Cleveland senior Leah Futey, seen here getting a high-five from coach Kenny Henry, a state champ as a freshman, but the fourth-place finisher last season, will hope to finish first this season for the Storm. (Gary Herron?Observer)


The city’s cross country teams are in action Saturday morning for the annual Cleveland Invitational.

The varsity boys hear the starting gun at 8; the varsity girls start their race at 8:30.

The prices of admission are $5 for adults, $3 for senior citizens and children under 12.

When it comes to this distance sport, there’s been plenty of success for City of Vision’s boys teams. In the past 10 seasons, Cleveland High has won five team titles and had two individual champs — Luis Martinez and Yonas Haile — while Rio Rancho High has two team titles.

Although not matching their male counterparts’ success, the city’s girls teams have combined for four team titles – two by each school, with a trio of individual champions — Leah Futey, Amanda Mayoral and Malia Gonzales, all of CHS.

Last season, for the first time in Rio Rancho history, all four cross country teams brought trophies home from the Class 5A state meet Nov. 6 at Albuquerque Academy.

The Rams boys and girls each finished second. The Storm boys and girls teams each finished third.

Kenny Henry is the Storm’s cross country coach.

Former East Mountain High School district coach Phil Keller is the new cross country coach at RRHS, replacing former coach Sal Gonzales, now the school’s athletic director.

“What I expect from my athletes is to be at practice every day, work hard and stay positive,” Keller said. “Other little things like listening, being a good teammate, juniors and seniors taking a leadership role within the team all eventually add up to become big things.”

Can his Rams bring home another state trophy?

“Realistically, it is up to them to improve,” he said. “I say this because in cross country, summer running and effort are so important. Student-athletes that make the choice to run daily in the summer and put forth effort in everything they do end up being successful.”

Here are the teams’ schedules, with the dates in common listed first; times are “estimated”:

DATE                EVENT                                                                         TIME

Aug. 27          Cleveland Invitational                                                         8 a.m.

Sept. 10         Lobo Invitational at North Golf Course                             8 a.m.

Sept. 17         Rio Rancho Jamboree                                                          8 a.m.

Oct. 8             APS Metro championships/Community Stadium       8 a.m.

Oct. 15           Academy Extravaganza                                                   8 a.m.

Oct. 28           District 1-5A meet @ Cleveland                                   TBA

Nov. 5             Class 5A state meet @ Academy                                 TBA

Cleveland High School

Sept. 23         Cibola Invite (location TBA)                                       3 p.m.

Sept. 30         APS Invite @ Bullhead Park                                     3 p.m.

Oct. 21           Los Alamos Invite/L.A. golf course                         3 p.m.

Rio Rancho High School

Sept. 24         La Cueva Invite                                                             TBA

Sept. 30         Desert Twilight Meet in Chandler, Ariz.                TBA

Oct. 21           Eldorado Invite                                                           TBA