From left, RRHS distance runners Charlie Vause, Cody Sullivan and Mateo Herrera run across the mesa; they finished that same way, 1-2-3. (Herron photo)
The PA announcer at the Sept. 23 Rio Rancho Jamboree alluded to the 2013 cross country season as “magical” for Rio Rancho High School boys’ distance team, when it won the state title – and did so again in 2014.
This season could prove to be even more magical for the Rams, who just keep winning and had the top three runners at the prestigious 80-team Jamboree, which featured 157 boys in the Championship bracket. No team had ever placed its runners 1-2-3 in the event’s history, said RRHS Athletic Director Sal Gonzales.
Rams newcomer Charlie Vause won for the third time in as many meets, with teammate Cody Sullivan and Mateo Herrera behind him. Vause’s time was15:48; Sullivan (16:08) was 20 seconds behind him, after passing Herrera (16:11).
Rounding out the Rams’ scorers were Collyn Tomoyose (ninth/16:53) and Benjamin Miera (16th/17:04).
The Rams as a team had 31 points; second-place Volcano Vista, also second to the Rams at state last fall, had a team score of 95.
Cleveland High School (118) was third.
“I’m so proud of my whole team — athletes, parents and volunteers,” coach Phil Keller said. “It takes an army to make the Jamboree happen and we crushed it.
“Of course, the boys ran great. Going 1-2-3 is a huge accomplishment,” he said. “We set the record for the best 1-5 runner average time of 16:25 (beating the 2016 Hobbs team). Charlie ran the 6th fastest time on the Jamboree course and Cody (23rd) and Mateo (26th) ran top-30 times ever (and remember this was the state course for 13 years).”
The Storm’s point-scorers were Vince Madalena (seventh/16:47), Antwon Shendo (15th/17:03), Jonathan Sanchez (30th/17:31), Lucas Espinosa (32nd/17:32) and Nuhkon Shendo-Smith (34th/17:34).
But, wait. What about the runner-up girls?
Sandia Prep won the team title, ahead of the Rams and third-place Volcano Vista.
The Rams’ scorers were Abigail Beam (16th/20:47), Mariah Galbraith (17th/20:48), Lily Hawkins (22nd/21:01),Brooke Chisholm (31st/21:27) and Jordyn Griego (36th/21:36).
“Everyone talks about our boys’ team because they are so dominant,” Keller said, “but our girls’ team is quietly shaping up as the top 5A team. They don’t have the front runners, but they have the depth and the heart. They put five runners ahead of Volcano Vista’s and La Cueva’s fourth runner. I’m so proud of our girls’ team. They came on top of the 5A schools today (Class 3A Sandia Prep took the girls’ team title) but it is going to be a battle down the stretch for that 5A title.”
Cleveland’s girls’ team wasn’t among the top-five. Running for the Storm and contributing to their point total were K.C. Winters (12th/20:30), Sarah Romero (33rd/21:33), Noelle Manzanares (42nd/21:55), Erin Winters (51st/22:11) and Marisel Yepa (53rd/22:20).
Eldorado eighth grader Gianna Rahmer, like Vause going 3 for 3 in wins, won the girls’ race in 18:38 – 48 seconds head of the runner-up.
The Rams’ distance teams head down I-25 this weekend to compete in the Rob Winter Classic at organ Mountain High School in Las Cruces. Cleveland’s teams are idle this weekend.
The big APS Metro championships are set for Oct. 7 at Community Stadium.