Tough field at State for Warrior harriers

By Todd Fuqua

Ruidoso cross country coach Trevor Rabourn knew a top 10 place – top 20 even – would be a tall order for senior Tyler Davis at this year’s Class 4A State cross country meet at Rio Rancho.

Davis finished 21st with a time of 17:29.40.

“It was a difficult year to crack the top 20, a lot of kids were running fast times this year,” Rabourn said. “The top 25 percent of the runners were about 16 seconds faster than last year.”

According to Rabourn, a lot of that improvement was among sophomores and juniors. Between grades 10 and 11, you can expect to see a lot of growth.

But as seniors, things start to level off. In fact, the senior runners at State were slower by an average of six seconds, and Davis was 10 seconds slower than last year’s time.

“The seniors, you just can’t get as much improvement. There’s a lot more incremental progress from them,” Rabourn said. “When you’re running at the top of your game as a senior, it’s really hard to squeeze out improvement.”

That doesn’t mean Rabourn thinks the weekend was a failure. In comparing Davis’ time at district with how he did at state against the same competition, Rabourn said the improvement was remarkable.

At district, Davis was fifth, about 45 seconds back of district champion Matt Weinstein of Hope Christian.

At state, Davis closed the game to five seconds.

“He was also an all-harrier this year,” Davis said. “To do that is something you have to consider to be a success.”

Davis’ teammate, Aaron Forster, was 69th overall with a time of 19:19.40 and will be back next season.

Naomi Chavez also ran as the only Lady Warrior in the girls’ division, turning in a time of 23:05.35 and finishing at 63.

“She was in a position where you have to run by yourself at state, which is tricky, because you’re not with the people who’ve helped you mentally prepare and physically run well,” Rabourn said. “I see a mental toughness that’s been progressing the last two years. But this year, it’s really helping her as an athlete.

She’s to the point mentally where she can do some things that will really make her successful next year.

“In many ways, we had a successful season this year,” he added. “We had some who didn’t have their best days, but they still had good days at district. As these young runners mature and increase their fitness, I think we’ll be where we need to be.”

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