Los Alamos Middle School Cross Country team. Courtesy photo
The Los Alamos Middle School Cross Country team had a very successful second outing of the season at their race on Saturday.
The Academy of Technology and the Classics (ATC) hosted the Everybody Invite, in Santa Fe. The Los Alamos team of 22 girls and 48 boys competed against 14 other teams from northern New Mexico, in a 1.5 mile race. Typically in middle school, races are separated by grades, but at ATC the 7th and 8th graders are combined in one race.
Blue and white Hawk jerseys flooded the dusty field of 176 boys to capture a first place team trophy with 34 points. Santa Fe Indian School was second with 74 points, and third place team was Pecos with 80 points. Dominic Martinez knew he had to take out strong and get in a good position before the course narrowed, leading the pack and bringing home a first place overall finish with a time of 8:50. The mix of seventh and eighth graders working together to pull each other closer proved beneficial. Finishing in the top 25 and receiving ribbons were Donald Pena (5th), Ryan Aldaz (7th), William McTeigue (8th), Wakei Hettinga (17th), Sebastian Wood (20th), and Ben Gellis (22nd).
The Hawks girls team took the 2nd place team trophy in a very close pointsrace. Los Alamos finished with 58 points, just 6 points behind the winning team from Pecos, with 52 points, and ATC in 3rd with 87 points.
For the second week in a row the Hawks were paced by 7th grade standout, Norissa Valdez, who took the lead from the gun. She was passed in the final uphill stretch to finish in 2nd place with a time of 9:27, close behind the winner from ATC, in 9:25.
Behind her, also finishing in the top 10 was Kiera Wisdom, in 7th place. In a field of over 100, the Los Alamos girls had their next 4 runners in the top 25. Cecily Palmer was 11th place, Qui Hawkins (18th), Kamaya Ronning (20th), Mabel Pyle (24th), and Katie Wingo (25th). The team did an excellent job improving the pack time for their top 5 runners, from over 3 minutes at their first meet, to 1m20s.
Pack time, is the time elapsed from when the first team member crosses the finish line, until the 5th team member crosses the finish line. A shorter pack time indicates the individuals on the team are getting stronger, which translates to being stronger as a team. Coaches Lindsey Montoya and Kay Ulrich are pleased to see this amount of improvement so early in the season.
Hard work, determination, and trust in the workouts have been key to the addition of more than 20 athletes to this weekends roster. Up next, the Cross Country team will travel to Espanola on Wednesday September 14.