Senior James Chavez helped Clovis High’s boys win their own cross country invitational on Saturday at Ned Houk Park, leading the Wildcats with a fourth-place individual finish in a time of 18 minutes, 31 seconds. (CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks)
By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
Clovis High’s Caitlin Waters was perfectly happy to let her counterparts from Liberal, Kan., set the early pace in Saturday’s CHS Invitational cross country meet at Ned Houk Park.
At some point, though, she’d had enough. Waters and teammates Michelle Schenck and Nicole Johnson eventually ran away to a 1-2-3 finish, leading the Lady Wildcats to the team title.
The Clovis boys, meantime, edged Liberal by a point (38-39) for team honors.
Waters finished the three-mile course in 20 minutes, 14 seconds, six seconds ahead of Schenck, while Johnson followed at 21:04.
They left Liberal — and everyone else in the field — in the dust.
“Their whole group took off,” Waters said. “We just kind of stayed behind them, and then we took off. I thought we were going a little too slow.”
The Lady Cats finished with 30 points. Liberal, coached by former CHS assistant Kelly Cook, was second of four full teams with 42 points.
“The girls had a great meet,” Clovis coach Mark Bussen said. “On a (warm, windy) day like this, you can’t look at times; you have to look at the competition. I was really pleased overall.
“We have a good team. Our girls should win most three-mile races.”
Bussen said he is hoping the Lady Cats can narrow the gap between their first and fifth runners, but Waters said it was nice to have some familiar company at the finish line.
“Having the top three girls was really exciting,” she said. “I don’t think we’ve ever done that before.”
The boys, meantime, won a team title for the first time since 2003, when the Cats were second in the state in Class 5A.
Senior James Chavez led the Cats, finishing fourth overall in 18:31.
“I thought the guys would have a chance to win,” Bussen said. “It was really neat that we were able to compete like that and come out on top.”
Hobbs’ Jacob Lozano took the varsity boys individual title, running a time of 18:31.
Bovina had two entrants in the varsity boys race. Senior Isai Sauceda finished fifth in 18:31, while sophomore Jesus Rocha came in 11th with a time of 19:02.