If the 2018 Rio Rancho Jamboree Oct. 20 was any indication of how the state meet may turn out, then two programs left Rio Rancho High School feeling optimistic.
In the boys small-school division, Mesa Vista High School got a slight taste of their recent success when they finished as the runner-up at last year’s state meet in Class 1A/2A and won back-to-back state championships in 2015-16, all held at the same venue at Rio Rancho High School.
Damian Trujillo’s 18th place finish helped lead the Trojans to a fourth-place team finish with 136 points.
“We still got some work to do,” Mesa Vista head coach Raymond Chavez said. “We were a minute, minute and a half behind the third-place team.”
In fact, the third-place finisher was District 5-1A/2A opponent Jemez Valley High School, who had a team total of 131 points and a total time of 1:36:47.40. Mesa Vista’s total time was 1:38:25.70. Academy for the Technology and the Classics was second (78) and Cloudcroft High School was first (60).
“This was good and now that they see the course again, they know where they need to pick it up and where they need to pull back,” Chavez said. “I got some guys starting off really fast and they need to spread that out through the course. We can beat Jemez, I know we can. Like they say, ‘It depends on the day.’ Any given Saturday, I suppose.”
Right behind the Trojans in the fifth-place spot was Dulce High School, with 145 points and a total time of 1:39:05.60.
Head coach Lewis Martinez wanted to first thank the parents, saying that the boys and girls teams have had “great support” all season after their families continue to make long drives to most of the meets.
What the boys did at the Jamboree made Martinez and the parents happy, who should have a return-trip scheduled for the state meet Nov. 10.
“The team is really starting to come together and learn what to do as a pack," Martinez said. "This a great result for them and this is what we’ve been working toward all year: this race. This right there is what we need, a good confidence booster.”
Leading the Hawks’ pack was Rossendo Julian (24th) and Donnell Reval (26th).
While the top six teams from each District in 1A/2A will return to Rio Rancho for the state meet, Martinez has been pushing his team with some evasive tactics.
“I haven’t told them that,” he said. “I’ve only told them it’s the top-three because if they think it’s top six, then they’ll slack up on me. I know they can do it and that’s what they’re shooting for.”
Dulce and Mesa Vista did not field full teams for the small-school girls race, but McCurdy Charter School found themselves in the opposite situation.
The Bobcat boys were short runners because many are starting basketball-related activities, but the girls put together an eighth-place finish and could be on the verge of their first state appearance as a team since the program reinstated in 2016.
The Lady Bobcats finished eighth out of 11 teams with 199 points. Their District 2-1A/2A rivals ATC and Pecos High School proved supreme again this season, finishing first and second with 40 and 47-point efforts.
“Our goals are still right there and we’re hoping to get third at districts. That’s our goal,” McCurdy head coach Cecilia Brown said.
Jayme Bustos was the only Lady Bobcat to qualify for state in 2017 and the junior put together another solid performance, finishing 19th out of 106 runners in 23:06 and Emma Lovato came in 45th at 25:11.10.
“Hopefully Jayme can get up there in the top five and Emma (Lovato) in the top 10,” Brown said about the District meet. “We got a week off here and we’ll get some good runs in and hopefully be ready, but I was proud of the way they ran here. They all ran really well.”
The Pojoaque Valley High School boys and girls competed in the championship division of the Jamboree and the boys team finished 18th out of 25 teams and the girls were 25th of 28 teams. John Hall was the best finisher for the program as he continued his strong season with a 15th-place effort out of 174 runners (16:46.70).
Española Valley High School was demoted to the junior varsity race after the meet host sent the registration packet to the Email of last year’s head coach, said current head coach Aaron Salinas. The miscommunication left Salinas unable to register the team by the Oct. 15 deadline.
“They said they sent it to Julio (Trujillo) and I was like, ‘Well, Julio isn’t the coach anymore,” Salinas said. “They told us we could still come and run, and I talked to the kids and they all still wanted to come, because lets’ face it, we will have a hard time doing anything in our District meet (for a chance to return for state).”