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Baize wins Lovington Invite, Morillon takes second as ‘Dogs, Lady ‘Dogs finish second, third

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Just two meets into the 2023 season, the Artesia High School cross country teams are already making statements.

The Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs not only placed in the top three as teams Saturday at the Lovington Invitational, they earned top-two individual placements as well, with junior Zane Baize winning the boys’ varsity race and classmate Makaylee Morillon placing second in the girls’ varsity event.

“I was really proud of the way they competed,” head coach Nicholas Rivera said. “They came out and ran hard, and that was one of our main objectives for that meet was to just really go attack. We wanted to go be aggressive and really see where we’re at as far as fitness levels and how our training’s going so far, so I thought they did really well.”

The ‘Dogs came in second as a team, spurred by Baize’s winning time of 16:32 and senior Erardo Gonzalez’s seventh-place 17:28. The Lady ‘Dogs, meanwhile, earned third place as a team for the second consecutive weekend, led by Morillon’s time of 19:46 and junior Sydney Boone’s eighth-place 21:33.

“Obviously, with different courses, different terrains and different environments, times are going to change, but I think our front group on both sides really did well,” Rivera said. “And I think that helps everybody else, too. Our three, four and five kids really want to hold up their end of the bargain, so I’m proud of the way everyone responded.”

Also turning in a solid time in the boys’ JV race was junior Ethan Johnson, who finished sixth with a time of 20:07.

The Artesia runners were coming off their Sept. 1 season opener in Clovis, which saw the Lady Bulldogs finish third as a six-runner team and the Bulldogs sixth as a five-runner team against competition hailing from the host city, Hobbs, Lovington, Roswell, Goddard, San Jon, Portales, Tucumcari and Hereford, Texas.

Morillon also came in second for the Artesia girls at that contest with a time of 21:45.84, just under 15 seconds behind Clovis’ Gabrielle Foggie. Joining her in the top 15 was Boone with a 24:16.94, while Gonzalez, Parker Jarratt and Aden Garcia placed in the top 20 for the boys with respective fifth-place, 15th-place and 18th-place times of 18:12.03, 19:55.40 and 20:12.61.

“We’re really excited to see how we’re moving forward,” Rivera said. “On the girls’ side, everybody’s pretty healthy. On the boys’ side, one of our top-five guys is kind of recovering from the first meet, but he’s super eager to come back.

“I think everybody so far is really focused on getting better and really focused on running well for the team. That’s one thing I’ve really been trying to push is hey, we’ve got to run for each other. If we run for each other, then good things are going to happen as far as the team goes.”

Rivera says his runners have definitely been enjoying the cooler temperatures this week, which is allowing them to put in good-quality workouts in preparation for this weekend’s JV meet at NMMI and next weekend’s varsity trip to the massive Lubbock ISD Invitational in Lubbock, Texas.

“We’ve already talked about how we’re going there to compete against some top talent that’s really going to push us,” said Rivera. “We’re on the right path, but we can’t get satisfied — we’re still not exactly where we want to be, so I think the Lubbock meet is going to be really good for us.

“At the beginning of the year, when we went over our team goals, we talked about that, instead of just going to these meets and kind of doing well, let’s focus on getting trophies and plaques, and we got our first one this weekend. Hopefully as we move forward, more will come, and it just comes with competing hard.”

Clovis Invitational Results

Friday, Sept. 1


Sixth Place

• Erardo Gonzalez, 5th, 18:12.03

• Parker Jarratt, 15th, 19:55.40

• Aden Garcia, 18th, 20:12.61

• Jared Valdez, 36th, 24:01.95

• Damian Aguilar, 37th, 24:02.84


Third Place

• Makaylee Morillon, 2nd, 21:45.84

• Sydney Boone, 14th, 24:16.94

• Sorrel Sheffield, 21st, 25:47.43

• Ashley Contreras, 23rd, 26:26.33

• Esmeralda Sorrells, 24th, 26:26.73

• Jema Molina, 26th, 26:41.62


• Daniel Madrid, 5th, 22:32.77

• Evan Aguirre, 26th, 29:43.50


• Lily Bruton, 23rd, 30:45.08

Brienne Green
Daily Press Editor

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