Warriors runners host Socorro Stampede

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New Mexico Tech Golf Course is widely known around the area for its rolling green hills, scenic back drops, picturesque bodies of water and overall eye appeal.

Jonathan Miller/El Defensor Chieftain: Jared Lam ran his personal best of 19 minutes and 24 seconds on Friday at the Socorro Stampede cross country meet.

It’s a delight for any golfer, but on Friday evening there were no golfers to be found on these links. The Socorro Stampede was taking place, and for a few hours the runners got their time to shine.

The meet, organized and orchestrated by Socorro cross country head coach Steven Montoya, his wife Lindsey, and Robert Gonzales among many others, showcases some of the best teams in the state, and this year even a couple of the best teams in the country.

Los Alamos and Cleveland High School (Albuquerque) are both ranked in the top 25 of cross country teams nationally.

“It is exciting to have the top N.M. cross country teams come to Socorro and run on our course,” Montoya wrote via email. “The Los Alamos coach asked me last spring if he could come down and run at our meet because he had heard from the Rio Rancho coach how great of a meet it is. When Cleveland first came to our meet they had told me that they would come to ours for one year, then rotate between Belen, Los Lunas and Socorro each year. Well, after that first race, they have been back ever since. The fact that they keep coming back is a testament to the Stampede.”

The one downfall, however, in attracting such high-caliber programs is that once they agree to attend your meet, you still have to compete against them. Montoya said going into the meet it might not be realistic to challenge the likes of Cleveland or Los Alamos, but he wanted to measure the progress of his team against the visiting Ruidoso Warriors.

Unfortunately for the host squad, it just wasn’t their day.

“We measured ourselves against Ruidoso and unfortunately, both my boys and girls came out on the losing end,” Montoya wrote.

The girls finished three points behind Ruidoso in ninth place and the boys five full team spots behind RHS, but Montoya said there are still some positives to be taken from the meet.

Jared Lam ran a personal best time on the 5000 meter course and was his team’s third best scorer, while Starr Padilla for the girls has run four personal bests so far this season. Julie Aster had the best showing for the girls, finishing in 21st place just three minutes off the winning pace.

Sierra Cahall placed 33rd for the boys, and Dylan Gallegos finished in 38th, just 11 seconds behind him.

“There is nothing wrong with a little tail kicking as we still have lots of time to get better before our district championships,” Montoya pointed out in his email.

Regardless of Socorro’s overall results, the Stampede still remains a high-quality event that represents both the city of Socorro and the successful progression of Montoya’s still young cross country program. The Warriors continually find support from Russ Moore and the NMT Golf Course, and it shows.

When some of the nation’s best show up consistently, you’re doing something right.

“When programs like these want to come to your meet because of reputation, it is successful,” Montoya wrote. “I take pride in putting on a meet that is challenging, well marked, spectator friendly, and with reliable and quickly tabulated results. If we continue to do what we are doing these schools will definitely come back again next year.”

For full results from last Friday’s meet visit www.milesplit.com.