The high school state cross country championships are Saturday at Rio Rancho High School.
Blue trophies will be handed out in 10 divisions. The first race, the Class 6A girls, begins at 9:30 a.m. The final race is the 5A boys, who are scheduled to begin at 2:05 p.m.
GIRLS: That first run of the day will be the career finale for Cleveland senior Amanda Mayoral. The two-time defending Class 6A state champion told the Journal on Wednesday night that she had given a commitment to compete at Oklahoma State.
She hasn’t lost a cross country race since the end of her freshman season. And she is the second prominent Storm runner to commit to OSU, following Luis Martinez, who as a Cowboy senior recently finished second at the Big 12 Championships.
“I’m ready to go out and have fun one last time on that course,” Mayoral said. “I’m pumped, and I’m ready.”
Mayoral said she knows Oklahoma State is the right fit for her.
“I love the team, and the atmosphere, and I had a good connection with the girls and the coaches right off the bat,” Mayoral said.
Jasmine Turtle-Morales of Eldorado and Isabella Schrader of Volcano Vista are expected to be among the top challengers to Mayoral. On the team side, Eldorado and Rio Rancho have probably been the top two squads during the season. The Rams were the 2016 champs.
Other defending team champions are Albuquerque Academy (5A), Taos (4A), Zuni (3A) and Peñasco (1A-2A). The Chargers look very potent, led by defending individual champion Carly Wall, plus Celeste Martinez, Jane Archibeck and Zoe Hunter. But individually on Saturday, everyone is probably chasing St. Pius’ Jacque Piñon.
The 1A-2A girls begin at 10 a.m., followed by 3A at 10:35, 4A at 11:05 by 4A and 5A at 11:35.
BOYS: Volcano Vista’s Jericho Cleveland looks to cap an outstanding season in the 6A state meet. The two major races he didn’t win (UNM and the Rio Rancho Jamboree), he finished second to Kirtland Central’s Kashon Harrison, who competes in 5A and is the overwhelming favorite there. Harrison has won every race he’s run this fall.
In 6A, other top metro-area individual challengers to Cleveland include Yonas Haile and David Apodaca of Cleveland, plus Ivan Pineda-Dominguez of Volcano Vista. Cleveland and Volcano Vista also are among the top team contenders. Hobbs is the defending state champion.
The 6A boys race is 12:05 p.m.
Academy’s boys, along with Navajo Prep (4A), Pecos (3A) and Mesa Vista (1A-2A) were last year’s state champion teams. The Chargers will likely be in the Class 5A mix with Kirtland Central and Los Alamos.
Other boys race start times Saturday are 12:35 p.m. (1A-2A), 1:05 (3A) and 1:35 (4A).
The awards presentations take place after the 5A boys.