Home / Sports / St. Michael’s junior Justin Angel finishes ninth in Saturday’s championship 5-kilomter cross country race

St. Michael’s junior Justin Angel finishes ninth in Saturday’s championship 5-kilomter cross country race

Event is run over the same course as next month’s state championships

Commentary by Arnie Leshin

By ARNIE LESHIN, Santa Fe Today

He might not have had the fastest time among the 4A runners, but once again Justin Angel ran behind only the 5A winner and 6A harriers in finishing ninth at Saturday’s annual Rio Rancho Jamboree over the state championship course.

The St. Michael’s junior ran in the premier 5-kilomer won by red-hot Kirtland Central junior Kashon Harrison in 15:50.70. Next came six 6A runners and one from 5A before Angel crossed the finish line in 16:42.10. Harrison is favored to win the state 5A.

“He ran well,” said Horsemen head coach Lenny Gurule of Angel, “but he can do better. It was a tough field just like when he ran in the UNM Invitational.”

In the UNM 5-k run, Angel took seventh behind Harrison and a host of 6A runners as again the fastest of the smaller schools.

The fastest time among those from 4A schools was West Las Vegas senior Miguel Coca. He paced the large school varsity field by winning in 16:31.20, nearly 20 seconds ahead of teammate James Esquibel.

Navajo Pine took one-two in the small school varsity as Michael Marshall placed 67 seconds ahead of teammate Galvin Curley.

In that race, Santa Fe Prep sophomore Griffin Rutherford came in 29th in 18:58.01, Desert Academy junior Jakob Kaare-Rasmussen 31st in 19:01.46, and Academy of Technology and The Classics senior Cole Ferguson was 35th in 19:20.76, just ahead of teammate Lukas Clausson (19:21.60).

Harrison is on course to win state this time. He finished third his freshman season and second last year. At the annual Desert Twilight 5-K in Casa Grande, Ariz., he paved the way in 14:56.3. This time, he was five seconds ahead of 6A favorite Jericho Cleveland of Albuquerque Volvano Vista.

St. Michael’s junior Eli Stewart ran 15th in 17:01.70, but thought that it wasn’t a comfortable race for him and Angel.”

“We had like two weeks off from competition after the Desert Twilight,” he said, “and had some hard practices, but it didn’t feel all that well today.”

Just ahead of Steward in 12th was Pojoaque Valley junior John Hall in 16:51.80. Hall and senior teammate Avery Torrez have been running right behind Angel in previous meets, but for Torrez it was a disappointing 42nd place finish in 17:34.70. The Elks are one of the favorites to take team honors at state in 4A.

Having his best campaign ever is Santa Fe Indian School senior Thomas Lucero. On the team since 8th grade, he is finally in gear, this time running 14th in 17:01.30

“Oh yes, Thomas is running at his best right now,” said Braves’ head coach Joe Calabaza. “He’s gone to the lead most of the time, has led until about the last 100-200 meters, and just has to have a better kick. But he’s going to do well at state.”

Pecos, again favored to win a third-straight 3A state championship, was led by senior Joshua DeHerrera turning in a time of 17:20.10 to place 33rd. St. Michael’s also finished 73rd, 161st and 170th, behind junior Adri Veuerte-Maya, junior Wesley Stenberg and freshman Valentino Calabaza, respectively. Calabaza is the nephew of Indian School head coach (Joe) Calabaza.

Senior Cody Quintana, the Braves’ second-best runner, was not available for this event, so it was teammate Raheem Alonzo as the No. 2 finisher by placing 69th in 18:00.30.

In the large school varsity run, Santa Fe High junior Elijah Gonzales finished 32nd in 18:49.90. The next Demon was senior Bradley Moffett taking 64th in 19:32.20. Capital High junior Alfredo Ochoa was 82nd in 20:03.10 and in 95th was sophomore Joshua Nemingha timed in 20:23.70. The Jaguars’ top harrier, senior Joseph Nemingha, was in the championship run and ran 84th in 18:08.40.

The junior varsity race went to Kaden Hamilton of Volcano Vista in 17:58.05. Seventh was Indian School junior Jaden Aquino in 18:35.66 behind all 6A runners. Freshman teammates DeBryl Candelario and Marcus Concho took 25th and 28th, respectively, in 19:10.85 and 19:16.10.

Senior Theodore Goujon, a sprinter, of Santa Fe High was 39th and clocked 19:37.99.

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