah Hornedeagle weren’t that far back at 22nd and 24th.
“I felt pretty good. It was an easy course, mostly flat,” Gomez said. “I kept my pace up the whole time.”
As for how she might do in Rio Rancho, she doesn’t have many benchmarks to go by.
“This is my first year running, so I don’t really know what I can do,” Gomez said. “So I just get out there and run.”
“This was a great day for us, the conditions were perfect for running,” Rabourn said. “The whole girls side, that off week really helped them,” Rabourn said. “It gave us a bump and lifted us a little.”
Ruidoso wasn’t the only Lincoln County school represented, Capitan was there as well, albeit in a limited capacity.
Coach Kim King said injuries and commitments to the Eastern New Mexico Fair have kept most of her runners from competing.
“Of our boys, we only had two here. Sick kids, choir, strep throat, broken fingers, you name it,” King said. “But this was a great course, the kids loved running it.”
Adrianna Romero ran very well for the Lady Tigers, finishing at 30 with a time of 22:31.33, but she felt she should have done even better.
“It was a decent course, and I kept with the Ruidoso team most of the time,” Romero said. “I was fading a little bit, but not much. For the last 800 meters, I passed a bunch of girls, but I didn’t realize how far the finish line was. My place could have been a lot better.”