‘Disciplinary incident’ causes cross-country team to head for state without some of its stars

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The Socorro Warriors cross-country teams — boys and girls — will run in the state championship today, but without some of their all-district individual runners.

The team change is occurring due to a “disciplinary incident” that occurred on the activity bus on the return trip from the district championship meet in Silver City, which just came to light mid-week this past week.

Lady Warriors cross-country team for the state championship meet on Nov. 9 will be: Camilla Aitbayev, Emerald Goranson, Holly Oxford and Jewel Pekala. The Lady Warriors won the district championship in Silver City on November 2. Four of the teammates who participated in the district meet, including two who finished in the top ten, will not be representing Socorro on Saturday. Goranson was the Ladies team’s top all-district runner, taking third in the district meet.

The Warriors cross-country team for the championship on Nov. 9 will be made up of Juan Aguilar, Ben Bohling, Asher Guengerich, Allan Hernandez, James Howell and Greg Stover. Six members of the district runner-up winning team for the Socorro Warriors will not be present during the state championship meet.

According to Randall Earwood, superintendent of Socorro Consolidated Schools, the New Mexico Athletic Association recognizes only teams for participation in the state championship meets, and does not consider individual runners or their times for qualifications. Therefore, the Socorro Warriors and Lady Warriors as teams qualified for the state meet, and are able to put together any team they want to represent their school for the state meet, as long as they are currently on the team roster.

“Obviously, it’s not the ideal situation,” Earwood said of not taking the full teams to the state championship.

Earwood would not comment on the details of the disciplinary incident, or the disciplinary action being taken on the students beyond that they would not be able to represent the school for the championship meet. He would also not discuss actions being taken against the coach or other chaperones present or involved.
“That is an employee matter, and I am not at liberty to discuss it.” Earwood said.

Coach Steven Montoya, the coach of the cross-country team for the past several years, was not available for comment.

The Lady Warriors run in the state championship meet at Rio Rancho High School at 10 a.m. Saturday morning. The Warriors are scheduled to run at 12:30 p.m. the same day.