2018 FALL SPORTS WRAP UP: CROSS COUNTRY
With 2018 in the rear view mirror, here’s a look back at the fall sports champions.
recaps written by Tyler Dunkel
Cleveland Storm Wins 2018 Boys’ 5A Cross Country Title
The Cleveland Storm returned to the victory stand for the second straight year at the 2018 Laguna Burger State Cross Country Championships. This marked the Storm’s fourth blue trophy in school history; the first came in 2011.
As a team, Cleveland tallied 62 points with all five scoring runners finishing in the top-20. Clovis finished second with 91 points, followed by Albuquerque High (127), Rio Rancho (134) and Volcano Vista (145) rounding out the top-5.
Individually, junior Yonas Haile of Cleveland was crowned the 2018 individual champion, crossing the finish line in a time of 15:27.35, repeating as state champion. Haile finished the race almost 20 seconds ahead of his closest competitor. He won the event in 2017 and finished in the top-5 in 2016.
“I’m happy I was able to get my second straight championship,” said Haile moments after crossing the finish line. “I’ve really been looking forward to this.”
Hobb’s Patrick Colborn placed second in a time of 16:09.85, followed by Stevie Salas of La Cueva, who crossed the finish line in a time of 16:12.35. Jerrick Maldonado of Clovis (16:19.45) and Triston Charles of Peidra Vista (16:25.55) completed the top-5.
Other medalists included Simon Baca (Albuquerque High), Sean Dwyer (Eldorado), Cody Smith (Rio Rancho), Walker Quale (Albuquerque High) and Daniel Beam (Rio Rancho).
Hilltoppers Win 4A Boys’ Blue Trophy
The 2018 Laguna Burger Boys’ State Cross Country Championships in Class 4A saw the Los Alamos Hilltoppers atop the podium for the first time since 2014, capturing their seventh blue trophy in the school history. The Hilltoppers managed 42 points, with three runner finishing in the top-5.
As a team, Los Alamos finished seven points ahead of second place finisher Albuquerque Academy (49). Miyamura took third place (126), as Kirtland Central (144) and Hope Christian (168) rounded out the top-5.
Senior Kashon Harrison of Kirtland Central captured the individual state title for the second straight year, crossing the finish line in a time of 15:27.35, followed by Rafael Sanchez of Los Alamos, who placed second in a time of 16:06.55. Harrison ran the fastest time of the day and best on the course since 2012.
“It’s fun to win state,” Harrison said following his second straight title. “It’s a lot of hard work, but if you’re mentally prepared for a race you can do whatever you want.”
Duncan Fuehne of Los Alamos placed third, finishing in a time of 16:07:90. Additional medalists included Ty McCray (Miyamura), Steven Strevell (Los Alamos), Justin Hickey (Albuquerque Academy), Oliver Pilon (Albuquerque Academy), John Hall (Pojoaque Valley), Skyler Forman (Albuquerque Academy) and Eric Scharton (Hope Christian).
Zuni Boys’ Win 17th State Title
The Zuni Thunderbirds captured the boys’ 4A division, winning their 17th blue trophy in school history at the 2018 Laguna Burger State Cross Country Championships. It was Zuni’s first title for the boys’ team since 2015.
By race’s end, the Thunderbirds had tallied 40 points as a team, winning the title by nine points over second place finisher Santa Fe Indian School (49). Cottonwood Classical finished third with 118 points, followed by Cuba (136) and Navajo Prep (147).
Sandia Prep’s Epherem Zerai was crowned the state individual champion, crossing the finish line 14 seconds before the closest competitor with a time of 16:23.85. Deshawn Goodwin of Zuni was second in a time of 16:37.00.
“I’m so happy,” said Zerai immediately following the race. “My grandmother recently passed away and I had her in my mind and I knew I had to work hard for her.”
Christopher Humetewa (16:42.45) of Santa Fe Indian School finished third, as Justin Howey of Cottonwood Classical finished fourth (16:44.15), followed by Joshua Valdez of Robertson (17:02.50) , rounding out the top-5.
Other medalists included Jacy Edaakie of (Zuni), Isaiah Paiz (West Las Vegas), Isaiah Velasquez (Santa Fe Indian School), Dallen Plummer (Santa Fe Indian) and Marcus Concho (Santa Fe Indian School).
Navajo Pine Wins Seventh Boys’ State Title in School History
Navajo Pine hoisted the blue trophy at the 2018 Laguna Burger State Cross Country Championships, winning their seventh state title in school history, while repeating as state champions from 2017.
The Warriors recorded the best team score of any classification on the day, scoring 31 points, five scoring runners finishing in the top-15. In fact, Navajo Pine had three finish in the top-5.
Pecos, who finished first in the 2017 state championships, finished second with a team score of 49.
ATC (102), Cloudcroft (135) and Mora (211) rounded out the top-5 in the team competition.
Galvin Curley of Navajo Pine captured the individual title with a time of 16:14.15, after finishing second in 2017. Teammate Michael Marshall was second in a time of 16:23.55, followed by Hagerman’s Martin Flores (16:29.85), Navajo Pine’s Dominique Clichee (16:50.25) and Isaiah Armijo of Pecos (17:01.05).
“It started off fast and that’s what I liked about it,” said Curley of the pace. “Every race I start off fast so I knew it was going to be my race. When I got up on the hill, I kind of burned out a little but as soon as a got onto the grass something came over me and I thought about how hard I worked over the summer and I took it from there.”
