Cleveland, Rio Rancho track & field teams looking good, with plenty of state qualifiers already

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Rain or shine, “spring” track & field meets always go on.

And that was basically the theme last weekend: On Friday afternoon, the annual Storm Relays at Cleveland High School saw student-athletes keeping their warm-ups on till almost until the gun was heard, as the wind was whipping around, temperatures were in the mid-40s and there was occasional drizzle.

The next day began the same way, but shortly after the Rio Rancho Invitational began, the sun appeared from behind the clouds and the day became a nice warm one, even to the extent of some student-athletes seeking shade.

Despite the non-spring conditions, both Storm teams won their portions of the 11-team meets. The Rams boys won their 12-team meet, but the RRHS girls had to settle for third.

Cleveland girls

The Storm won five events — keep in mind, relays are used for every event — led by Kaylee Caldwell: shot put relay (Stephanie Vargovich, Sydney Anderson, DiAndra Romero); triple jump (Caldwell, Isabell Castaneda, Brielle Smith); 3×3,200 (Shelby Visure, Xochitl Ramos, Ailana Toya); 100-meter shuttle relay (Hanna Kiess, Abigail Goodmacher, Caldwell, Marissa Martinez) and 300-meter hurdle relay (Kiess, Goodmacher, Caldwell).

“It was a very exciting meet for us,” said first-year head coach Carla Chavez. “We were able to come in first with some very tough competition. This meet is unique in that the girls really have to come together in many events and perform as a unified relay.”

Cleveland boys

Chris Thomas led the way, winning the “individual” event, the 100-meter “elite” dash; he has the second-fastest times this season in the 100 and 200.

The Storm’s “relay teams” won nine events: 3×3,200 (Yonas Haile, Ricky Rangel, Jesus Martinez);

4×400 relay (Tyler Bouton, Nasir Hunter-Muhammad, Anthony Bisetti, Luke Wysong); shuttle hurdle relay (Tommy Lopez, Hunter Sommer, Dakota Gonzales, Johnny Lopez); shot put relay (Andre Romero, Travis Lorenz, Estevan Pargas); 4×100 (Thomas, Hunter-Muhammad, Wysong, Tyler Bouton); 4×200 (Thomas, Hunter-Muhammad, Bouton, Anthony Bisetti); 300-meter hurdle relay (Lopez, Sommer, Gonzales); high jump (Aamer Muhammad, Tre Ortega, Dominic Vasquez) and long jump (Muhammad, Wysong, Koen Biggs).

“I am super happy to have these guys win our own Storm Relays,” coach Kenny Henry said. “The Storm Relays are truly fun because everything is set up as a relay … What makes it so fun is it emphasizes the team. You might have a stud in a single event, but in order to score for the team, the whole relay has to perform.

“We were able to win a lot of events, and against teams like La Cueva and Academy, who are two of the state’s best teams. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t the best and it affected some of our marks, but getting the win as a team is always our first priority.”

Cleveland High’s Estevan Pargas heaves the shot at the Storm Relays on April 12.

The Rams, in third place with 69 points, behind Los Alamos (82) and Sandia (70), won only two events Saturday, and Anwi Fomukong was involved in both: the winning 4×200 relay squad (Kylie Burgess, Fomukong, Shelby Franklin, Brianna Martinez/1:48.09) and the triple jump, where she covered a 37 feet, six inches.

Finishing second for the Rams were Reina Paredes (1, 600/5:29.71) and Kyndall Altamirano (discus/97-10).

The Rams snagged three third-place finishes: Hannah Dietz (shot out/30-5.5), Isabella Chinemto-Unis (discus/92-7) and the 4×100 relay team (Kelsie Hawkins, Franklin, Fomukong, Burgess/51.04).

Rio Rancho boys

The Rams, with a meet-high 105 points (Los Alamos and Carlsbad, with scores of 79 and 61.5, were second and third) logged state qualifiers in eight individuals, plus a relay team (denoted with a Q).

Noah Fay, last year’s state champion in the 110- and 300-hurdles, won those events again in state-qualifying times of 15.19 and 39.59; he also ran the first leg in the Rams’ winning — and state-qualifying 4×400 relay team (3:28.68) with Jordan Spencer, Nathan Hernandez and Keilin Jones.

Timothee Sarrazy hurled the javelin a qualifying distance of 164 feet, which won his event; basketball teammates Owen Olney and David Patterson finished 1-2 in the high jump with a state-qualifying leap of 6-2.

The Rams had eight runner-up finishes: Irvin Onyia (200/22.98); Preston Gunn (800/2:01.29); Daniel Beam (1,600/state-qualifying time of 4:29.67); Spencer (state-qualifying times of 15.4 in the 110-hurdles and 40.02 in the 300-hurdles); and two relay teams, the 4×200 (Jared Montgomery, William Dodson, Camden Ek, Hernandez/1:32.01) and the medley (Montgomery, Dodson, Ek, Jones/3:40.08).

Spencer also logged a third-place finish in the triple jump (40-5.5).

Who’s running where and when?

Last week, the Rams boys were at the FM Wilson Invite on Friday and the girls were at the Wildcat Relays in Clovis on Thursday.

Both will be at the annual Richard Harper Memorial at Albuquerque Academy this coming Friday and Saturday.

Last week, the Storm boys were at the Sundevil Invite on Wednesday. The CHS girls were at the Clovis Relays on Thursday.

Both will be at the annual Richard Harper Memorial at Albuquerque Academy this coming Friday and Saturday.

The annual Marilyn Sepulveda Meet of Champions, which includes the top track & field performers regardless of class, by invitation, is Monday at the UNM track& field complex in Albuquerque.