A pair of Coronado runners won individual honors while the Americas boys and the Coronado girls won team championships at the inaugural El Dorado/Pebble Hills Invitational at Ascarate Park.
The 2.5 mile Saturday morning run that zig-zagged through the Ascarate nine-hole portion of the golf course, caused a bit of confusion in the girls race.
Americas senior Mariana Guzman led for most of the race until she followed the wrong golf cart which took her off the course for about 20 meters and onto the street before reversing her tracks.
As Guzman veered onto the street, taking another runner with her, Coronado freshman Kyra Walker took the lead at that point, a lead she would never relinquish, to win her first gold medal at the varsity level in 16:07.12.
“The girls ahead of me were following the wrong cart and I almost did the same but my coach caught it, thankfully,” Walker said. “I felt pretty good coming into the race. It’s exciting to be able to come out win and help my team.”
Coronado won the team title with 24 points, placing three runners in the top five spots – Walker at one, Sophia Flores in third (16:19.31) and Marcela Perches in fifth in 16:45.81.
“We’re doing pretty good right now,” Walker said. “We have a solid top three, we just need to work on our four and five to get them higher up. Hopefully we can do that before district so we could get a good place and advance to regionals.”
Montwood’s Karyme Garcia was second in 16:17.47 and teammate Alexa Rangel was fourth in 16:42.12.
As for Guzman, she took the golf cart mishap in stride.
“I was making the turn and when looked up I saw a green cart and an orange cone out there but I didn’t know it was for the parking lot,” she said with a laugh. “I’m just running my race and then I hear everyone calling me back; I just felt bad for the girl who was following me.”
Considering what Guzman has been through the past two seasons, this little mishap is nothing.
“I had stress fracture in my left leg so I only had the chance to run only one healthy race last year,” she said. “It was so painful that I wanted to stop running. It just took a lot of patience to come back.”
Guzman said she is happy with her season so far.
“I just wanted to give it all I’ve got one last season,” she said. “I love what I do, I love my coaches and my teammates. I’m really just want to run a full season and make my teammates and coaches proud of me. I think I’m going to be able to do it.”
Guzman eventually finished sixth in 16:48.90 to help her team to a second-place finish with 31 points.
Other top 10 finishers were: Kayhla Talavera, Mt. View (seventh, 16:52.00); Lauren Anderson, Americas (eighth, 16:53.46); Nicole Estrada, Mt. View (ninth, 16:53.87) and Abigail Barraza, America (tenth, 16:56.48).
On the boys side, Coronado senior Nick Gonzalez followed up on his UNM Lobo Invitational championship with another, completing the short course in 12:55.03.
“It was good comeback race after Albuquerque,” he said. “Plus, we finally got a chance to race against Americas. It was the first time we’ve had the chance to race Americas this season so I just wanted to see where I stood against their runners.”
The Americas juggernaut place six runners in the top 8 to win team title with 24 points. Coronado was second with 44 followed by Montwood with 78.
For most of the race, Gonzalez and teammate Alan Alba were 1-2 until the final 800 meters when Americas senior Hector Sanchez outkicked Alba to finish second in 13:06.91. Alba was third in 13:11.97.
“Last week, Alan took off in the lead early and I was trying to catch him the entire race,” Gonzalez said. “We started to push each other at the 4K and from there on out it was whoever wanted it more; that’s pretty much what we did in this race.”
Americas took the fourth through eighth spots – Jacob Ye (fourth, 13:12.78), Melo Corral (fifth, 13:13.87), Gage Garcia (sixth, 13:16.40), Seth Andrade (seventh, 13:18.56), Aaron Saenz (eighth, 13:31.75).
Rounding out the top 10 were Montwood’s Trenton Nelson (ninth, 13:45.66) and Coronado’s Stephen Pitchkolan (tenth, 13:50.53).
“I’m really happy with the way this race turned out, even if it was short one,” Gonzalez said. “My goal is to get 15 flat at the end of the season at state.”