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The Artesia High School cross country teams have been gaining ground through the first half of their 2015 season, turning in overall solid results at their first three meets in Lovington, Roswell and Carlsbad.

The Sept. 3 meet in Lovington saw a bit of an unusual outcome for the Lady Bulldogs as the team inadvertently competed in the junior varsity race, taking first place out of a field of three.

Crossing the finish line first overall was Michaela Phipps with a time of 22:44, Ali Mauritsen, Joslyn Madrid and Lexi Montgomery were close behind in third, fourth and sixth respectively with times of 25:45, 25:53 and 26:37, and Dana Thalman finished 16th with a 29:01.

The Bulldogs placed fourth in the varsity race behind Hobbs, Lovington and Carlsbad, with Hunter Ash leading the charge in 13th with a time of 19:09. The ‘Dogs were grouped well in the race, with Julius Acosta finishing 19th (19:37), Eliazar Granillo 20th (19:38), Felipe Salamanca 22nd (19:41), Fabian Perez 29th (20:45), Isaac Lopez 30th (20:47) and Chance Mitchell 36th (21:54).

The Lady ‘Dog JV, meanwhile, came in sixth in the varsity race, with Katelynn Sullivan placing 22nd (26:46), Yamile Renteria 30th (28:11), Hailey Ashe 36th (31:50), Kimberlee Bennett 37th (31:59), Tori Coss 39th (32:59) and Olivia Torrez 44th (35:35).

For the boys’ JV, Kale Mauritsen was seventh (20:26), followed by Rafael Molina (12th, 20:54), Zaac Pittam (19th, 21:53), Umeko Ponce (30th, 22:50), Jose Tesillo (35th, 23:33), Ben Beverage (38th, 23:53), Isaac Gutierrez (40th, 23:57), Matthew Todt (41st, 24:07) and Michael McEachern (46th, 24:33).

Sept. 12 found the runners in Roswell for the Pecos Valley Invitational. Both the Bulldogs and Lady ‘Dogs finished fourth in the varsity race out of fields of nine and eight teams respectively.

Phipps was seventh individually for the Artesia girls with a time of 21:43, followed by Lauren Robson (11th, 22:41), Mauritsen (27th, 23:53), Sullivan (33rd, 24:15), Madrid (38th, 24:44) and Thalman (47th, 27:32). Ash took top honors for the boys with a 13th-place time of 18:03, Acosta was 15th (18:10, Perez 25th (18:52), Mauritsen 26th (19:00), Mitchell 30th (19:07), Lopez 33rd (19:21) and Pittam 48th (20:49).

Renteria came in sixth for the Lady ‘Dog JV with a 26:17, Harley Kramer 13th (27:47), Torrez 16th (28:37), Coss 17th (28:42), Bennett 21st (29:16) and Ashe 22nd (29:22), while Ponce was 14th (20:19) for the Bulldog JV, Gutierrez 31st (22:17), Todt 34th (22:29), Josh Rivery 44th (24:39) and Jesse Solano 46th (27:29).

Alyssa Steed placed third in the girls’ “C” team two-mile race with a 15:58 and Logan Steed first in the boys’ with a 17:25.

The teams headed to the Carlsbad Elks-Ron Singleton Invitational in Carlsbad last weekend, with the Lady Bulldog varsity placing sixth and the Bulldogs seventh.

Phipps finished 13th for the girls with a 21:33, followed by Mauritsen (33rd, 23:26), Lexi Montgomery (38th, 23:41), Madrid (41st, 24:01), Sullivan (46th, 24:24) and Thalman (53rd, 27:03). Ash crossed 19th overall for the ‘Dogs (17:40), Granillo 36th (18:44), Acosta 37th (18:46), Salamanca 41st (19:08), Mitchell 43rd (19:14), Perez 45th (19:32) and Mauritsen 48th (19:41).

On the JV side, Renteria was 12th with a 24:13 for the Lady Bulldogs, Bennett 29th (26:46), Coss 38th (28:25) and Torrez 45th (29:41), while for the boys, Molina was 14th (19:36), Lopez 16th (19:50), Gutierrez 41st (21:07), Beverage 51st (21:33), Todt 60th (22:10), Tesillo 71st (22:49), Rivera 83rd (25:34) and Solano 91st (29:50).

The AHS teams are now preparing to host the annual Artesia Invitational, set to begin at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Jaycee Park.