Whoever this coach was, Gianna Rahmer probably needs to extend to him a tardy thank you.
During the middle portion of Saturday morning’s University of New Mexico Cross Country Invitational at the UNM North Golf Course, Rahmer, Eldorado’s eighth-grade phenom who attends Hoover Middle School, heard a coach from UNM shouting at her.
“Well,” she said, “I heard a UNM coach starting to yell at me. He was like, ‘Gianna, what are you doing? You gotta drop the hammer!’’ Rahmer said with a laugh. “So I started going faster.”
Rahmer won her second meet in as many starts on a beautiful Saturday morning, winning the UNM meet — which features a strong field — by 40 seconds over Chloe Grieco of St. Michael’s.
Rahmer had a long run down the stretch to soak in the applause, as she finished in 17 minutes, 46 seconds. Grieco’s time was 18:26. And it was another 14 seconds before Sandia Prep’s Kate Henderson was done.
Can, in fact, a cross-country runner drop the hammer, Rahmer was asked.
“I usually do it closer to the end, but that was fun, too,” Rahmer said. She won the season-opening meet at Cleveland High two weeks ago. “I felt really good from the start, and it’s definitely a really fast course.”
It was the Albuquerque Academy girls, with 58 points, who won the team title. Volcano Vista (96) and La Cueva (112) rounded out the top three.
The boys race played out similarly to Cleveland’s event as well.
Like Rahmer, Rio Rancho junior Charlie Vause made it 2-for-2 this season, and he was both disappointed and confused.
By the time he hit the finish line, he had posted a time of 15:50.
That’s what he thought, anyway, based on the race’s pace.
In truth, Vause finished in 15:22.59, with Rams teammate Cody Sullivan (15:37.39) running second.
“I’m not mad about 15:23,” Vause said, smiling.
Rio Rancho, meanwhile, continues to announce itself as New Mexico’s best team. So far, anyway.
For the second consecutive meet, the Rams scored under 30 points. Rio Rancho dominated with a paltry 24 points, nearly 60 in front of second-place La Cueva (83). Academy (86) was third.
Eldorado’s Nick Moore was third. For Rio Rancho, Mateo Herrera placed fifth, Collyn Tomoyose seventh and Skyler Galbraith ninth.
“We have a lot of talent, and these guys work for it,” Rams coach Phil Keller said. “And when (those two things) come together, as a coach it’s like a dream.”
He added: “In practice, they’re always together. They’re thick as thieves. They push each other, they’re each other’s best friends. They don’t care who’s our first guy or who’s our last guy, they just want to run well.”