CARLSBAD — The team scores in Friday’s District 4-5A cross country meet look almost like carbon copies.
Host Carlsbad finished first, Clovis High was second and Hobbs third in all four divisions — boys and girls varsity and junior varsity. And the team totals were nearly identical.
In both the varsity boys and junior varsity girls races, Carlsbad had 28 points to 41 for Clovis and 62 for Hobbs. In the varsity girls race, it was Carlsbad 28, Clovis 40 and Hobbs 57, while in the JV boys event Carlsbad finished with 30 points to 45 for Clovis and 59 for Hobbs.
The meet, originally scheduled for Saturday on a course near Carlsbad High School, was changed to Friday night at the request of both Clovis and Hobbs, who had complained about the course. Clovis coach Mark Bussen said the new course was along the Pecos River in Carlsbad.
Bussen said he was encouraged that his top five boys runners were bunched within 30 seconds of each other. Senior James Chavez led the Wildcats, placing fourth in 17:09.
“If our lead runner can be in the top 25 and our top five can be that close (in Saturday’s Class 5A state competition at Rio Rancho), we can finish in the top half (of the team standings),” Bussen said.
Meantime, the varsity girls had hoped to challenge Carlsbad for team honors, but came up short without their lead runner, sophomore Caitlin Waters, who was sidelined with walking pneumonia.
If Waters is able to return this week, Bussen said the Lady Wildcats could challenge for a high team finish in the state meet.
“We’re hoping to have her back,” Bussen said, adding that Waters’ condition has been improving in recent days. “There was no way we felt we could run her (Friday) with (walking) pneumonia.”
Her presence would have made the Lady Cats a threat to Carlsbad, he said.
“It would have been a really close race,” he said. “A lot of things can come into play, but I think she would’ve been at least second (individually) and it would have been a close (team) race.”
The 5A boys state meet will be at 11 a.m., while the 5A girls race is scheduled for 1 p.m.