Published: 1:56 pm, Sun. Oct. 9th, 2016Updated: 1:54 pm
The Lady Bulldog and Bulldog cross country teams went three and four Saturday out of fields of seven and eight teams at the Pecos Valley Invitational at Enchanted Hills Park in Roswell.
For the second week in a row, Bulldog junior Eliazar Granillo logged the overall win in the boys’ division, and with three more athletes between the two teams also placing in the top 10, head coach Shelley Ebarb is excited about the progress her runners are making as the regular season draws to a close.
“This is only the second meet we’ve had as a team (for the Bulldogs), and they finished in fourth place,” Ebarb said Saturday. “These boys are getting stronger and faster every meet.
“The girls are finally starting to close the gap between the first and fifth runners. Hopefully, by the time we get to district, everyone will have their best races at the same time.”
Junior Michaela Phipps placed fifth overall for the Lady ‘Dogs with a time of 20:36 and Madilynn Moon eighth with a 20:51. Rounding out the squad were Kimberlee Bennett (23rd, 22:11), Joslyn Madrid (25th, 22:14), Katelynn Sullivan (31st, 22:32), Lexi Montgomery (32nd, 22:39) and Ali Mauritsen (40th, 23:18).
Alamogordo took the girls’ division with Lovington in second.
“Michaela changed her race strategy by starting out a little bit faster and finished with a very strong fifth place,” Ebarb said. “Madilynn wasn’t far behind in eighth place. Kimberlee has been running in sixth place for the team the last few meets but moved into the third spot with an overall 23rd-place finish.”
For the Bulldogs, Granillo came in ahead of the pack Saturday with a time of 16:11, followed by Julius Acosta in sixth with a 16:43. Kale Mauritsen was 20th overall (18:02), Gabriel Montoya 36th (19:36) and Isaac Lopez 41st (20:16).
Lovington won the boys’ race, Roswell High came in second, and Alamogordo took third.
“I think (Eliazar) finally has the mental edge on his closest competitors,” said Ebarb. “Julius wasn’t very far behind in sixth place, and Kale is starting to close the gap. Gabriel ran his best race ever, and Isaac is back in the races after being out for several weeks with an injury.”
In junior varsity competition Saturday, Harley Kramer placed ninth for the Lady ‘Dogs with a 22:59, and Caleb Carnathan and T.J. Hogan were 26th and 30th respectively for the Bulldogs with times of 21:05 and 21:51.
The Artesia teams will next head to Rio Rancho Oct. 15 before closing out the regular season Oct. 22 in Ruidoso.