Cats thinking third — or better

Dave Wagner

La Cueva and host Gallup may be out of the range of the Clovis High boys cross country team in Saturday’s Class 5A state meet in Gallup, but coach Brian Stacy thinks the Wildcats have a good shot at beating everyone else.

Stacy has penciled everything out, and believes all the Cats need to do is do what they do.

“When I look at us compared to anyone else, we can score about 78 points,” he said. “If we do that, based on the last few years, that could put us third.
“If we just run like we can, I don’t think we’ll even have to fight for third.”

Four races (including the combined 1A-2A classes) are scheduled for both boys and girls, all covering five kilometers (3.1 miles). In 5A, the girls race is slated for 11 a.m. with the boys to run around 1 p.m.

Stacy thinks seniors Brian Romero, the District 4-5A champion, and Matt Appelman are contenders for the individual title while senior Tyrell Northcutt could place in the top 15, good enough for all-state honors.

“They’ve just been running fantastic,” Stacy said.
As for the girls, he foresees eighth place in the 12-team field with the possibility of moving up to the top five. “Our fourth and fifth runners will dictate that,” he said.

The Lady Wildcats are led by sophomore Megan Willis, senior Melissa Clark and freshman Tori Northcutt. Stacy said the difference between No. 3 and No. 4 on the team is about 90 seconds.

“A minute in cross country could be about 10 or 15 (places),” he said.

Willis led the Lady Cats with a seventh-place finish in last weekend’s district meet in Albuquerque.

“I’m really excited about the state meet,” she said. “I want to get under 20 minutes. I’m going to run really hard and shoot for the top 15. It’s great we qualified as a team, and now I’m shooting for all-state.”

Willis said she’s as healthy as she’s been in a while, and Stacy expects her to have a good meet.

Willis said she hopes the girls’ top runners can pull the rest of the team along.

“I think our boys team is going to come out strong and do well,” Willis said. “And I think (the girls are) really going to do good. We have a really strong team, with three strong runners, and our fourth and fifth runners are good too.”