Senior Colton Dant ran a strong race for Clovis High’s boys in Friday’s season-opening Clovis Invitational at Ned Houk Park. And because his teammates were solid, the Wildcats put together a second-place team finish.
Dant posted a time of 16 minutes, 47.77 seconds over three miles, and the Cats placed five runners in the top 16 to finish second with 53 points. Rio Rancho High’s No. 1 team won the meet with 34 points, while the Rams’ second team came in fifth.
Clovis, meantime, finished fourth in varsity girls competition with 92 points. Hobbs took team honors with 40 points.
Dant, who led the Cats in last year’s Class 5A state meet with an eighth-place finish, was pleased to get off to a strong start.
“It was exciting,” he said. “It was a pretty fast race, especially for the first one (of the season).
“I knew I wanted to be in the 16s time-wise, but I didn’t know what my competition would do.”
Rio Rancho’s Caleb Rubalcuba was the individual winner in 15:38.89, leading a 1-3 showing for the Rams.
“It’s hard to overcome (that) when their next three runners are (also) solid,” Clovis coach Mike Hankins said.
Senior Kenan Bussen was second for the Cats in 17:05. Each of the Cats’ top five runners was under 17:35.
“You’ve got to compete as a team to win, and that’s what we did today,” Dant said.
Junior Maddie McNaughton finished seventh in 20:19.94 and junior Amy Miranda was eighth in 20:31.25 for the Lady Wildcats, who were without sophomore Brittany Collins (ankle).
“We were fourth without Brittany, who a lot of times was our No. 1 runner last year,” Hankins said.
Another Rio Rancho runner, Tamara Lementine, won the race in 19:03.54.
“I think conditioning-wise, we’re right where we want to be,” Hankins said. “We’re not ready to peak yet; we don’t want to do that until October.”
Clovis returns to action next Saturday in the Plainview Invitational.