LAS CRUCES, N.M.-The New Mexico State University cross country teams are ready and well equipped for their annual home meet this weekend when they take to the NM State University Golf Course for the Kachina Classic on Saturday, Sept. 15.
NM State will be inviting rival UTEP, along with El Paso-Community College to Las Cruces for the meet. The Aggies will be competing in the Kachina Classic one week after competing in UTEP's annual Lori Fitzgerald Invitational where the women's team placed first overall and the men's team placed second overall.
Last season, both the men's and women's teams placed first in their respective events. The men's team finished with a score of 26 points, led by senior Jonah Ruybalid who finished first for NM State and second overall with a time of 25:32.1 in the 8K. Overall, six of the top 10 times in the men's 8K were posted by Aggies.
The women's team also finished first overall, posting a score of 33 points. Senior sisters Camille and Courtney Schultz finished side-by-side for third and fourth overall and first and second for NM State respectively in the women's 5K. Camille ran the event with a time of 17:28.5 and Courtney finished with a time of 17:28.8.
The Aggies will look for similar results with a majority of last season's top runners returning to again compete in the event. The team will also face the opportunity to showcase some of the younger athletes who will lead the team in future seasons.
Freshmen Paul Raymond and Christopher Silva are two highly recruited athletes who will receive the chance to compete in their first true 8K of their NM State career. Raymond arrived at Las Cruces from Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, and Silva arrived from Rancho Mirage, Calif.
"Raymond and Silva are two runners who have been knocking at the door of the top 10," said assistant cross country coach Christopher Huff. "These two are still adjusting to the change in altitude and the further distance, and we are looking for a break through from each of them."
The cross country coaching staff is also looking at a new group of girls to step up alongside the Schultz sisters to help carry the Aggies to a potential victory. Freshmen Mayra Chavez and Sarabel Bojorquez are two athletes in particular who Huff said have the chance to make an early impression.
"Chaves and Bojorquez are making altitude adjustments as well," Huff said. "I can also see Caroline Lewiecki stepping up to make the top five, and Jenna Padilla has made great strides to where she is this season."
The women's 5K will begin at 8:30 am and the men's 8K will follow at 9 am. The events will start and finish at the north section of the golf course, located close to the former golf course clubhouse. University Avenue provides easy access to the event.