Aztec boys, girls dominate season-opening meet

Defending 4A state champion Lady Chieftains crush the competition in Rehoboth

Jake Newby
  • The Aztec boys and girls cross-country squads each finished well ahead of Bloomfield and Farmington in the Aztec Invitational.
  • Kirtland Central's boys took 12th out of 38 schools at the UNM Lobo Invite, where the Piedra Vista girls placed 17th.
  • The Lady Chieftains won the Rehoboth Invitational with 65 more points than the second-best team.

FARMINGTON — It was a good day to be an Aztec Tiger on Thursday during the Aztec Invitational, the opening meet of the cross-country season for San Juan County schools.

Aztec junior Andrew Day leads the way during the Aztec Invitational on Thursday at the Aztec Tiger Sports Complex.

Aztec welcomed Farmington and Bloomfield into the Aztec Tiger Sports Complex for a three-team invite, and the hosts thoroughly outperformed their Class 5A counterparts.

Aztec's Andrew Day, Matthew Smith, Dwight Barton and Ruben Teasyatwho were the first four runners to cross the finish line in the 5,000-meter run, lifting the Tigers to 18 total points and a first-place finish.

Farmington was a distant second with 55 points, while Bloomfield's boys picked up 61.

Tanin McDermott was the fastest Farmington runner, finishing with a time of 20 minutes and 26 seconds, good enough for fifth. Immediately behind McDermott were a pair of Bobcats — Dwight Duwyenie and Clayton White.

Like the boys, the Lady Tigers were also guided to victory by taking the top four spots in the race.

Haley Chapman, Ashlynn Atwood, Liz Amador and Naomi Teasyatwho were first through fourth, respectively, on Thursday, as Aztec amassed 17 points. Bloomfield's girls had 48 points, 19 better than the third-place Lady Scorpions, who had 67.

Bloomfield junior Katelin Kosea competes in the Aztec Invitational on Thursday at the Aztec Tiger Sports Complex.

For Bloomfield, Katelin Kosea and Breyana Woody took fifth and sixth, respectively, in the 5K, and encouraged first-year coach Scott Hale in the process.

"Katelin and Breyana really stepped it up from how they've been performing in practice," Hale said. "(Thursday) was the best I've seen them."

Both Bloomfield teams have been working on their base miles in the past few weeks, and Hale said he's liked what he's seen so far in that area.

"In this meet, I was looking for athletes to keep their endurance and keep their pace the entire meet," he said. "They all did pretty well at that."

Aztec coach Steve Lanier could not be reached for comment over the weekend.

Harrison shines for Kirtland Central at UNM Lobo Invite

Broncos sophomore Kashon Harrison had a tremendous day at the University of New Mexico Lobo Cross-Country Invitational in Albuquerque on Saturday, racing to a first-place finish ahead of 275 other competitors.

Harrison's effort — he crossed the finish line in 15:33 — helped Kirtland Central's boys secure 12th place out of a crowded 38-school meet.

Broncos coach Lenny Esson said Harrison was aggressive from the get-go.

"He's got that mentality of 'I want to push the pace and see who wants to go with me,'" Esson said. "He wants to see who's willing to push the pace with him, and everyone else was hesitant at first."

Navajo Prep's boys finished in 16th place while Piedra Vista took 25th. PV sophomore Brayan Barajas was the 49th individual to finish the race, and he did so less than a second faster than Prep's top runner, senior Mathis Quintana, who was 50th.

Farmington's Tanin McDermott competes in the Aztec Invitational on Thursday at the Aztec Tiger Sports Complex.

The PV girls fared better than the boys, ranking 17th out of the 34 participating schools. Paris Chee had the best day of any Lady Panther and earned 30th place.

The Lady Eagles landed in 21st as a team, while the Lady Broncos were 28th.

Shiprock girls own the Rehoboth Invite

The defending Class 4A state champions picked up where they left off last fall by winning the Rehoboth Invitational on Friday.

The Lady Chieftains completely dominated the field of 13 schools, scoring a first-place total of 36 points. The closest team to Shiprock in the final standings was Zuni, which earned 101 points.

Sophomore Khadija Lapahie was second overall with a time of 20:53. Destiny Rockwell, whose time was 21:15, and T'yana Harry, at 21:22, finished third and fourth, respectively.

The Shiprock boys took fourth out of 14 teams with 93 points. Aaron Gould ran a great race, crossing the finish line in 17:04 to nab second among individuals.

"He came into the season in really good shape," Shiprock coach Brian Paniagua said of Gould. "Putting in a lot of hard work over the summer paid off."

The next best Shiprock placer after Gould was Arvin Begay, who took 16th place.

"We looked better than I had anticipated, but we have some work to do to get where we need to be," Paniagua said.

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.