By Arnie Leshin
Santa Fe Indian School junior Destiny Marquez, who spent last cross country’s coronavirus pandemic shortened season running in the colors of Capital High, her school district, when her Braves temporarily discontinued tribal athletics, is back with her regular teammates now and one of their leaders on the course.
At Saturday morning‘s Los Lunas Invitational, she ran one of her better times for 5,000 meters in finishing third in 21:04.49, with senior Aubrey Lozoya of Albuquerque’s Cottonwood Classic Prep taking the top spot in 20:55, and the runner-up was Belen freshman Lisette Sanchez in 21:52.65.
Cottonwood ran off with the team championship with 43 points by placing 1-4-8-13-17, and 25th and 27th, and second place went to Joe Calazza’s young Braves, who totaled 58 points. While Marquez was their top finisher, junior Kendra Emery, who was the team’s leading harrier but who did not compete in the shortened season, and she’s back to compete again, but came in only 25th at Los Lunas.
Ninth was Indian School freshman Destiny Chino, who clocked 23:32.78, 12th was Braves’ freshman in Destiny Chino, and she ran 23:32.78, 14th was yet another SFIS freshman in Rayann Concho, who timed 24:10.65, 20th was Braves’ junior Nalani Padilla in 25:44.31, and senior Taylor Pancho, the team No. 6 runner, 27:35.76.
That’s three freshmen, two juniors and one senior. By state championship time on Nov. 6 at Albuquerque Academy, these Indian School youngsters should be ready to go and perhaps land on the podium.
There were 70 harriers in the field, with eight of the schools having full teams, but Santa Fe High came up short. It went with Demonettes’ 8th-grader Mia
Schleman running 11th in 23 seconds flat, senior Olive Beffort crossed the finish 31st in 25:19.33. and senior Lili Gadret ran 39th in 25:37.91.
Cottonwood totaled 1:54.30 per minute and averaged 22:54. Indian School totaled 1:58.03 per minute and averaged 23:40.