By Arnie Leshin
It’s off to the annual Desert Twilight Cross Country Festival again for the Hunts. Two years after now sophomore Logan ran at the prestigious nighttime event for St. Michael’s, it’s now freshman Raylee racing in the premier Sweepstake 5,000 meters.
Already one of the top distance runners in New Mexico, as well as a versatile athlete, Raylee expects to be off and running at 9:30 Friday night, which is 10:30 in New Mexico. She is flying there with her mom, Kristi, and she sounds like she can hardly wait.
“I’m really excited,” she says, “and happy to have my mom along. It should be a great experience because I love to run and it sounds like a great event with plenty of top runners.”
It was Lee Hunt, her dad, who recalled Logan running there, and informed St. Michael’s head coach Lenny Gurule. Then arrangements were made with officials of the Festival and Raylee was accepted for the elite race.
It’s an event always held in Arizona, and this time it will run over the Queen Creeks Links Golf Course Course in Tan Valley. It’s one of the finest XC events in the land, and a vast number of 5,000 runs will be contested. Against this competition, Raylee will probably need to run in the low 1800s or somewhere in the middle.
“Her best time was 18:56.50,” says Gurule, “and she is fit and ready for a big race like this. She’s run against good competition since coming out last year as an 8th-grader, but this will be even more of a test.”
No doubt Gurule, now in his 18th year as head coach, is thinking that this field will include upperclassmen like juniors and seniors, but he also thinks it’s a good test and experience for his prize youngster.
His St. Michael’s team had been scheduled for the annual Rio Rancho Jamboree, usually a prelim for the state championships held there, but the state championships are now being run at Albuquerque Academy, and so he switched to the Saturday morning meet at East Mountain.
Logan is still running, but remains on the school’s state soccer championship team, and will probably compete in track and field.