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Lady Cats distant second

Clovis’ Megan Willis runs off the starting line during the Clovis cross county Invitational on Saturday at Ned Houk Park. (Staff photo by Eric Kluth))

Two waves of purple cross country runners descended onto the finish line.

The first wave belonged to runners from Canyon, Texas, which had seven of the top eight finishers in the 3-mile girls varsity race and finished with a perfect score (top five finishers) of 15 to win the Clovis Invitational meet Saturday at Ned Houk Park.

The second wave was the Lady Wildcats, who finished second with 54 points and seven points ahead of Hereford in the four-team race.

“I knew they were going to be good, that’s what we need is the competition,” Clovis coach Brian Stacy said of the purple-clad Lady Eagles.

Morgan Kuykendall of Canyon won the race with a time of 19:10.

Clovis packed four runners between ninth and 14th place, led by sophomore Tori Northcutt (21:41) and Moncia Soto in 10th (21:47).

“This course is made for Tori,” Stacy said. He said the gradual hills and generally flat terrain compliment her strong running style.

He was especially happy about having the core group of girls running in generally equal times.

A similar domination occurred in the boys race, with Hereford racing to seven of the top nine spots. However, they didn’t finish with the perfect score (top five spots) as Wildcat senior Chris Sawyer took fourth in a time of 17:46, behind race winner Jose Huerta of Hereford, who toured the 5K course in 16:45.

Hereford still took first overall with a score of 17. Hobbs edged Clovis 49-54 for second.

Mike Wareham finished the race in 18:27, good for 10th. Brian Croke took 15th, coming in at 18:27.

Clovis did come through with one individual winner, as James Dickinson won the 3-mile junior varsity race in 19:33. Jennifer Robinson was the top junior varsity Lady Cat, completing the race in 24:05.

“We’re not running to win the Clovis meet, we’re running to be one of the top three at district,” Stacy said.

He expected a close battle between Hobbs and Clovis in the two races. At this point in the season, Stacy believes the Wildcats and Eagles will battle for the second invite to state out of districts.

Stacy said his team was tired after a hard week of practice in which they hit the Houk course hard.

Sawyer and Northcutt said running on the home course really helped, because they knew when to shorten their stride, how to make the turns and how to negotiate the hills.