The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Clovis boys race to win at NMMI

Maldonado takes first, Lady Cats third


September 16, 2018

ROSWELL — Clovis’ boys cross country team kept rolling along Saturday, crushing the competition at the New Mexico Military Institute Invitational.

But, shhhhhh. Don’t remind the Wildcats of how good they are.

“We’re starting to group up a little better and they’re starting to get some confidence,” Clovis head coach Mark Bussen said. “I’m pretty excited where we are now, but it’s early-season and you’ve got to keep them humble, make sure they kept their focus for late October and early November.”

Still, you could forgive the Wildcats if humility wasn’t tops on their list after cruising to a team victory Saturday with 27 points, 51 better than second-place Carlsbad.

Individually, Clovis runners snared the top two spots, as Jerrick Maldonado won the title with his 15:47 time, followed by Jon Fuentes — last week’s winner in Amarillo — who finished in 16:00 flat this week.

“We had a really good day,” Bussen said. “Jon actually ran the best time of his life and his teammate beat him. That’s a rarity. It’s nice to have a 1-2 punch like that.”

Maldonado had to run the race of his life to edge Fuentes. Maldonado, in fact, missed Izzy Miranda’s school record by one second.

Wildcat teammates joining Maldonado and Fuentes in the top 10 were T.J. Gregg (sixth, 16:39) and Jose Salas (seventh, 16:40).

Top 20 finishes were posted by Elias Calderon (14th, 17:15), Kannon Brooks (18th, 17:28) and Colton Wolf (20th, 17:46).

Though host NMMI didn’t field a girls team, one of the school’s runners — Mia Walker — won the girls race with a time of 20:16.

Clovis’ girls, a young group, notched a solid third-place showing with 58 points, just four behind second-place Lovington and 15 off Alamogordo’s championship pace.

The Lady Wildcats’ Annalysse Hamlett placed fourth with a 20:58 time, joined by teammate Faith Hays in the top 10 when Hays captured 10th (21:42). Shylee Tree wasn’t far behind, finishing 11th (21:57).

Ali Tree was 26th (23:28) and Layla Walley 31st (23:51).

“Top to bottom on the varsity I think everybody ran best times or close to it. ...” Bussen said. “(NMMI) is a place you can run pretty fast. I tell the kids, ‘You get an opprtunity, you take advantage of it.’”

Clovis returns to action at Carlsbad next Saturday, starting with the girls race at 10 a.m.

“Our district rivals will be there,” Bussen said, “so that’s always a motivator for us to go down there and race well.”


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