Home course advantage or not, the Albuquerque Academy boys cross country team is blistering their way through this 2019 season.
The Chargers on Friday dominated their home invitational, beating a strong field of two dozen schools on an unusually hot late September afternoon.
Academy’s 34 points included four top-10 individuals on their approximately 3.05-mile course. The Chargers finished 31 points ahead of its rival and occasional nemesis, Los Alamos. Cleveland (85) was in third place.
Academy (58), Los Alamos (67) and Eldorado (76) went 1-2-3 in the girls standings.
Hope Christian junior Eric Scharton cemented his position as one of the state’s premier runners with a strong winning effort Friday.
Scharton had the only time under 16 minutes, finishing in 15 minutes, 53.91 seconds. Julian Garcia of Academy was seven seconds behind, with the Chargers’ Justin Hickey third.
“My goal from the beginning was to get with Justin Hickey and kick at the end if I was with him,” said Scharton after his second victory this season and possibly the best regular-season win of his career with the Huskies. “I was with Justin until two miles, then I kind of went off.”
Oliver Pilon (sixth) and Jesse Sanchez (10th) also had strong meets for nationally-ranked Academy.
Meanwhile, La Cueva junior Stevie Salas did not run Friday. He was at the race, and said he was nursing a bit of a hamstring injury that has kept him out of the last couple of weeks. He said he expects to be back for the upcoming Albuquerque Metro Championships.
Eldorado senior Jasmine Turtle-Morales followed Scharton by capturing first place in the girls’ race.
Last year’s Class 5A state champion finished in 18 minutes, 42.12 seconds. Cleveland’s Leah Futey was the runner-up, 10 seconds behind, with Sophie Chadwick of Los Alamos third.
Turtle-Morales collapsed to the dirt just as she crossed the finish line.
“I fell, because I was so tired,” she said after catching her breath. “I think I just pushed myself really hard. It was really hot.”
Turtle-Morales used the same blueprint that has brought her so many victories the last couple of seasons: she went out and set the pace.
“When Leah was right there, I was like, ‘Oh, is she going to push me?'” Turtle-Morales said. “I know she likes to go out the first two miles really fast, (so) I just made my move on the downhills and just kept going.”
Albuquerque Academy Invitational
Friday — 3.05-mile course
Team: Albuquerque Academy 34, Los Alamos 65, Cleveland 81, Hope Christian 118, Volcano Vista 129, Sandia 178, Eldorado 204, La Cueva 234, Miyamura 262, Laguna-Acoma 310, Shiprock 317, St. Pius 332, Atrisco Heritage 343, Albuquerque High 346, Moriarty 386, Del Norte 402, Grants 459, Sandia Prep 513, Rio Grande 532, Manzano 539, Cibola 606.
Individual: 1, Eric Scharton, Hope Christian, 15:53.91; 2, Julian Garcia, Albuquerque Academy, 16:00.78; 3, Justin Hickey, Albuquerque Academy, 16:06.28; 4, Rafael Sanchez, Los Alamos, 16:10.09; 5, Rendon Kuykendall, Hope Christian, 16:12.22; 6, Oliver Pilon, Albuquerque Academy, 16:18.00; 7, Steven Strevell, Los Alamos, 16:21.66; 8, Jonathan Fragua, Cleveland, 16:22.22; 9, Lucas Futey, Cleveland, 16:29.22; 10, Jesse Sanchez, Albuquerque Academy, 16:33.00.
Team: Albuquerque Academy 58, Los Alamos 67, Eldorado 76, Cleveland 145, Volcano Vista 179, Albuquerque High 185, Hope Christian 192, La Cueva 201, Sandia 252, Shiprock 258, Miyamura 272, St. Pius 310, Manzano 333, Grants 344, Cibola 359, Del Norte 441,
Individual: 1, Jasmine Turtle-Morales, Eldorado, 18:42.12; 2, Leah Futey, Cleveland, 18:52.09; 3, Sophie Chadwick, Los Alamos, 19:05.34; 4, Lidia Appell, Los Alamos, 19:13.15; 5, Emily Schoellkopf, Albuquerque High, 19:14.69; 6, Norissa Valdez, Los Alamos, 19:15.31; 7, Isabella Schrader, Volcano Vista, 19:22.25; 8, Katie Patton, Albuquerque Academy, 19:24.31; 9, Grace Archibeck, Albuquerque Academy, 19:25.62; 10, Jessica Allen, Albuquerque Academy, 19:31.50.