Youth Chile Harvest Triathlon brings pride, camaraderie into spirit of competition


The fourth annual Socorro Chile Harvest Youth Triathlon on Friday evening was staged at the New Mexico Tech swimming pool and adjacent areas. The swim, bike and run event was a family event as parents were making last minute adjustments to their children’s equipment and disposition.

Polo C’ de Baca/for El Defensor Chieftain: Race director Lynette Napier prepares to hand out awards and medals after the fourth annual Chile Harvest Youth Triathlon held on the campus of New Mexico Tech on Saturday. The smaller girl in the red top in front is Emma Montoya, who took first place honors in her age group and overall with the shortest time of the day.

The youth triathlon, as well as the adult event that was held on Saturday, is a USA Triathlon sanctioned event. Some Friday evening contestants were also registered to compete in the adult triathlon the next morning.

The emphasis of the event was on participating, being in the competition itself, and not the winning part of it. It was evident before the race that children and parents were nervous and anxious, adding drama to the emotion filled but festive event.

In the female 7-8 age group Emma Montoya of Socorro finished first and first overall with a time of 9:23.8. Aspyn Napier of Socorro origins finished second and fourth overall with a time of 12:20.3.

In the female 11-12 group Kayla Botko of Socorro finished first and 24th overall with a time of 21:12.9.

In the female 13-14 group Holly Oxford of Socorro finished first and 45th overall with a time of 28:00.4

In the male 7-8 group Colton Dow of Socorro finished first and was second overall with a time of 10:55.8. Kaden Down of Socorro finished second and third overall with a time of 11:01.4, and Warren Chewiwi of San Antonio finished third and 12th overall. His time was 15:25.0.

In the male 9-10 group Hezekiah Oxford of Socorro finished second and ninth overall with a time of 14:24.4. In the male 11 – 12 group Benjamin Oxford of Socorro finished first and 26th overall with a time of 22:20.3.

Two New Mexico Tech students were on hand to help with any mechanically related bicycle equipment problem. The event was technically equal to that of the adult event held on Saturday. Distances were abbreviated commensurate with age groupings. The young contestants wore ankle cuffs with chips that were part of the timing apparatus.

Sharpies marked contestants’ numbers on arms and legs. Participants’ ages ranged from 7 to 16, sectioned off into five categories. For many the first experience was like a rite of passage. Young contestants were advised of responsibilities they were to handle on their own. There were to be no moms or dads or brothers or sisters to assist contestants in the transition area. But parents were doing last-minute coaching. “Don’t swim the first lap so fast that you don’t have anything left for the last lap,” one father was heard to say.

“I think the event was very successful,” race director Lynette Napier said. “I think it gets better every year because we learn and we try to make it fun for the kids. Part of the mission of Socorro Striders and Riders is to promote a healthy lifestyle.”

After the race, a spirit of camaraderie and an air of pride was evident among contestants, their parents and spectators in general. They all could be heard exchanging tales of experiences and sharing in the pride of participation. Pizza and fruit topped off the evening of the Socorro adventure. Complete results are posted at