The Belen girls were the top performer on the girls side, finishing with a score of 134 in 13th place.
Cameron Goeldner | News-Bulletin photo

The original version of this story included an incorrect time for the Belen boys in the 200 yard medley relay. It has been updated with the correct time and finish.

Albuquerque— All three Valencia County schools spent Saturday in Albuquerque competing at the Academy Invitational, with the Los Lunas boys and the Belen girls leading the way with 11th and 13th place finishes, respectively.

The Los Lunas boys narrowly edged Belen in the final standings, as the Eagles finished 12th, only two points behind the Tigers, who recorded a point total of 168 compared to 166 for BHS. Samuel Casaus carried LLHS, finishing first in both of his individual events.

Casauas won the 50 yard free with a time of 22.79, an improvement of .09 seconds over his entry time.

It was as narrow of a race as they come, as he edged second place finisher Sam Papenguth of Albuquerque Academy by only .02 seconds, as Papenguth finished with a time of 22.81. Third place finisher Aidin McKinley of Academy had a time of 22.85.

Joshua Jones of Los Lunas was the next highest finisher from the county, coming in 15th place with a time of 24.66, an improvement of .13 seconds over his entry time.

Next, in 30th place, was Ethan Alderete of Valencia with a time of 27.17. Elijah Garcia of Belen came in 47th at 29.02.

The Los Lunas boys finished in 11th place. Cameron Goeldner | News-Bulletin photo

Conrado Calderon of Los Lunas and Aaron Parra Erivez and Sergio Jurado of Belen rounded out the field in 61st, 65th and 71st places, respectively.

In the 100 yard fly, Casaus grabbed his other individual victory with a time of 54.53, an improvement of over a second.

There were only three other county competitors, as Samuel Sedillo and Garcia of Belen came in 24th and 33rd places with times of 1:10.28 and 1:30.57 for each.

Julio Romero of Valencia finished in 25th with a time of 1:11.88.

In the boys 200 yard free relay, the Tigers and Eagles finished in 13 and 14th places with times of 1:45.65 and 1:46.07.

The Tigers had an uncharacteristically slow 400 yard free relay and finished in 11th place with a time of 4:01.99, over 19 seconds more than the team’s entry time.

Christofori Sanchez was the best performer for the Belen boys, earning 45 points for the team with two top ten finishes in his two individual events. In the 200 yard free, he finished in fifth with a time of 2:00.39. In the 100 yard free, he came in eighth with a time of 54.33.

Connor Matthews of Valencia finished with 23 points as the Jaguars top performers, finishing 21st in the 100 yard free with a time of 58.02 as well as a ninth place finish in the 100 yard back with a time of 1:03.88.

On the girls side, Haven Casillas was the Eagles top performer on their way to an 11th place finish.

Casillas’ best event was the 50 yard free, finishing in seventh place with a time of 26.99, .23 seconds behind sixth place MacKenzie Jarrell of Academy.

Annie Florence of Valencia was the second best performer from the county in the event, coming in 18th place with a time of 28.39. Elizabeth Boggus, Emily Schiller and Isabella Landavazo of BHS finished in 34th, 43rd and 48th places, and Felicity Barela and Yarely Acosta of Los Lunas rounded out the county swimmers in 54th and 79th places.

All seven VC swimmers were slower than expected, posting times longer than their entry times.

In her other individual event, Casillas finished in 11th place in the 100 yard free with a time of 1:00.29.

In relay events, Belen finished in ninth in the 200 yard free relay with a time of 1:52.68 and eighth in the 200 yard medley relay with a time of 1:52.95, good enough for the team to qualify for the state championships.

Valencia finished in 22nd with 13 points, all of which came from Annie Florence, who finished 18th and 19th in the 50 and 100 yard free.

Belen will host the Last Chance invite at the BHS Natatorium on Feb. 8, the next time the Eagles compete in the area.

All three schools are scheduled to compete.

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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.