The first district champion of the 2023-24 school year is the Cleveland High varsity girls’ soccer team, which won the title last year and finished as state runner-up. Goalkeeper Madison Johnson, who has two presidential surnames, holds the hardware. (Herron photo)


There will be more, you better believe.

On the evening of Oct. 25, the Cleveland High School girls’ soccer team won the first district championship trophy for a city team, as the Storm (19-1, 8-0 in 1-5A) posted its ninth shutout of the season, 1-0, over visiting Volcano Vista (12-6, 5-2).

Angelina Montoya’s tally in the fifth minute was the winner for the Storm, who repeated as 1-5A champs.

No team enters the state tournament hotter than the Storm, who have won 37 of their last 41 games.

Friday night, the CHS football team claimed another district championship, routing host Rio Rancho, 37-0.

There could be two more 1-5A trophies coming from the district cross country meet, taking place Friday, Nov. 3, at Atrisco Heritage Academy. A volleyball champ will be known in the coming weeks.


As a reward for their 1-5A title, the CHS girls’ soccer team earned a first-round bye for the state tournament, which gena Oct. 31 at the sites of higher seeds.

Here are the four first-round games, with those games’ winners moving into Nov. 3 or 4:No. 12 Clovis (13-5-1) at No. 5 Santa Fe (17-2-1), No. 11 Hobbs (12-6-2) at No. 6 Volcano Vista (13-6), No. 10 Los Lunas (14-5) at No. 7 Albuquerque High (14-5-1) and No. 9 Mayfield (15-4) at No. 8 Sandia (13-6-1).

Joining Cleveland with first-round byes are No. 2 La Cueva (17-2-1), which meets the Los Lunas-Albuquerque High winner in the quarterfinals; No. 3 Las Cruces (20-0), which meets the Hobbs-Volcano winner; and No. 4 Eldorado (15-4), awaiting the Santa Fe-Clovis winner.

Cleveland will face the Sandia-Mayfield winner.

The Storm hope to be in their third championship game On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, at the UNM soccer stadium. The Storm lost the 2017 title tilt to La Cueva at the Santa Ana soccer complex and fell to Eldorado after a shootout last November at Lightning Bolt Stadium.

Although they won their regular-season finale, 4-0, on Senior Day Oct. 28 vs. Atrisco Heritage Academy, the RRHS girls (5-14-1) finished in fourth place in 1-5A and, as expected, were left out of the 12-team postseason bracket.


One City of Vision team stays home and one hits the road Tuesday in first-round contests, as neither Cleveland – last year’s 5A champ – nor Rio Rancho earned a top-four seed and a first-round bye.

On Tuesday, No. 9 Rio Rancho (10-7-2) heads south to meet No. 8 Gadsden (13-7) while No. 7 Cleveland (10-7-3) is on the Lightning Bolt Stadium turf at 4 p.m. to host No. 10 Albuquerque High (12-5-1).

The Rams and Panthers have met but twice: Gadsden won a 2012 meeting at RRHS, 4-1; Gadsden won the next year in Anthony, 2-1 in double-overtime.

Last season, the Storm knocked the Bulldogs out of the state tournament after a 1-0 victory at Bulldog City. The Bulldogs edged the Storm 4-3 this season in an APS Metro tournament contest in late August.

Other first-round games on Oct. 31 are No. 12 Mayfield (12-7-1) at No. 6 Volcano Vista (14-5-1) and No. 11 Rio Grande (13-5-2) at No. 6 Organ Mountain (14-4-1).

In the Nov. 3 or 4 quarterfinals, the Gadsden-Rams winner visits No. 1 Hobbs (20-0); the Storm-Bulldogs’ winner heads to the APS soccer complex to face No. 2 La Cueva (18-2); the Organ Mountain-Rio Grande visitor is also at the APS soccer complex to meet 1-5A champ and 3 seed Atrisco Heritage Academy (15-4); and the Volcano Vista-Mayfield winner is in Las Cruces to tackle No. 4 Centennial (15-3-2).


In addition to the Storm girls’ shutout of Volcano Vista last week, the Cleveland boys lost their regular-season finale, 3-2, at Volcano Vista in overtime.

Rio Rancho’s soccer teams played twice last week: The Rams boys whipped Cibola 6-0, then lost to Atrisco Heritage Academy, as senior Douglas Cutshall scored twice vs. the visiting Cougars and notched his team’s lone goal at AHA. The Rams girls lost at Cibola before that Senior Day victory Oct. 28.