Broncos finish as runner-up for second year in a row

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RIO RANCHO — Been there, done that, is another way of putting it for Kirtland Central junior Kashon Harrison.

He won a race on the Rio Rancho High School cross-country course, the annual Rio Rancho Jamboree, back in mid-October. And he finished second on that course in the 2016 state cross-country meet.

This afternoon, he captured the 5A individual title, leading the Broncos to a runner-up finish for the second year in a row.

Harrison was a bit disappointed he couldn’t set a personal record on the course, much of it soft and sandier than usual because of recent dry weather in Rio Rancho.

His time over the 5K course was 15:54.85; he’d won the Jamboree in 15:50.7, and turned in a time of 15:54.85 en route to that second-place finish last November — the same time that was good enough to win this time around.

“It feels good,” Harrison said, unbeaten in 2017. “My game plan was just go out — I wanted a (personal record) — but it was too sandy.”

The cool, overcast day, he said, “was pretty right” as far as conditions.

He’d taken the lead early, finishing about 36 seconds ahead of runner-up Ty McCray (16:30.6) of fourth-place Miyamura.

Following the race, Harrison and McCray shook hands, high-fived and hugged more than half of the field as the boys finished the race.

“When people fall down, I want to cheer them up, and so I just kinda shake their hand and say, ‘It’s OK,’ or ‘Nice job,’” he said.

Later this month, he’ll run the Footlocker competition in Phoenix, a regional race he ran and “did all right” in last year.

Perennial cross-country powerhouse Albuquerque Academy won the 15-team 5A boys title with a team score of 36.

The Broncos amassed a score of 61. Also finishing in the top 10 were Koby Blackwater (seventh/17:11.1) and Tristen George (ninth/17:11.7). Jacob Hawkins (16th/17:29.75) and Osean Nez (28th/18:03.55) rounded out the Broncos’ scorers.

The KC girls also brought home a trophy, finishing third in the 14-team field.

Academy (38) and Los Alamos (69) finished first and second. The Broncos’ score of 134 was compiled by Michaela Hawkins (21st/21:10.05), Tiajhae Nez (22nd/21:11.05), Autumn Harrison (23rd/21:17.85), Chynitta Yazzie (31st/21:51.3) and Lakyla Yazzie (37th/22:04.95).

Gary Herron covers sports for the Rio Rancho Observer. He can be reached at 505-891-7174.

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