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Cougar Track Club Turns Up the Heat

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — 4 Members Win National Titles

When the going got tough in Arlington, Texas, the tough got going. And in the case of a few elite athletes from Albuquerque and Rio Rancho, they got going fast.

Facing searing temperatures of 108, plus humidity uncommon to New Mexicans, four members of the Cougar Track Club of Albuquerque captured national championships at the 2012 USA Youth Outdoor Track & Field National Championships held June 26-July 1.

Clare Moots, Jericho Cleveland, Leah Futey and Moriah Cionelo all won titles for Cougar Track Club, coached by Shane Cleveland.


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A fifth local athlete, Rio Rancho Lightning Track Club’s Aphiniti Crupper, dashed to victory in the Midget Girls (11-12) 200-meter competition.

Moots captured first place in the pentathlon (100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump, 800 meters) in the Youth Girls age group.

Jericho Cleveland won the 3,000 meters for Midget Boys (11-12).

Futey captured the 1,500 meters in Sub-bantam Girls (ages 7-8). And Cionelo won the 3,000-meter race-walk for Intermediate Girls (15-16).

Others on both teams who were named All-Americans by virtue of their top-eight performances can be found on page D3. One performance that didn’t win gold but was impressive was the second place 4×400 relay in the Midget (11-12) Girls division by Lightning’s Reagan Scott, Jaelyn McGee, Malakah Crespin and Crupper in 4 minutes, 25 seconds. They obliterated the state record (4:42) for their age division. They did not participate at the state meet at Cleveland, however, because they had missed the registration deadline.

VOLLEYBALL: The Albuquerque Rebels Volleyball Club (ARVC) 15 -year old “Shock” team went 6-4 in match play and finished in 18th place out of 50 teams this week at the national USA Volleyball tournament in Columbus, Ohio.

Shock’s coach, Sangyong Yun, is a former Korean Olympian volleyball player who led basically this same group into national tournament play in the 14-year-old age group last year in Atlanta. It finished third of 96 teams in a 16-under tournament in Phoenix, runner-up at events in El Paso and Amarillo, and won the Picante Tournament in Albuquerque.

Shock team members include Del Norte High’s Rhea Fayne, Albuquerque Academy’s Risa Gutierrez, St. Pius’ Kelsie D’Antonio, Mercedes Pacheco and Julia Landavazo, Sandia’s Amanda Carroll, Megan Sharratt, Alex Gonzales and Miranda Sanchez, and Eldorado’s Rachel Lardner.

The ARVC club is run by Fred and Patricia Ader.

LITTLE LEAGUE: The youth baseball and softball postseason is under way around New Mexico with district tournament play. State tournament play begins on Friday in EspaƱola for the 10-11 and Majors (11-12) divisions and in Los Lunas for the Seniors. Baseball state tournaments in five divisions begin on July 20 around the state, including the Majors age group at Taos’ Carson Complex.

Meanwhile, this year, Albuquerque’s Cibola High will be the site of the Southwestern Regional in Juniors baseball on Aug. 3-7. State champions from New Mexico, Colorado, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi and two teams from Texas will play. Possibly a host team from District 8 will be in the field also. The winner advances to the Junior World Series in Taylor, Mich.
— This article appeared on page D7 of the Albuquerque Journal