By Arnie Leshin
To be sure, the Academy of Technology and The Classics’ girls cross country team is off and running, and if there’s a state cross championship in these times of the coronavirus pandemic, they will be there in defense of the title they won handily last season.
That was when they pieced together a whooping 24 points to outrun a good Pecos entry by 11 points. They ran first, third, fourth, fifth and11th with their first five runners. Crossing the finish first was current senior Maggie Rittmeyer in 19:41.70, with her youngster sister, Lily, now a sophomore, two spots behind in 20:53.60. Next came present senior Kamryn Hohne fourth in 21:02.35, then followed present freshman Noelani Van Loom fifth in 21:09.95, and in 11th was present senior Kate Ferguson, the veteran of the team, in 21:46.65.
In 15th and 20th, respectively, were the Phoenix’ Josette Gurule (22:11.95) and Maiah Trujillo (22:31.15).
They all return, all practicing daily under head coach Tim Host. At this time, the only opened spot is at No. 7, with the group now minus Van Loom, and where sophomore Charli Koseoglu, a starter with the school’s varsity basketball team, is holding on to it.
Then there’s what you might call the ATC junior varsity, but it’s a very qualified group made up of Liberty Home, who has run previously with the varsity, Emma and Hannah St. Peter’s, Lucy Standridge, Bridget Valdez, Alga Den Hartog, and 8th-grader Avah Trujillo.
As for the boys, they did finish fourth at state with 139 points, but graduates included Gronzalo Reyes, who finished 6th, Lukas Olausson, who ran 14th, and Odin Frostad, who came in 42nd. That leaves current senior Ian Apodoca, who was 40th at state but whom Host hasn’t been in contact with yet, sophomore Noah Bogatko, who ran 49th, junior Joey Gurule, who came in 60th, and senior Jacob Wamiment, who took 110th.
Host says they he is hoping to see more of the high school crew, but will also be counting on 8th-graders Diego Rael, Noah Shandler, Ranger Rodriguez, Evan Martinez, and Gabe Ambrose. But if you check out the past teams running for Host, 8th-graders have always responded because they have experienced the hills and dales while young.
The Pecos girls will no doubt be on the heels of ATC. They return a team a team that, like the Phoenix, overwhelmed the rest of the field, where, for instance, third place Penasco wound up with 116 points, fourth place Rehoboth Christian had 173, fifth place Capitan scored 205, and sixth place Espanola McCurdy tallied 215.
So expect ATC and Pecos to dominate again.
The Panthers coached by Patrick Oritz and assisted by Victor Ortiz, have senior Vanessa Dominquez who was the runner-up in 20:42.15, junior Savanna Ortiz, who placed 6th in 21:15.85, junior Loryn Trujillo, who took 8th in 21:21.15, sophomore Mistisdawn Roybal, who finished 9th in 21:24.70, senior Kianna Quintana, who was 12th in 21:40.20, senior Alexis Gonzales, 34th in 23:12.50, and sophomore Kristina Ragland, who crossed the line 57th in 24:55.55.
The Panthers come off a 3rd place with 110 points from state last year. They graduated their top harrier, Devon Gonzales, who finished in fourth place, MIcah Tsosie, who came in 22nd, but return sophomore Aiden Holton (27th in 18:47), senior Derek DeHerrera, (31st in 18:52.40), sophomore Elijah Lujan, (32nd in 18:56.30), sophomore Lorenzo Ortega, (43rd in 19:19.35), and sophomore Zachery Fox, who finished in 70th place in 20:24.45.
But if state is run, Pecos will have a problem overtaking Navajo Pine, which won with 37 points, and Cloudcroft, which ran second with 75, but it might be able to run third again, with perhaps ATC the main challenge.