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

Maldonado second, Clovis boys fourth in home meet


September 1, 2019

Kevin Wilson

Clovis senior Jerrick Maldonado approaches the finish line Friday at the Clovis Invitational. Maldonado was second overall with a time of 16:46.

CLOVIS — Considering the temperature, every runner in Friday’s Clovis Invitational — be it varsity, junior varsity or middle school — should’ve received a medal just for showing up and braving the heat.

It was cooking at Ned Houk Park, even for the cross country meet’s spectators and volunteers, much worse still for the runners.

Some satisfaction did come out of the race, especially for Hobbs, whose teams won both the boys and girls varsity competitions. Especially too for Canyon’s Sam Ashley and Lubbock-Cooper’s Cammy Jenkins, who each took home individual varsity titles.

A fairly young Clovis team placed fourth in the boys race, sixth on the girls side, with Jerrick Maldonado earning the Wildcats’ top finish — second place with a time of 16:46.

His teammate Colton Wolf locked down fourth place (17:22), and Annalysse Hamlett was fifth in the girls race, with a time of 21:11.

Seemed like a decent start to the season for Clovis.

“It’s really hard to judge with young kids who have never done it before. I think they’ll get a lot better,” Wildcats head coach Mark Bussen said. “I felt like overall, we probably had some dehydration, kids couldn’t run consistent. So it’s kind of hard to gauge, but I’m really pleased. I’ll always tell them, the first thing I look at is what goes on between their ears. And I think mentally we raced really, really tough today, and the rest of it is up to me. I can get them fit, but I can’t get in their heads during a race. So I’m really pleased overall, top to bottom, with all the new kids and the returners.”

Among the latter was Maldonado, who was second in last November’s District 4-5A championship meet on the same course, but had taken fourth in last year’s Clovis Invitational there two months earlier, so he moved up in this year’s meet.

Despite that solid showing, the second-place finish and the two-rung climb, Maldonado expected much more of himself.

“I think today I didn’t run so smart,” he said. “I actually didn’t prepare as well as I should’ve.”

Bussen, however, thought Maldonado’s second had more to do with the weather.

“Jerrick got very dehydrated there at the end,” Bussen said. “I think he’d have won it otherwise.”

Wolf was OK with his fourth.

“I think it was pretty good compared to last year,” he said. “Last year I finished in the teens; this year I was fourth. I felt confident and was ready to move up.”

Portales’ Brando Guerro was the area’s next-best male runner, nicking the top 20 with his time of 18:16.

Local schools had four more in the top 30: Clovis’ Kannon Brooks (23rd, 18:26); Portales’ Michael Reiss (29th, 18:47); and the Wildcats’ Kyle Richardson (30th, 18:57).

Clovis’ Alejandro Chavarria just missed a top-30 finish, taking 31st with a time of 19 flat.

The Wildcats’ fourth-place finish came on the strength of 88 points, trailing champion Hobbs (47), Canyon (62) and Carlsbad (87). Lubbock-Cooper (103) rounded out the team top five.

On the girls side, Hobbs and Hereford each tallied 57 points, but the Lady Eagles earned first place because their sixth-best finisher was 20th, Hereford’s 59th.

Cooper was third (68), Odessa fourth (85) and Lovington fifth (114). The Lady Wildcats’ sixth-place finish came from their 130 points.

Kevin Wilson

Clovis senior Annalysse Hamlett pulls out in front at the opening of the girls' race. She finished fifth at 21:11.

Hamlett was the only local female runner to finish top 20. Her teammate Shylee Tree almost did, taking 21st with a time of 23:26. Tucumcari’s Erin Encinias was also top 30, placing 27th (23:58).

Hamlett, a second-place finisher in last year’s district meet, started Friday off wrong by waking up feeling ill. She toughed it out anyway and earned her fifth-place showing.

“It’s definitely not what I wanted,” she said, “but it was a very hard day.”

And not just because Hamlett wasn’t at 100 percent health-wise. The heat was punishing, so add that to not feeling well and there’s a lot of adversity.

“It was supposed to be 92, and it was 97,” Hamlett said. “But you’ve got to run in it. It just happens.”

“The heat was a killer,” Maldonado said. “Running up that hill you’ve got the sun right on your back.”

“It hurts,” Wolf said, “but it makes us want to finish quicker.”


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