East Mountain High School’s cross country team, under new head coach Amira McKee, competed in its first meet of the season on March 8 in Sandia Park. Though the Timberwolves’ Henry Dewey won the boys race by almost two minutes, and Estancia High’s Jayde Perea won the girls race by an even wider margin, it was Moriarty’s boys’ and girls’ teams that tallied the points to win the meet.
Dewey easily won the boys’ race with a time of 20 minutes, 54 seconds. He finished nearly two minutes ahead of the second-place finisher.
“I didn’t really think I was gonna win, I started off a little too fast,” Dewey said, adding, “It’s good [to be competing again], I kinda figured that there wasn’t gonna be a season so I was pretty happy and stoked when I heard about it.”
Perea, winning her second race in as many weeks, took the lead early and finished with a time of 26:17, more than four minutes ahead of teammates Alana Sosa, who finished in second place, and Mariana Sanchez, who took third.
“It feels pretty good, definitely,” Perea said about winning the race. “I’m just happy that we get to be here today.”
It was Perea’s first time running the course—a rugged trek that starts and ends on the Vista Grande Community Complex soccer field with two laps through the forest behind the community center and a grueling uphill grind near the end of each lap.
“I definitely underestimated the hills,” Perea said.
“I knew she’d fight, that was definitely something that was really awesome to watch,” Estancia head coach Adrienne Pierce said. “She’s just got it between the ears.”
Moriarty’s boys team had five runners finish in the top 10, including Ben McMurtrey, who placed second with a time of 22:45. Moriarty claimed the second-through-fifth place positions and had one other who finished 10th to win the meet with 23 points.
“East Mountain always has a tough course,” Moriarty head coach Nicholas Arellano said. “Any time you run a course with hills it’s mental toughness, you gotta put your head down and drive these hills, so I thought we ran extremely well.”
In addition to Dewey, East Mountain had three other boys finish in the sixth, eighth and ninth spots.
Estancia had one of its two boys finish seventh.
Moriarty’s girls placed fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and 10th. Tessa Buck, running in her first meet of the season, was Moriarty’s top finisher at fifth place.
“I think it was really good, I didn’t expect myself to do that well,” Buck said. “I’m a senior and that was my first time that I was first out of my whole team so that was really cool, I was like, dang!”
Natalie Arritt was East Mountain’s top finisher at fifth.
Neither East Mountain nor Estancia had enough girls running to qualify points so Moriarty’s girls automatically won the meet with 5 points.
Though Estancia only had one eligible boy and three girls run their respective races, Pierce said she was happy with the one-two-three girls’ finish.
“The girls were really strong,” Pierce said. “They exceeded my expectations.”
McKee, who’s been at the helm of East Mountain’s cross country team for only two weeks, said, “Today went well. I wish more girls could compete, but I’m pleased. They’re all running a lot faster than they were two weeks ago and that’s a great improvement.”