Local XC stars take on state championship meet

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Fair weather did not lower the intensity of the state cross-country meet in Rio Rancho on Nov. 9.

Qualified cross-country teams ran their course, which funneled through the crowds in several places. Amid the crowded complex and car-lined streets were thousands of spectators who came to cheer on their teams and individual runners: Socorro High School girls and boys teams, who ran in the 3A race, as well as Alamo Navajo girls and boys teams and Quemado boys teams, who each ran in district 1A races.

Dayna Guerro of Alamo Navajo High School brought home the third-place medal for the 1A girls race, with a time of 21:02.30. The winning time for the 1A girls race was 20:41.55. Guerro's time was up from her district win of 18:58.00 for a 3-mile race.

"I was just trying to go with the flow today," Guerro said of her time in the championship race. "I'm not really, really happy, but I'm satisfied with it (her time)."

Emerald Goranson of Socorro's Lady Warriors team was also less than pleased with her performance during the state championship meet.

"I feel good, it was a good season," Goranson said on Saturday following the race, "but I didn't like the way I ran today."

Goranson said she had an asthma attack about halfway through the race, which slowed her time to 21:57.20, her slowest time of record for the season. She finished the 3A state championship meet in 42nd place, out of 90 runners. She finished third in the district with a time of 20:34.00. The fastest time for the girls 3A championship race was 19:33.05.

Jewel Pakala of Socorro was pleased with her time of 23:47.00, which was a three-minute improvement over her previous best.

Quemado High School boys were also pleased, overall, with their performance, stating that they were "gratified" with their opportunity to be at the state championship meet and "proud" of themselves. The Quemado Eagles did not have a girls cross-country team this year.

The Alamo Navajo Cougars only had two runners on the girls team — Guerro and freshman Sheena Ganadonegro, who ran for the first time this year. The Alamo Navajo boys won their district, and Geronimo Apache placed 12th in the 1A state championship race with a time of 18:54.80. His teammate Anthony Guerro was close behind in 14th place with a time of 18:59.95. The Cougars placed 82nd in the state for the season.

James Howell of the Socorro Warriors had a time of 18:29.25, placing 42nd out of 95 runners in the 3A race. His five teammates followed him to the finish line.

Socorro Warrior Manuel Licano, who did not run in the state championship meet, received the special honor this season of being chosen as a MileSplit's U.S. Second Team elite member, with his fastest time of 16:30.00 at the 3A district meet on Nov. 2. The state championship's fastest time was 16:10.15, with the second fastest runner coming in at 16:30.00 — the same time as Licano had for district.

Licano and other members of the Socorro Warriors cross-country team were suspended from the team after a "disciplinary incident" on their bus trip home following their district meet, according to Superintendent Randall Earwood. Several team members of each the boys and the girls teams who helped their team qualify for state were not able to attend the championship meet, including both team captains. Coach Steven Montoya was also absent from the meet, though his wife was present to support the teams. Assistant Principal Janice Jaramillo coached the teams during the championship races.