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Rocky sweeps South Eastern Colorado cross country invite

Ken Hamrick
719-384-1425
Drew Huffman of the La Junta High School cross country team heads to the finish line ahead of Rocky Ford's Nate Nealander (left) and Addison Brusuelas. Rocky Ford won both team championships.

The Rocky Ford High School cross country team hosted the South Eastern Colorado Cross Country Invitational Friday at Melon Field and Babcock Park.

Six teams were in attendance — Rocky Ford, La Junta, Kim/Branson, Lamar, Limon and Primero.

The boys race was first and the Meloneers' gold team won with 14 points. Rocky was led by Caden Miller, who was second in 17:03. Following Miller were Josh Snyder, who was third in 17:19, Ethan Robinson, who was fourth in 18:58, Jason Hernandez, who was fifth in 19:15, and Fred Rikhof, who was sixth in 19:51.

Lamar was second with 30 points and the Rocky Ford red team was third with 56. That team was led by Tim Cardenas, who was ninth in 20:19, followed by Nate Encinias, who was 11th in 20:51, Aaron Culver, who was 15th in 22:31, Juan Gonzales, who was 21st in 23:19, Addison Brusuelas, who was 27th in 25:19, Nate Nealander, who was 28th in 25:23, and Robert Kimber, who was 29th in 26:09.

La Junta was fourth with 76 points. Running for the Tigers were Santanel Orosco, who was 13th in 21:53, Walker Balicki, who was 14th in 22:31, Karl Ludwig, who was 24th in 24:30, Paul Hanson, who was 25th in 24:51, and Drew Huffman, who was 26th in 25:16.

Kim/Branson was fifth with 92 points. Brock Doherty led the Mustangs as he finished eighth in 20:18. Peyton Cranson was 20th in 23:02, and Joshua Bell was 30th in 28:31.

Rounding out the team scoring was Limon with 100 points and Primero with 113.

Rocky Ford was also the girls team champion with 13 points. Katie Preciado was the Lady Meloneers' top runner as she won the race in 22.30. She was followed by Abbi Snyder, who was second in 23:02, Kaysa Kurtz-Merwin, who was third in 23:12, Kailene Black, who was seventh in 23:56, Anahy Prieto, who was ninth in 24:50, Martha Castaneda, who was 10th in 25:16, and Sarah Hernandez, who was 16th in 30:23.

Lamar was second with 29 points and Limon was third with 54.

Kim/Branson was fourth with 66 points. The Lady Mustangs' only runner was Ava Warner who finished 15th in 28:05.

La Junta and Primero did not have any girl runners.

La Junta will be at the Rye Invitational on Tuesday, while Rocky Ford will run at the Salida Invitational on Saturday. Kim/Branson will compete at the Stanton County Invitational in Johnson, Kan., also on Saturday.

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.