FORT STANTON – In year two of the Fort Stanton Cross Country Invitational hosted by Capitan High, it’s easy to see how quickly the event has grown.
Almost every high school cross country team in Otero, Lincoln and Chaves counties were on the mesa, Sept. 16, with host Capitan doing well against the challenge.
“There were a couple of hiccups, but we had a lot more teams here this year,” said Capitan coach Kim King. “To double in size like that in the second year is pretty awesome.”
Capitan’s girls team was second overall behind Class 5A school Alamogordo, thanks in great part to the running of Tiger duo Adrianna Romero and McKenzie Gibson, who were seventh and eighth overall.
Even more impressive, Romero was running on four hours of sleep after a late night as a member of the Capitan volleyball team at the Cloudcroft Mountaintop tournament.
After the race, she hopped on a bus and was back in Cloudcroft to help her volleyball team to a spot in the tournament championship.
“I just came up here and tried to do my best,” Romero said. “I actually had one of my best times at this course, and I ran the Roswell Invite last week. I ran about the same time there that I ran here. That was a flat course, so I’ve improved immensely.
“I was really exhausted, but I just pushed myself and did the best I could. I came out seventh out of 27, so that was a really good meet for me,” she added. “These big schools give great competition, and I’m proud of my team.”
Ruidoso’s girls were third behind Capitan, boasting a No. 5 finish from Naomi Chavez with a time of 23:01.89.
“I really didn’t know what to expect on this course, I didn’t walk the back side,” Chavez said. “It wasn’t too bad, but the finish was pretty rough because it was pretty hot.”
This was Ruidoso’s third meet of the season, having been in Moriarty last week.
“We went to Moriarty to get a preview of the district meet,” said Ruidoso coach Trevor Rabourn. “It was a good day for us, it’s a course we can run well on. As a team against district competitors, we were just a few points within them.”
For the boys, Ruidoso was second overall, 22 points behind Alamogordo, while Capitan was fifth, just one spot ahead of Roswell.
“The girls did a fantastic job, running faster than I thought they would,” King said. “The boys had good individual times running against some big schools.”
Wyatt Lowrance turned in an impressive time of 17:55.78 to take third individually, while Cisco Bob III was fifth for Ruidoso.
“It looked like we ran really great today, Naomi ran really well, it was one of her stronger performances of the season,” Rabourn said. “Gabby Diaz sat out to rest a little, and that gave Naomi a chance to run on her own and find where she needs to be.”
Mescalero was represented in both boys and girls divisions, but didn’t have enough runners for a team score, nor did they have anyone place in the top 15.
Alex Kaydahzinne had the best finish for the Chiefs, running the hilly course in 19:32.86 to finish 16th.
“They did alright. We’re getting there,” said Mescalero coach Adam Herrera. “We’re still working on getting them in complete running shape. Every meet their time has been at least two minutes better.”
The teams go their separate ways next week – sort of. Capitan will be in Cloudcroft, Sept. 23, while both Ruidoso and Mescalero are scheduled to be in Las Cruces that same day for the Oñate Invitational.