The cross country season kicked off last Thursday, Sept. 2, at Valencia High School, where head coach James Perez and the Jaguars hosted Belen, Los Lunas and Wingate at the Valencia Invitational.

The Belen girls picked up where they left off following their district title last spring, taking three of the top five spots.

The Eagles were led by Lisette Sanchez and Sarah Martinez, who took first and second respectively, with only two seconds separating them.

Sanchez ran the course in 19:44.77, while Martinez followed her closely at 19:46.95.

Kiyah Padilla, who stood alone for Los Lunas in the race, came in third hot on the heels of Martinez with a time of 19:47.83.

Sofia Castillo of Belen followed in fourth place, conquering the course in 20:07.86.

Wingate’s Talicia Tom rounded out the top five finishing in 20:08.52.

Sonja Lopez was the top finisher for the host Jaguars, finishing in eighth with a time of 25:50.67.

Abigail Vigil and Leyara Davis were the other two who competed for VHS and finished in 10th and 15th, respectively.

On the boys’ side, it was Los Lunas who had three runners finish inside the top five.

Micah Sparks ran away from the field, finishing two minutes faster than any other runner with a time of 18:06.

Victor Ramirez of Valencia came in second, recording a time of 20:13.

Eneas Armijo of Los Lunas finished in third at 20:21, while Mac Piper of Valencia came in fourth place finishing in 20:33.

LLHS’ Treyton Padilla rounded out the top five with at time of 20:46.

Santos Sisneros was the top finisher for the Eagles, finishing in sixth with a time of 20:54.

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Cameron Goeldner grew up in Boulder, Colo., and attended the University of New Mexico. He covers everything sports for all Valencia County schools.