The consistency of Moises Coca and Anabella Miller has been akin to the northern star this fall cross country season, providing a steadying influence for their respective teams.
Miller earned runner-up honors and Coca was third in Saturday morning’s District 2-3A championship meet at Pojoaque Valley High School. As she’s done all season, Miller set the pace for Robertson’s Lady Cardinals. Coca did the same for his West Las Vegas Dons. By finishing among the top three at district, both teams qualified for the state championship meet this coming Saturday in Rio Rancho.
Additionally, the RHS boys and WLV girls will send three runners apiece to state.
Taos and Pojoaque won first and second in the team standings of both boys’ and girls’ races Saturday.
Miller earned all-district honors; so did Coca and WLV teammate Kevin Villanueva.
West coach Leroy “Caro” Armijo said he thought his boys ran well. “That’s what I expected,” he said. “We wanted to at least get third and maybe second.”
The strong pack running of the Tigers and the Elks, led by the superlative Jerome Santistevan, made cracking the top two an uphill battle.
Armijo said Coca challenged the leaders much of the way.
Robertson coach Pat Garcia was pleased with his girls’ effort, especially in light of the lack of depth they had going in.
His daughter Elena, just coming back after recovering from injuries sustained in a car crash, was the Lady Cards’ sixth and final runner. The minimum number of runners needed to post a qualifying team score is five.
Armijo’s Lady Dons also have had depth issues, and West fielded just five girls Saturday, with Divana Romero leading the way.
Garcia noted that his RHS boys had a solid finish, one through seven. Ian Parks and Leandro Garduño were in tight quarters at 13th and 14th, for example, and No. 7 man A.J. Larrañaga posted a personal record.
“We’ve made some improvements, for sure,” he said, noting that eighth graders Garduño and Jalen Jacobs have been great late-season pickups. “And Chris Jones has made tons of improvement.”
As qualifying teams, West Las Vegas’ boys and Robertson’s girls will each send seven runners to state. Additionally, Lady Dons Divana Romero, Esperanza Garduño and Renee Saavedra and Cardinals Ian Parks, Leandro Garduño and Michael Salas will compete for being among the top three on non-qualifying teams from the district meet.
Local highlights of Saturday’s district meet:
3. Moises Coca, West Las Vegas, 17:13
9. Kevin Villanueva, West Las Vegas, 18:37
13. Ian Parks, Robertson, 18:57.13
14. Leandro Garduño, Robertson, 18:57.57
18. Michael Salas, Robertson, 19:10
20. Conrad Atencio, West Las Vegas, 19:20
21. Sammy Martinez, West Las Vegas, 19:22
23. Chris Jones, Robertson, 19:33
24. Devin Maes, West Las Vegas, 19:58
25. Miguel Coca, West Las Vegas, 20:01
26. Jalen Jacobs, Robertson, 20:02
30. Enrico Tenorio, West Las Vegas, 21:04
32. A.J. Larrañaga, Robertson, 22:49
33. Brandon Maddux, West Las Vegas, 23:05
34. Peter Torres, West Las Vegas, 23:22
2. Anabella Miller, Robertson, 20:37
11. Karlene Montaño, Robertson, 22:53
12. Divana Romero, West Las Vegas, 22:37
13. Esperanza Martinez, Robertson, 23:00
16. Rebekah Hutchinson, Robertson, 23:27
20. Morgan Diefendorf, Robertson, 24:07
21. Esperanza Garduño, West Las Vegas, 24:32
23. Renee Saavedra, West Las Vegas, 24:55
24. Kayla Tarr, West Las Vegas, 25:36
25. Elena Garcia, Robertson, 25:43
28. Faith Gonzales, West Las Vegas, 28:09