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Kimberlee Bennett and Kale Mauritsen compete for Artesia in Ruidoso. (Photos Courtesy Shelley Ebarb)

Kimberlee Bennett and Kale Mauritsen compete for Artesia in Ruidoso. (Photos Courtesy Shelley Ebarb)


The Artesia High School runners showed a few signs of fatigue Saturday on the heels of excellent outings Oct. 15 in Rio Rancho.

But the Lady Bulldogs and Bulldogs still ran well overall in the thin air of the Ruidoso Invitational, with the Artesia girls finishing fifth out of 14 teams and the ‘Dogs 10th out of 18.

The Lady ‘Dogs came in just behind a Lovington team they bested in Rio Rancho, with Class 6A Centennial, Las Cruces High and Clovis comprising the top three.

Michaela Phipps finished 10th individually for the Artesia girls with a time of 22:36, followed by Madilynn Moon (28th, 24:07), Kimberlee Bennett (30th, 24:23), Joslyn Madrid (39th, 24:38), Katelynn Sullivan (42nd, 24:48), Lauren Robson (50th, 25:06) and Lexi Montgomery (70th, 26:12).

“Once again, junior Michaela Phipps pulled out a top 10 finish out of a field of 110,” head coach Shelley Ebarb said Saturday. “Sophomore Kimberlee Bennett is finally starting to move up in individual standings. She has never missed a 5 a.m. practice, and all her hard work is starting to pay off.

“The rest of the team did not have their best races but still had solid runs. Most of them had really good races last week in Rio Rancho and seemed a little tired this weekend. I think with a little rest this week, they will be ready to give Lovington a tough time at district this Friday.”

The Bulldogs were competing Saturday without top runner Eliazar Granillo and No. 5 runner Gabriel Montoya, requiring a pair of JV runners to step up and fill the void.

Julius Acosta finished 14th overall with a time of 19:08 for the ‘Dogs, Kale Mauritsen was 37th with a 19:51, Isaac Lopez finished 90th with a 22:47, Caleb Carnathan 110th with a 25:03, and TJ Hogan was 112th with a time of 25:42.

“First-year runners Caleb Carnathan and TJ Hogan stepped up and helped the team to a 10th-place finish in a field of 18,” said Ebarb. “Our top finisher, Julius Acosta, didn’t feel like he ran his best race but still finished in 14th place out of 124 runners.

“Kale Mauritsen is finally getting in shape and running competitively. Our third finisher, Isaac Lopez, missed several weeks of training due to an injury, and I think the altitude and hills were a little too much for him this week. Hopefully, they will all recover and have a solid district finish this Friday in Roswell.”

The Artesia runners will set their sights on a shot at the District 4-AAAAA crown this week as they travel to Roswell Friday for the 3:30 p.m. district race. Following that outing, the teams will head to the Class 5A State Meet Nov. 5 in Rio Rancho.