East Mountain High School’s Henry Dewey and Estancia High’s Jayde Perea cruised to victories in the boys’ and girls’ races at Moriarty’s cross country meet March 13 at Edgewood Middle School.

With strong winds blowing into the runners’ faces at various points during both races, including at the finish line, 14 boys and 10 girls from Moriarty, Estancia and East Mountain high schools competed.

It was the second meet this season hosted by Moriarty at the Edgewood course and the final regular season meet for the three area high schools.

East Mountain’s Henry Dewey, who won the boys race, heading down the home stretch March 13. Photo by Ger Demarest.

At the start of the boys’ race, all six Moriarty runners led the pack, but by the end of the first mile Dewey had taken the lead.

Down the home stretch, Dewey was all alone, except for the woman walking her dog on the course who had to get out of his way. He won the race in 19 minutes, 19 seconds, shaving more than 1:30 off his previous winning time at East Mountain’s meet on March 8.

“Same kid, faster time,” East Mountain head coach Amira McKee said about Dewey after the race, referencing his performance earlier in the week.

Moriarty’s Ben McMurtry finished in second place at 19:47. He was followed by teammates David Vaquera, Henry Schuett, and Toby Olson in third, fourth and fifth place, respectively, putting four Pintos in the top five positions.

“I keep preaching at practices, we have to run as a unit,” Moriarty head coach Nicholas Arellano said. “So, the tighter we are as a unit, the better opportunity we have to win meets.”

On the girls’ side, Estancia’s Jayde Perea earned a hat trick by winning her third race in as many weeks. As she did in her previous two outings, Perea set the pace right out of the gate, led the entire race and won with a time of 24:08.

“It’s so cool, I’m just so fortunate, I just try to push myself, no matter where I’m at in the race,” Perea said after her win, adding that running into the wind, especially at the finish line “was definitely pretty challenging.”

A little more than three minutes after Perea crossed the finish line, her teammates Mariana Sanchez finished in second place, followed by Alana Sosa in third, giving the Estancia girls team its second trifecta in less than a week.

“They did awesome,” Estancia head coach Adrienne Pierce said of her three girls. “I’m pretty sure they all made personal records, and our two boys did really well too.”

Pierce had extra praise for Perea, calling her “an amazing kid.”

“I don’t know if I’ll ever coach a kid like her again,” Pierce said.

Jayde Perea crossing the finish line March 13. Photo by Ger Demarest.

East Mountain’s Natalie Arritt finished in fourth place and Moriarty’s Rebekah McMurtry placed fifth to round out the top five positions in the girls race.

“It was good, everyone ran way faster than they did on our course, so, happy day!” McKee said.

“I think we did very, very well as a whole,” Arellano said. “They keep improving their times, they’re getting better each week, I’m very optimistic for the future of this program.”

Moriarty, Estancia and East Mountain will try to qualify for the cross country state championships as teams or with their individual runners at their schools’ district meets starting March 19.