CLEVELAND vs RIO RANCHO: A decade of competiton

Rio Rancho’s David Patterson, right, looks for a teammate to pass to, covered by, from left, Tre Watson, Aamer Muhammad and Josh Tarry. These games are always fun to watch – and harder to predict the outcomes, although the Storm swept the Rams in 2018-19.
(Gary Herron/Rio Rancho Observer)

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Now that the 2018-19 school year is over, Cleveland High School has been “in business” for a full decade.

Does it seem like 10 years to you?

Remember how Rio Rancho High School fans basically cried when some of the top Rams student-athletes — among them Caitlin Espinosa, PJ Horgan, Blake Swihart and Kyle Quintana were being taken away and “forced” to become Storm student-athletes?

OK, that’s all in the past. Student-athletes living north of Northern Boulevard head to Cleveland High School, and student-athletes living south of Northern head to Rio Rancho High School. There are exceptions, of course, including children of teachers being permitted to attend the high school where their parent teache.

Given those rough early years, how have the city’s two high schools fared head to head? The Observer decided to take a look — and figure out who has bragging rights after 10 years, Rams or Storm.

FOOTBALL: The teams have met 11 times (10 district meetings, plus a postseason contest in 2011). The Storm have won seven games, the Rams four. The Storm have six district championships, while the Rams have the other four in the decade. Each school has two state championships in the sport: The Rams in 2014 and ’16, the Storm in 2011 and ’15.

VOLLEYBALL: The Storm won the first nine meetings, but the Rams have won the last four. All-time, the Storm have won 24 of 32 on-court matches with the Rams. The Storm have three district titles, while the Rams have two. The Storm have been to the championship match but won only once (2012); the Rams have been there twice, winning in 2009.

WRESTLING: In their 10 head-to-head matches, all district contests, the Storm have won seven times — all consecutively, 2012-18. The Rams have won six championships (2010, ’11, ’14, ’15, ’18 and ’19), while the Storm have nabbed the blue trophy four times (2012, ’13 – a tie with Rio Grande, ’16 and ’17).

BOYS SOCCER: Storm boys, who won their first state title last fall, have won three district championships, while the Rams have two. Head-to-head, the Rams have the edge, 14-7-3, although Cleveland has won the last three times they’ve met on the pitch.

GIRLS SOCCER: Neither team has won state since Cleveland opened, although the Storm were in the 2017 championship game. CHS has a 13-11-2 edge over the Rams; the Storm have won the last four get-togethers.

BOYS BASKETBALL: Although the Rams have won state (2017), the Storm have been in the final four in each of the last five seasons and six times overall. Twice the Storm have been in the championship game but have lost to Hobbs and Atrisco Heritage Academy. In head-to-head meetings, Cleveland has the advantage, 21-13, with wins in their last six meetings.

GIRLS BASKETBALL: This is one of the closest series: neither team has gotten beyond the state semifinals, which the Rams did in March 2018, with the Storm winning 15 of 28 meetings with the Rams. Cleveland won the first nine times they squared off.

SOFTBALL: The Rams won the first five times they met, and won state titles in 2003, ’14, ’15 and ’19. Against the Storm, the Rams are 16-12.

BASEBALL: The Rams won state in 2013, but in meetings with the Storm, Cleveland holds a 16-14 edge, which includes beating the host Rams for the APS Metro Championship this season. Cleveland lost to La Cueva in its lone championship game appearance, in 2017.

In most of the other team sports, the schools don’t actually meet in a head to head format. So to compare, let’s take a look at state championships:

CROSS COUNTRY BOYS: The Storm have five district titles and four state distance championships (2011, ’12, ’17 and ’18), while the Rams have four district crowns and two state championships (2013 and ’14). Individually, the Storm have the edge: Luis Martinez won the race three times and Yonas Haile has won it twice.

CROSS COUNTRY GIRLS: The Storm have won five district championships and three state titles (2011, ’15 and ’17), while the Rams have three district titles and just one state crown (2016). Individually, Cleveland’s pitching a shutout: Amanda Mayoral has won it three times (2015-17) and Malia Gonzales took it twice (2011 and ’12).

BOWLING: This competition, like wrestling, has been virtually owned by the schools in Rio Rancho: The Rams have won the state bowling title four times (2014, ’16, ’18 and ’19), while the Storm have won in five times (2010, ’11, ’12, ’15 and ’17).

TENNIS: Each school has yet to win any singles, doubles or team championships.

GOLF: The Storm girls have six individual state champions (sisters Dominique and Jacque Galloway won three apiece) and the school has two team titles, in 2016 and this year. The Rams are shut out in both of those categories.

For the boys, Cleveland has three state championships (2014, ’15, ’17), but are without a medalist; the Rams come up empty in both categories.

TRACK& FIELD: No contest: Cleveland has six state championships for its boys teams, four for the girls. The best Rams’ finish was a runner-up spot for the boys in 2015.

GATORADE AWARDS: The Storm have the edge in this, 13-5; even if you take the years RRHS existed before CHS opened, the score is still in favor of the Storm, 13-12. Here are the Storm’s Gatorade honorees, with years won in parentheses: Blake Swihart (2011), Cole Gautsche (2011), Luis Martinez (2011, two in 2012, 2013), Malia Gonzales (2012), Ryan Jones (2015), Gabe Ortega (2015), Amanda Mayoral (2015, 2016, 2017) and Dorian Lewis (2018). For the Rams: Nicole Pendley (2014), BreOnna Castenda (2015), Clay Patterson (2016), Josh Foley (2016) and David Patterson (2019).

Final tally … Storm have the edge?

CLEVELAND: Football, boys and girls cross country, volleyball, bowling, girls soccer, boys basketball, girls basketball, baseball, golf, track & field.

RIO RANCHO: Wrestling, boys soccer, softball.