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CHS girls 7th in state cross country

Staff report

RIO RANCHO — Clovis High’s girls set their goals high going into Saturday’s Class 6A state cross country competition. The Lady Wildcats weren’t quite able to reach them.

CHS finished seventh in team competition with 157 points, led by freshman Kelsey McNaughton’s 10th-place finish in 19 minutes, 28 seconds over five kilometers.

Coach Mark Bussen had hoped his squad could put five runners in the top 35 to try to move into the top five, possibly top three, after a pair of sixth-place finishes each of the last two years at state.

They got relatively close, with three in the top 35 and junior Holly Steinle 37th in 21:17.

Meantime, sophomore Catherine Hisel came in 27th in 20:45 and sophomore Mya Borwick was 31st in 20:57.

“We didn’t run that badly,” Bussen said. “The kids handled things pretty well for being a young bunch.”

La Cueva took the team title with 53 points, led by individual champion Natasha Bernal with a time of 18:50, while Rio Rancho was second at 72.

The Lady Cats lose only one of their top seven runners to graduation.

“I felt like this was a good step for this crew,” Bussen said. “They’re serious about what they’re doing.”

Meantime, Clovis had three boys in the meet and they were bunched together in the middle of the pack within five spots of each other. Sophomore Harrison Rikel led the way, finishing 54th in 18:12, while sophomore Braydon Sowell was 56th (18.21) and senior Jose Salgado 58th (18:27).

“The boys ran well,” Bussen said. “They beat some kids in our district that they got beat by last week (in the District 4-6A meet).”

Rio Rancho took boys team honors with 61 points to 72 for District 4-6A member Hobbs. Cibola’s Chrit Harlow was the individual champion, posting a time of 16:13.