The 2022 Class 5A state champion boys track & field team. (Herron photo)

ALBUQUERQUE – It’s been an incredible run for the Cleveland High School boys track & field team, which won the Class 5A championship on May 14 for the sixth year in a row.

But that’s not all: The Kenny Henry-led Storm boys won it all from 2012-14, then had a hiccup of sorts – a tie for 10th in 2015 – and then started their latest string, blue trophies every year from 2016 through 2022, excluding the 2020 season, when the pandemic cancelled the state meet.

Plenty of great performances

The Storm amassed 102 points to easily out-distance runner-up Rio Rancho (60), still without a blue trophy in that sport. Farmington (49) placed third.

The Storm won two relays, the 4×400 in 3:22.67 and the medley in 3:33.97. Cleveland was second in the 4×100 and 4×800, and third in the 4×200 relay.

Antonio Avila, the 5A boys meet’s high-point scorer, with 22.5 points, defended his 2021 title in the 110-high hurdles in 14.31, and also won the 300 hurdles, in 38.36.

Sophomore Stratton Shufelt won the shot put, tossing it 52 feet, 1½ inches. Evan Wysong won the 200-meter dash in 21.93 seconds. Dominic Vasquez won the javelin with a toss of 164-1.

Other top-three finishes for the victors: Caden Nunn was second in the 800, Cole Savage was the runner-up in the high jump.

Third-place finishes went to Wysong in the 100 – an event he won last spring, Avila in the long jump and the 4×200 relay quartet.

Shufelt was fourth in the discus.

“These guys want to win every time they get on the track, and we had a few events that we didn’t,” Henry said. “They’re hanging their heads, but ultimately they’re racking up points. … That’s what we’re most proud about, that we have guys that contribute all over the place. When the meet was going on, you could it was probably going to happen for us.”

As for Avila, he said, “Big-time for him. You come in as the top guy, but you’ve got to do it here (at state). In my opinion, I think he’s a very high candidates for Gatorade Player of the Year. … That guy is just a stud.”

Henry then teared up a bit, as he told about one of his individual champs who will graduate May 23.

“Dominic Vasquez,” he began. “This guy, we brought him up to the district meet as an eighth-grader to high jump. … We’re thinking, ‘Man, this guy is a high-jumper; he’s going to be a stud. And then the next two years he was a sprinter and a jumper for us.

“He did well, but he couldn’t make this team by any stretch. And then, his junior year, he’s kinda gotten big; he’s a linebacker in football, and running’s a little harder for him. Let’s try him as a hurdler.

“The guy qualified as a hurdler at the state meet last year This year,” Henry remembered thinking, “he’s probably not going to be able to contribute to the team, so let’s see if he can throw in the state championship.”

Obviously, he could.

Next year?

“It’s always daunting when you look at the guys you lose,” Henry said.

But, of course, he’s lost guys before.

Storm girls are fifth

The Cleveland girls had 37 points at the meet, which left them fifth of 20 teams.

The Storm’s top distance runner, Leah Futey, set a state record May 13 in the 3200-meter run, which she won in 11:00.15. She also won the 1600 in 5:09.64.

Kennedy Ulmer was second in the discus, and Jaylee Gandert was third in the discus and third in the javelin.

Nia Mamuya was fourth in the 100 and the Storm’s 4×800 relay team also finished fourth.