Hail the champions: Rio Rancho High School’s boys’ cross country team, which repeated as 5A champs. (Herron photo)


Another race, another win for Charlie Vause.

ALBUQUERQUE – For the second time in three seasons, all four of the City of Vision’s cross country teams brought trophies home from the Western Sky Community Care State Cross Country Championships – but this one was better.

At the 2021 state meet, also held at Albuquerque Academy, the Rio Rancho teams each finished second, while the Cleveland distance teams were third.

This time, the Rams were first in each race and Cleveland was again third in both races.

It was the Rams’ boys’ fourth championship, and second in a row; it was the girls’ fourth also, as they also won the 2020 meet, held in the spring of 2021.

Former Buckeye leads the way

Charlie Vause, who moved with his family to Rio Rancho from Ohio in the summer, won again, this time giving RRHS its first individual male winner in school history, and only the second champ ever, since the Late Danyel Longmire was a state champ in the fall of 1997, only a few months after the school opened.

Vause’s time was the fastest of the day – for any division, just missing his hoped-for 15-minute time.

“I’m happy; I wanted to go under 15 (minutes), but I can’t complain about that,” Vause said. “It was a good performance.”

Last month, Vause and the Rams won the big Academy Extravaganza; his time then was 15:32. Knowing the course, along with some rain/snow from the day before – and more than 100 runners behind him at state — helped him shave about 17 seconds off that finishing time.

“The dirt was more packed,” Vause said. ‘It was like running sand dunes last time. I knew the downhills; I knew when to push.”

Vause’s precise time of 15:17.16 gave him a 14-second finish ahead of runner-up and teammate Mateo Herrera, while Ram Cody Sullivan (eighth/15:54) gave the winners three in the top 10, earning them All-State accolades.

Cleveland’s Vince Madalena (seventh/15:51) and Antwon Shendo (10th/16:02) did likewise.

The Rams finished with a team score of v34, ahead of district foes Volcano Vista (57) and the Storm (94). Eldorado (128) and La Cueva (135) rounded out the top five in the 11-team race.

Rounding out the Rams’ quintet of scorers were Collyn Tomoyose (11th/16:04) and Skyler Galbraith (12th/16:06). Benjamin Miera (20th/16:44) and Chris Beall (34th/17:05) also ran for RRHS. Galbraith and Tomoyose are the only Rams seniors this season.

Behind Madalena and Shendo for the Storm, Huhkon Shendo-Smith (22nd/16:46), Johnathan Sanchez (28th/16:58) and Preston Bean (29th/16:59) helped the Storm secure the green trophy. Lucas Espinosa (33rd/17:05) and Lucas Peña (39th/17:15) also raced for CHS.

ERMS eighth-grader paces the local girls

Hoover Middle School eighth-grader Gianna Rahmar, competing for Eldorado, extended her streak of winning every race she’s been entered in, crossing the finish line in an amazing time of 16:58 – more than two minutes ahead of the runner-up.

Another eighth-grader, this one from Eagle Ridge Middle School, led the Rams to their blue trophy.

Mariah Galbraith, the daughter of school board president Amanda Galbraith and boys’ distance runner Skyler’s sister, placed fourth with a time of 19:28.

RRHS’s Abigal Beam (sixth/19:36) and Lily Hawkins (10th/19:49) gave the Rams a trio of All-State runners; Jordyn Griego (16th/20:12) and Brooke Chisholm (17th/20:12) completed the team’s winning score of 48. Caitlynn Parsons (25th/20:33) and Brianna Robson (41st/21:15) also ran for the Rams.

Paving the way for Cleveland’s green trophy were All-State runner Naomi St. Clair (seventh/19:40), Marisel Yepa (19th/20:17), Sarah Romero (20th/20:19), Kiera Andreasen (21st/20:19) and Noelle Manzanares (28th/20:44). Meg Mauermann (39th/21:12) and Erin Winters (44th/21:18) also were on the course for the Storm.