ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A minute apart in real life, seven seconds apart on Saturday.
Eldorado’s Amberg twins, Crissey and Cassey, paced the Eagles to victory Saturday at the University of New Mexico Cross-Country Invitational at UNM North Golf Course.
Eldorado and Albuquerque Academy’s boys won team titles at the season’s first major competition.
GIRLS: Crissey Amberg ran side by side most of the way with St. Pius’ Kelli Reagan, but Amberg had the better kick.
“Right when I hit the last flag (about 100 meters away from the finish line), that’s when I knew,” Amberg, a senior, said. “My coach, he said, ‘It’s time to go.’ Right then, I had to kick; I had to get it.”
Amberg finished the 5,000 meters in 19 minutes, 8 seconds.
Reagan couldn’t match Amberg’s late push and was three seconds behind.
Cassey Amberg was third in 19:15.
Eldorado had five runners in the top 25 and won the meet with 54 points. Albuquerque Academy, led by freshmen Cameren Kristensen who was fourth, scored 68 points.
St. Pius’ Julie Giannini placed fifth.
BOYS: Academy senior Kyle Carrozza was a nonfactor through the first half of the UNM Invite, which is exactly the way he plotted this race before it started.
“I started out pretty slow,” Carrozza said. “I knew the boys would start to fall back, because a lot of them are so excited to start the season (and go out quickly).”
With teammate Kevin Wyss on his shoulder, Carrozza plodded along, somewhere in the 80th position after a half mile, by his calculations.
Midway through the race, the pair had reeled in the lead pack, and at the 2-mile mark, they began to move.
“My plan was to wait for the 2-mile mark, and once I hit that, I took off,” Carrozza said.
On a cloudless, warm morning, Carrozza finished in 16:06, seven seconds ahead of Los Alamos’ Colin Hemez, who was part of that lead pack.
Pojoaque’s Jereme Santistevan, last year’s 3A state champion, Cleveland’s Jared Mayoral, and Wyss rounded out the top five.
“It’s a big confidence boost,” Carrozza said. “But it’s Week 1. It doesn’t matter what I do or the team does today, we’re just waiting for state.”
The Chargers, with five runners in the top 17, cruised to a team victory with 51 points. Rio Rancho (125) and Eldorado (148) were far back in the standings.
WOMEN: In a relatively small field, the top six placers were from New Mexico State and New Mexico.
The top three finishers were Aggies, led by champion Diana Hawk, an Eldorado graduate who posted a time of 19:14. She was 14 seconds better than teammate Megan McNally.
Lobo runners Sophia Torres and Stephanie Mladinich were fourth and fifth, respectively. Torres ran for Pojoaque Valley, Mladinich for Albuquerque High.
UNM freshman Elisa Woody from Volcano Vista finished 12th.
MEN: UTEP dominated the race, with the top three finishers, led by Anthony Rotich who blazed the UNM North GC course in 14:39. Cosmas Boit crossed 20 seconds later.
Former UNM runner Nicholas Kipruto, now unattached, placed third in 15:08.
Also for the Lobos, Alex Herring (Albuquerque Academy) was fifth, Graham Thomas (Dulce) was sixth and J.P. Cordova (Hope Christian) finished seventh.
Kyle Fast Wolf, a La Cueva grad now running for UNM, was 12th. Zac Castillo of the Lobos (from Volcano Vista) was 15th.