GOODYEAR, ARIZ.-The New Mexico State University cross country team finished up the Grand Canyon Invitational with strong performances by both teams, including a first-place finish by the men's team and a second-place finish by the women's team.
A total of 15 teams competed in the meet. The men's team defeated Northern Arizona University, currently ranked No. 18 in the nation and No. 3 in the Mountain West region and the University of Arizona, currently ranked No. 9 in the West region. The women's team defeated Northern Arizona in their match as well, which was ranked No. 9 in the West region. Both teams also defeated Arizona State in each event.
The men's team finished first overall with 38 points in the 8K, which is 19 points better than second place. Four of the top 10 overall runners wore crimson and white.
The senior class for the men's team ran strong at the meet, with all top five runners for NM State being seniors. Senior Jonah Ruybalid continued to lead his team each week, finishing first overall for NM State and third overall with a time of 24:59.9. This is the second consecutive week Ruybalid finished below the 25 minute mark. Fellow senior Terry Williams finished close behind for fourth overall and second for NM State with a time of 25:02.6. Senior Anthony Ellis followed up by finishing eighth overall and third for NM State with a time of 25:17.8. Senior Ian Ruybalid rounded out the top 10 overall when he finished 10th overall and fourth for NM State with a time of 25:25.3. Senior Ryan Fenton rounded out the top five for NM State when he finished 13th overall with a time of 25:37.5.
Brothers and sophomore Armando and Ramon Rueda finished next in line for NM State. Armando finished sixth for NM State and 17th overall with a time of 25:40.8 and Ramon finished seventh for NM State and 22nd overall with a time of 25:51.7. Senior Robert Selph followed up by finishing eighth for NM State with a time of 26:03.2.
A pair of freshman rounded out the top 10 overall for NM State. Freshmen Christopher Silva and Paul Raymond finished ninth and 10th for NM State, Silva with a time of 26:05.9 and Raymond with a time of 26:10.9.
Also competing for the Aggies were junior Kevin Palmer (26:33.3), freshman Andres Gonzales (26:58.9), senior Bryan Simison (27:02.8), senior Kevin Hemphill (27:10.6), senior Chris Galli (29:32.1), freshman Carlos Ortega (29:32.1) and freshman Jason Saiz (29:41.1).
"Our top five on the men's side looked pretty solid today," said assistant cross country coach Christopher Huff. "I am pretty confident in our top five at this point."
The women's team finished second overall with 47 points in the 5K. NM State finished second behind Arizona with 26 points and finished ahead of third-place Cherritos Community College with 104 points.
Whereas the seniors led the men's team to their first-place finish, it was the younger athletes on the women's team who helped them earn a successful finish.
Freshman Sarabel Bojorquez finished first for NM State and fourth overall with a time of 18:36.0. This was Bojorquez's first meet where she finished first for the Aggies. Sophomore Diana Hawk followed up by finishing seventh overall and second for NM State with a time of 18:53.2. Freshman Mayra Chavez fought her way into the top 10 overall when she finished ninth overall and third for NM State with a time of 19:03.5. Sophomore Caroline Lewiekci finished fourth for NM State and 11th overall with a time of 19:07.8. Junior Rylie Hightower rounded out the top five for NM State when she finished 16th overall with a time of 19:18.1.
Junior Jenna Padilla finished sixth for NM State and 18th overall with a time of 19:28.0. Junior Carly Porter cracked the top 25 overall when she finished 23rd overall and seventh for NM State with a time of 19:34.2.
Junior Christiana Barela, Senior Adrienne Larson and junior Natalie Gomez rounded out the top 10 for NM State when Barela finished eighth for NM State with a time of 19:50.2, Larson finished ninth for NM State with a time of 20:14.9 and Gomez finished 10th for NM State with a time of 20:22..
Also competing for the Aggies were sophomore Nicole Diaz (21:05.0), sophomore Victoria Trujillo (21:25.7) and junior Liz Mata (22:18.9).
"Sarabel had a great performance today with her finishing first for NM State for the first time this season," Huff said.
The Aggies will compete next week in the Bronco Invitational at Sunnyvale, Calif., on Saturday, Oct. 13, for the team's final regular-season meet before the Western Athletic Conference Championships on Oct. 27.