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Rocky Ford cross country has a ton of experience

Ken Hamrick
719-384-1425
The 2020 Rocky Ford boys cross country team. Back row, from left, Juan Gonzales, Nate Encinias, Jason Hernandez, Aaron Culver, Addison Brusuelas, Nate Nealander and Kevin Tillman. Front row, from left, Tim Cardenas, Caden Miller, Josh Snyder, Ethan Robinson, Mateo Martinez and Robert Kimber.

The Rocky Ford High School cross country teams had another successful season in 2019. The boys team won its regional meet and finished in third place at the state meet, while the girls were fourth in the region and fourth at state.

"We had an excellent season last year," said Rocky coach Ron Shepherd. "The kids came together at the right time."

Both teams return several runners with a lot of experience.

"We have six runners on the boys team that ran at state and regionals and four girls that ran at in postseason," Shepherd said.

The Meloneers had one big loss as Noel Lopez, who finished in the Top 5 at state last year, as he graduated and will compete at Metro State in Denver.

Returning for the Meloneers are Caden Miller, Jason Hernandez, Tim Cardenas, Mateo Martinez, Addison Brusuelas and Aaron Culver. For the Lady Meloneers, Katie Preciado, Kaysa Kurtz, Kailene Black and Martha Castaneda return.

They will be pushed by some good newcomers to the program.

"On the boys side, Josh Snyder and Ethan Robinson are running in the Top 5," Shepherd said. "Both boys were on the middle school team which placed at the middle school state championships last year. For the girls, Anahy Prieto, a freshman, figures to be in the Top 5. Abbie Snyder is running this year and looks to make the Top 5 on the team."

The Meloneers and Lady Meloneers will contend with a very tough region again this year.

"Our region has some returning teams that will be tough," Shepherd said. "On the boys side, Buena Vista, Custer County, St. Mary's and Rocky look to battle it out. On the girls side, Buena Vista, Centauri, St. Mary's and Platte Canyon will be good."

Rocky is looking forward to another good season this year.

"We have had many kids run this summer and it should pay off," Shepherd said. "I am looking forward to have the race and see what happens."

Rocky will host its annual home meet today. The girls run at 9 a.m., followed by the boys at 9:45 a.m.

2020 ROCKY FORD MELONEERS AND LADY MELONEERS CROSS COUNTRY SCHEDULE

Date; Meet; Time

Aug. 28; At Peyton Invitational; boys 3rd, girls 1st

Sept. 4; ROCKY FORD INVITATIONAL; 9 a.m.

Sept. 12; At Cheyenne Mountain Pre-State; TBA

Sept. 22; At Rye Invitational; 4 p.m.

Sept. 26; At Salida Invitational; 9 a.m.

Oct. 3; At Wiggins Invitational; 8 a.m.

Oct. 9; CLASS 2A REGION 3 MEET; 9 a.m.

Oct. 17; At Class 2A State Meet+; TBA

Home meets in CAPITAL LETTERS at Melon Field and Babcock Park

+ At Norris Penrose Event Center, Colorado Springs

Tribune-Democrat reporter Ken Hamrick can be reached by email at khamrick@ljtdmail.com. Help support local journalism by subscribing to the La Junta Tribune-Democrat at lajuntatribunedemocrat.com/subscribenow.

The 2020 Rocky Ford High School girls cross country team. Back row, from left, Martha Castaneda, Abbie Snyder, Katie Preciado and Kailene Black. Front row, from left, Anahy Prieto, Sara Hernandez and Kaylee Tucker. Not pictured, Kaysa Kurtz.