East Mountain High senior Marissa Case outran her nearest competitor by more than 16 seconds to take first place in the girls varsity race at the annual Nick Martin Memorial Invitational cross country meet Sept. 28 in Sandia Park.

“My goal was to win because it was my last home meet,” Case said, adding, “It was a hard race, but I stuck with it and I’m happy.”

With a finish time of 22:00, Case shaved :29 off her time at last year’s event when she placed third.

East Mountain freshman Jessie Leibold finished 18th.

Joseph Bertrand was East Mountain’s top finisher in the boys varsity race at 19th.

East Mountain’s Gabe Case won the boys JV race.

Twenty high schools and middle schools from around the state participated in the annual event hosted by East Mountain High School at the Vista Grande Community Complex.

Marissa Case. Courtesy photo.

Estancia High, Estancia Middle School, and Roosevelt Middle School also had runners compete in the event.

Estancia eighth grader Raul Garcia won the boys middle school race; Roosevelt’s Krishna Clarke finished just 3 seconds behind to take second place.

The boys and girls varsity and JV runners competed in 5K races, while the middle school runners competed in 1.5K races.

The course starts and ends on the Vista Grande Community Complex soccer field and includes a stretch through the forest behind the main community center.

A community 5K run and fun walk—a fundraiser for East Mountain’s athletic department—preceded the high school and middle school races.

“The meet went very smoothly from our standpoint, counting the community run we were over 400 people, so it was a good turnout,” East Mountain cross country head coach and event organizer Dave Naylor said. “It was a good day all around, good runs from Marissa, several of the younger varsity boys did great, and we saw some very positive things on the JV side too.”

Now in its 15th year, the annual cross country meet was renamed in 2010 in honor of EMHS runner Nick Martin, who passed away at the age of 16.