ALBUQUERQUE – Albuquerque Eldorado running sensation Gianna Rahmar stole the show at the 2023 New Mexico Class 5A girls state cross country meet.
The Hoover Middle School eighth grader shattered the state meet course record at Albuquerque Academy by running a sub-17 mark.
Rahmar crossed the finish line in 16:58.01, which was two minutes, and four seconds faster than state runner-up Ariana Thiel-Hadjilambrinos who clocked in at 19:02.46.
With a time of 19:16.22, Piedra Vista’s Nicole Pierce took third-place honors ahead of Rio Rancho’s Mariah Galbraith (19:28.47) and Farmington’s Madison Germaine (19:33.46).
“She’s a tough runner,” Pierce said of Rahmar. “She was dominate all season and I ran against her a couple of times.”
With it being her last season, Pierce was looking for another top finish in the large school division at the state meet. Last year, she earned a fifth-place medal.
“I’m very happy and I’m very proud of what I’ve done,” Pierce said. “I mean, all that training and all that dedication I put through all showed up today.”
The Diné runner said she didn’t go out as hard as she usually does to start Saturday morning’s race. But in the second mile she started to push herself as she closed in with that top 3 finish.
“That third mile was all heart,” she said. “I gave everything I had.”
Her final push helped Pierce shave off 46 seconds off her previous best on the state meet course when she ran a 20:02.06 on Oct. 21 during the Academy Extravaganza.
Farmington’s Germaine also turned in a new PR, improving her mark by almost a minute.
“I definitely wasn’t expecting to place this high,” the FHS runner said. “I just wanted to tag along behind the top 10 runners, but during the race I was sitting eighth and I wanted to see if I can finish top six.”
And though she hurt down the stretch, Germaine kept her pace.
“I just stuck with it,” she said. “I knew that last mile was going to hurt the worst, but I had to push through it. I was fighting with myself, but I cheered myself to finish the race.”
Germaine acknowledged that she had some doubts on whether she would finish in the top 10 to make the all-state team.
“I was a little discouraged because it took me a while to break 20,” the FHS senior said. “I thought I would get it right away, but it took a while. I’m just happy that I made the top 10.”
In the team standings, Rio Rancho ran away with the team title with 48 points ahead of La Cueva (86) and Cleveland (90).
Jemez Pueblo runner Marisel Yepa helped Cleveland earn that third place trophy with a 19th place finish.
“We were shooting for second,” Yepa said. “At the start of the season we weren’t very good, but then as the season went on, we started to pick it up.”
Yepa said the team ran without ace runner Casey Winters, who got hurt two weeks prior to the state meet.
“I think she would have made a difference,” Yepa said of her teammate. “You know, we’ve had our ups and downs during the season, but we managed to get top 3.”
Quentin Jodie navajotimes.com Track & Field
2023-11-16 15:46:05 , Navajo Times