Saturday’s Albuquerque Metro Cross Country Championships looked almost identical to the first meet of the season.
The overall results Saturday nearly duplicated those seen at the Cleveland Invitational in late August, with the Storm’s Leah Futey and Albuquerque Academy’s Justin Hickey running to individual titles and the Academy boys racing to win the team trophy.
The only difference between Saturday’s race at Nusenda Commnity Stadium and the Cleveland meet was the Academy girls turning the tables on Eldorado, winning the Metro crown by 62-69 over the Eagles.
Both individual races were in doubt as the lead runners entered the track and field stadium for the final 300 meters.
Hickey had a short lead on La Cueva’s Stevie Salas, and Salas made a late push to overtake Hickey as they made the final turn on the track, where the race finished.
“I kind of thought I dropped him, but I took a glance behind me, and he was right there,” Hickey said. “I could hear his footsteps.”
Hickey found a late gear over the final 50 meters of the 2.85-mile course. He finished in 15 minutes, 19.97 seconds. Salas crossed in 15:22.01. Lucas Loe of Cleveland didn’t hit the line until almost 20 seconds later.
Meanwhile, Academy runners finished first, fourth, seventh, ninth and 11th and scored 32 points. Cleveland (56) and Sandia (100) were next.
“We’ve been together for a long time, and we’re all like brothers, family,” Hickey said. “That team dynamic is very, very important.”
That sentiment was echoed by Academy coach Adam Kedge.
“I think over the last 12 to 18 months, they’ve really bonded,” Kedge said. “As far as the work they do, its no longer mandated. It’s led from within, everyone taking ownership. They’re all accountable to one another. Seven guys who love one another.”
Julian Garcia was fourth overall for Academy.
“It’s fraternal between us,” he said. “I can’t explain it any better than that.”
• Futey, a freshman, and Eldorado senior Jasmine Turtle-Morales were 1-2 as
they entered the stadium, both having led the race at various points in the hilly terrain around the track facility on a perfect day to run.
Futey passed Turtle-Morales on the last, long hill, then fended her off the rest of the way. Futey’s winning time was 17:55.83, five seconds ahead of Turtle-Morales.
“I kept trying to open the gap a little but, and then she caught me,” Futey said. They were shoulder to shoulder, but Futey nudged ahead moments later.
“I was definitely tired,” she said. “I was just trying to finish strong.”
Emily Schoellkopf of Albuquerque High, Isabella Schrader of Volcano Vista and Brynn Esplin of La Cueva rounded out the top five.
Futey’s finish helped the Storm to a third-place team finish.
The huge Rio Rancho Jamboree is next week.
Albuq. Metro Championships
Saturday — Nusenda Community Stadium
Team: Albuquerque Academy 32, Cleveland 56, Sandia 100, Volcano Vista 129, Rio Rancho 133, La Cueva 141, Eldorado 181, St. Pius 200, Del Norte 238, Atrisco Heritage 243, Albuquerque High 268, Manzano 325, Rio Grande 375.
Individual: 1, Justin Hickey, Albuquerque Academy, 15:19.97; 2, Stevie Salas, La Cueva, 15:22.01; 3, Lucas Loe, Cleveland, 15:41.88; 4, Julian Garcia, Albuquerque Academy, 15:48.27; 5, Nicholas Ortiz, Volcano Vista, 16:02.85; 6, Cody Hepker, Sandia, 16:07.05; 7, Oliver Pilon, Albuquerque Academy, 16:08.99; 8, Lucas Futey, Cleveland, 16:09.43; 9, Brian Armijo, Albuquerque Academy, 16:13.99; 10, Dawson Gunn, Rio Rancho, 16:18.11.
Team: Albuquerque Academy 62, Eldorado 69, Cleveland 85, Volcano Vista 121, La Cueva 132, Rio Rancho 145, Albuquerque High 149, Sandia 170, Cibola 235, St. Pius 242, Manzano 294.
Individual: 1, Leah Futey, Cleveland, 17:55.83; 2, Jasmine Turtle-Morales, Eldorado, 18:00.92; 3, Emily Schoellkopf, Albuquerque High, 18:42.90; 4, Isabella Schrader, Volcano Vista, 18:46.68; 5, Brynn Esplin, La Cueva, 19:00.91; 6, Katie Patton, Albuquerque Academy, 19:01.04; 7, Laurynn Sisneros, Eldorado, 19:09.47; 8, Faith Lovato, Rio Rancho, 19:11.79; 9, Ava Stratton, Albuquerque High, 19:16.16; 10, Lila Nezar, Volcano Vista, 19:21.36.