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Trejo wins Narbona Pass 10K

FLC athletes shine at Native-focused race
Ricardo Trejo

Ricardo Trejo, a senior on Fort Lewis College’s cross-country team, said he didn’t know what to expect when he entered the Narbona Pass Classic 10K, a Native-centered race in New Mexico.

The race, which also features a 5K, is in rugged mountains in the Navajo Nation between Farmington and Gallup. Trejo said he had heard the race was tough, but he approached it as a training run for the upcoming college cross-country season.

Another Skyhawk, recent FLC graduate Steven Nez, took the lead about 150 meters into the race.

“He took off pretty fast, and I went after him,” Trejo said. At about the 1-mile mark, when the course started climbing from about 8,000 to 9,000 feet, however, Trejo took the lead and never let it go.

“The hills helped me a lot,” Trejo said. “I figured I’d use the hills for my advantage, and I was able to take off.”

The climb was pretty steady for about 2 miles, including a really steep section in the last 100 meters before the downhill began. After the steep section, however, Trejo said it was “pretty fast” going downhill.

Trejo won in 37 minutes, 46 seconds. Galvin Curley finished second (38:01), and Nez finished third (38:20).

“It felt pretty nice; I didn't expect it,” Trejo said. “It shows me I’m in great shape coming into the season. My main priority is to go to nationals as a senior. I really want this team to go and to do my part.”

The victory came after a big training week for Trejo that included 85 miles of running.

Several other athletes from FLC competed in the 10K. Wacey Begay finished 11th in the men’s division (43:24).

In the women’s 10K, Esther Beck finished second in 51:13, and Celine Nez placed fourth in 56:02. Temyra Bia was the women’s champion (50:14).

Begay, Beck and Steven and Celine Nez are all Native Americans.

“I didn’t expect them all to be there,” Trejo said. “It was really nice. When I saw the team there, it made it better.”

The event, which returned after a two-year hiatus because of COVID, had 259 runners compete in the 10K including several other college athletes. The 5k attracted 248 runners.

“It was just a fun experience,” Trejo said. “It’s a big deal for them. They take it pretty serious.”