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New Mexico 2003 cross country

2003 Season Forecast

by Adam Kedge,
President of New Mexico Track and Cross Country Coaches Association

State Meet Information:
Saturday, November 8th, Red Rocks State Park, Gallup, New Mexico, Elevation: 6500 feet

Gallup set for repeat sweep in 5A. US#1 Los Alamos girls appear unstoppable in 4A. Los Alamos boys could end 5 straight streak of Albuquerque Academy, which lost 4 of top 5 to graduation.

5A Boys:

Defending champs, Gallup is poised to take another title in `03. They return #3 - #5 runners plus numerous others with some varsity experience. More importantly than the loss of their #1 and #2 runners was the retirement of legendary coach Curtis Williams (26 state team titles in both boys and girls). Trying to fill the big shoes is Jacob Martinez, a former small school coach in Texas. Look for La Cueva, Eldorado, and Rio Rancho to contend for the team title. Jason Garcia of Alamogordo is the highest returning individual from the 5A state championships last fall. His 7th place leads only one other returnee from the top 10. The individual title should be a battle between Garcia, freshman Philbert Brown of Gallup, Randy Montoya of Gallup, and Cory Lamond of Eldorado. The wild cards could be the two students that La Cueva has brought to the states and who are attempting to obtain eligibility. Coach Eddy Hallebyuck, a world class masters runner, has recruited Shadrack Kiptoo from Kenya and transferred his son, Denis Hallebyck, from the high school systems in Denmark.

Fast Fact: 1972 was the last time a school from the southern half of the state won a boys team title.

5A Girls:

Last fall the Gallup Bengals won the state title in impressive fashion. Their 18-point total was a 50+ point victory over Eldorado. This fall they return 4 of their top 5 and should be tough to beat on their home course at Red Rocks State Park come November. Fighting for trophies and for the title if Gallup falters will be Eldorado and Sandia. Individual winner Sheyenne Lewis of Gallup returns to defend her crown and keep a streak of five victories in the past five years by a Gallup runner. Teammates Jerri Martin (2nd in `02) and Kristi Monaghan (4th) should contend for the top spot along with Lynn Brasher (5th in `02) from Eldorado. New to 5A is Geli Marchi who ran successfully at 3A St. Michael’s for a couple of years.

Fast Fact: Gallup’s only loss in `02 was to Harrier #2 Los Alamos.

4A Boys:

Albuquerque Academy’s 21 points in `02 was posted with 4 individuals in the top 5. Gone are three of those four with senior Andrés Urbina (3rd) the only returnee. That opens the door for Los Alamos to end the streak of five straight state titles on the Harrier’s #9 ranked team last fall. Those two squads have gone 1-2 in the team standings in each of those five seasons. The Shiprock Chieftains and the Kirtland Central Broncos are always tough in 4A and should battle for a trophy. Individually look for Urbina to be pushed by Joseph Garcia (6th in `02) of Belen as well as Bradley Pulliam (8th) and Daniel Hemphill (9th) both of Los Alamos. The wild card in the battle for top individual spots, as well as the team standings, is soccer defect and track star Cody Harper of Albuquerque Academy. The junior is fresh off a hot summer where he set a national record for 16 year olds in the 1500 meters (3:53.74).

Fast Fact: 6 of the top 10 individuals are back from the top 10 in `02.

4A Girls:

Posting a perfect 15 at the state championships last fall capped off an undefeated season for the Los Alamos Hilltoppers. The lady `toppers look to not miss a beat this fall returning 5 of 6 from `02. Teams have to first look at breaking up the pack of `toppers before they can think about defeating them. The team with the best chance at competing with the national power Hilltoppers is Albuquerque Academy. Their girls squad returns all 7 runners from their 2nd place team last fall. Leslie Luna and Lindsay Harper of Academy will have their work cut out for them when they lead the Chargers against the likes of defending state champ Kristen Hemphill, Foot Locker finalist Heather Wood, and state contenders Marissa Sandoval (4th in `02), and Anna Miller (5th), all of Los Alamos.

Fast Fact: Los Alamos had 4 girls finish in the top 50 of the seeded race at the West Region of Foot Locker.

3A Boys:

Pojoaque won the 3A classification in `02 and returns all but their #1 man from a squad that scored 30 points. Wingate and Tohatchi both have traditions of excellence that prove they will be in contention this fall, as they are every fall. Wingate’s successful development of their distance program during the track season makes them hard to overlook. Darren Calvert (2nd) of Pojoaque is the top returnee after being beaten out by his teammate, Stephen Martinez, by one second last fall. Dwight Carltson (3rd in `02) of Tohatchi is the top contender for the individual crown. Other top 5 returnees are Robert Roybal (4th) and Vince DeVargas (5th), both of Pojoaque.

Fast Fact: `02 champ Stephen Martinez ran the last 2.5 miles with only one shoe.

3A Girls:

Pojoaque won in `02 with 47 points but may have graduated too much to successfully defend their crown. Look for the Wingate Bears to make up the 14-point deficit they lost by last year. Their depth makes them the favorite. Expect for Grants and West Las Vegas to be factors in the team title too. Individually Cateka Tsosie won by 16 seconds and will attempt to return to the top of the awards podium come November. Valeri Detrick (3rd in `02) of Cobre, Sophia Vigil (4th) of Pojoaque, and Latoyna Baker (6th) of Wingate will attempt to keep her from repeating. St. Michael’s sophomore Irena Ossula had an outstanding track season and could contend as well.

Fast Fact: Each of the past 3 years the 3A team winner in the boys has also won the girls team title.

2A - A Boys:

With 6 of 7 back from a team that scored 29 points in 2002 the Jemez Valley Warriors are the class of the division. Their 77-point margin over Rehoboth Christian and a longstanding tradition should be more than enough for the Warriors to post their 13th ever state cross country title on the boys’ side. Rehoboth, Santa Fe Indian School and Pecos will fight it out for spots on the awards platform. Two-time individual champ Lloyd Yazzie has since graduated. Vernon Tosa (2nd in `02), Garren Waquiu (3rd) and Eugene Gachupin (5th) all of Jemez Valley should be pushed for the individual crown by Marvin Aragon of Laguna-Acoma.

Fast Fact: Native American schools have won 39 of the past 40 small school team titles on the boys’ side.

2A - A Girls:

Last year’s champ Zuni may have lost too much to hold off charging Rehoboth Christian. The Pecos Panthers and Laguna-Acoma Skyhawks will be forces for Zuni to contend with also. Rehoboth Christian will be led by defending champion Philana Belona and Jesse Hale (4th in `02) and should have too much firepower for the rest of the combined AA – A classification. Look for Monique Garcia of Laguna-Acoma to turn the tables on Philana Belona and erase the one-second defeat she suffered in `02.

Fast Fact: Rehoboth Christian has won 5 titles since 1990 despite being the 35th largest school in the small school classification.

Foot Locker Western Region Potential:

Despite a population that ranks 11th out of 15 states in the Western Region the prospects for qualifying a Foot Locker Finalist seem promising. Best chances are on the girls side where New Mexico returns Foot Locker Finalist Heather Wood of Los Alamos along with her teammate Kristen Hemphill who has the 7th best returning time from last winter’s regional championship. Other top girls that raced last year were Anna Miller of Los Alamos and Leslie Luna of Albuquerque Academy.

On the boys side Andrés Urbina of Albuquerque Academy is the 13th fastest returnee from the seeded race and will need to drop about 40 seconds in order to have a chance at qualifying to nationals. He was the only New Mexico returnee in the top 100 places last December 7th.


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