Other medalists included Max Presler (Cloudcroft), Devin Gonzales (Pecos), Justin Madalena (Jemez valley), Angel Varela (Pecos) and Gilbert Valdez (Penasco).
Eldorado Wins 5A Girls’ Cross Country Title
The Eldorado Eagles captured the blue trophy for the first time since 2012 at the 2018 Laguna Burger State Cross Country Championships, winning by nine points over second place finisher Cleveland. It was the sixth state cross country title for the girls program in school history.
The Eagles won the 2018 championship over the Storm, scoring 57 points, compared to Cleveland’s 65 points.
Albuquerque High (96), Rio Rancho (134) and La Cueva (136) rounded out the top-5 teams.
Eldorado’s Jasmine Turtle-Morale of Eldorado won the individual title after finishing second in 2017, crossing the finish line in a time of 18:22.45, almost 25 seconds in front of the closest competitor.
“The first mile I was going to take it a little slower, but I didn’t,” explained Turtle-Morales. “On the hill I ran a little faster and then downhill I opened my legs up and just went. I looked back one time and realized I need to open it up a little more and so I did. I’m really surprised I’m a state champ. I really wanted this and finally accomplished my goal.”
Leah Futey of Cleveland placed second overall with a time of 18:47.50, followed by Reilly McClanahan of Eldorado (19:08.30) and Alisa Marez-Fishbein of Albuquerque High (19:19.40) going third and fourth respectively. Olivia Salter of Sandia (19:25.65) rounded the top-5.
Other medalists included Brynn Esplin (La Cueva), Mari Gonzales (Cleveland), Reina Paredes (Rio Rancho)Isa Gonzales (Cleveland) and Lila Nezar (Volcano Vista).
Albuquerque Academy Wins Fourth Girls’ Cross Country Championship
The Albuquerque Academy Chargers won the 2018 Laguna Burger 4A Girls’ State Cross Country Championships, marking their fifth state title with 31 points. It was the third straight title for Albuquerque Academy and the third under head coach Adam Kedge.
The Chargers’ 4A rival, Los Alamos, placed second as a team with 47 points, followed by Hope Christian (119), Kirtland Central (129) and Taos (132).
Zoe Hunter of Albuquerque Academy was the individual champion, crossing the finish line in a time of 18:56.60. Hunter placed third in 2017.
“It felt like I was pushed the entire time,” said Hunter of the battle with Valdez. “I started out pretty fast because that’s what I normally like to do. Norissa and I were side by side almost the entire race. It was good to have someone there that you push them and they push you. It was a lot of fun.”
Norissa Valdez of Los Alamos was second overall in a time of 19:07.25, followed by Alyx Mastor of Taos (19:17.50). Jayleen Guerroro (Santa Teresa) placed fourth in a time of 19:20.15, while Jane Archibeck of Academy rounded out the top-5, finishing with a time of 19:29.35.
Also standing on the podium were Grace Archibect (Albuquerque Academy), Grace Alley (Albuquerque Academy), Aisha Ramone (Kirtland Central), Emma Montoya (Los Alamos) and Tiajhae Nez (Kirtland Central).
Robertson Wins 2018 3A Girls’ Cross Country Championship
The Robertson Cardinals hoisted the girls’ 3A blue trophy for the second time in school history and the first time since 2003 at the 2018 Laguna Burger 3A Girls’ State Cross Country Championships.
Robertson earned 87 points, followed by Zuni (92). The rest of the top-5 teams included St. Michael’s (111), Santa Fe Indian School (112) and Cottonwood Classical (116).
Skyler Gee of Sandia Prep, running in her first year of cross country, was the individual champion, crossing the finish line in a time of 20:15.10, followed closely by East Mountain’s Amelia Johnson (20:20.60), who placed second. Latisha Lopez of Wingate was third with a time of 20:23.35. Thoreau’s Holly Tsosie (20:33.95) and Janai Clayton of St. Michael’s (20:46.85) finished fourth and fifth respectively.
“I was so tired, I just wanted to sit down,” said Gee following her victory. “It was a really cool experience with all the energy around me as I entered the stadium. It was really cool.”
Other medalists included Brandy Ray (Navajo Prep), Makayla Quintana (Robertson), Liana Fernandez (Robertson), Erika Estevan (Laguna Acoma), Erica Ortiz (Laguna Acoma) and Isabella Cabral (Cottonwood Classical).
Pecos Earns Girls’ A-2A Title
The Pecos Panthers captured their first blue trophy in girls’ cross country at the 2018 Laguna Burger State Cross Country Championships. Pecos had four runners in the top-10.
The Panthers tallied 36 points in the win, just three points more than second place finisher Academy for Technology and the Classics (ATC) (39). Rehoboth Christian (121), Penasco (125) and Estancia (157) rounded out the top-5.
Vanessa Dominguez (Pecos) who placed fourth in 2017, earned the individual title in a time of 20:24.00, followed by Maggie Rittmeyer (20:35.05) and Noelano Van Loon (20:42.25) of ATC. Mistidawn Roybal of Pecos (20:43.35) and Kianna Quintana of Pecos (20:55.85) placed fourth and fifth respectively. Dominguez lead her team to their first championship.
“The team has helped me through a lot of practices,” said Dominguez. “So this is not only for me, it’s for my team too.”
Cerria Lucero (Hagerman), Jaimey Fastnacht (Estancia), Savanah Ortiz (Pecos), Elisa Demol (Rehoboth Christian), Carly Conzales (Penasco) and Josette Gurule (ATC) finished off the top-10, earning individual medals.