RIO RANCHO — There was a definite hometown feel to the Rio Rancho Jamboree on Saturday morning.
Rio Rancho High senior Dawson Gunn and Cleveland junior Leah Futey were the individual winners in the Championship Division of the Jamboree, one of the biggest and most prestigious cross country meets of the season.
Los Alamos swept the team titles.
BOYS: Here’s one you probably haven’t heard before — the band ABBA, or at least a part of one of their song titles, had a hand in Gunn’s victory on his home course.
Gunn was trailing Los Alamos’ Keith Bridge by 3-4 seconds when he came upon Rams coach Sal Gonzales in the final mile of the race.
“I saw him and he yelled at me a phrase that he loves to use, and I love, too: ‘Take a chance,’ like the ABBA song,” Gunn said. “It was hilarious.”
Said Gonzales: “Last (season) in track when he won the 1,600 and he got second in the 3,200, he said that when I told him to take a chance, it changes his mindset. Today, I just sang a little.”
The lyric brought some renewed vigor to Gunn’s step, and he overtook Bridge and won comfortably as he arrived into the Rio Rancho High football stadium, where the finish line was located.
Dunn finished in 16 minutes, 22.15 seconds. Bridge’s time was 16:32.81 on the 3.107-mile (roughly 5 kilometers) course.
Bridge led the first half of the race, including through the stretch that included the course’s most difficult hill.
And once Gunn claimed the lead, he looked to create a gap.
“I didn’t want to leave it to the kick,” Gunn said. “I’m not super-confident in my kick, so I figured I’d better put as much (distance between him and me) as I can.”
Gunn has been in the hunt several times this season, with third-place finishes at the season-opening meet at Cleveland and again last week at the APS Invitational hosted by Highland.
Sandia’s Steven West, who won last week’s APS Invite, and Matadors teammate Isaac Tucker Scott, finished third and fourth, respectively, with Morgan Schaller of Los Alamos fifth.
The Hilltoppes rolled to the team title, scoring 51 points with three runners in the top 12. Rio Rancho (93) and Volcano Vista (116) were next in the team standings.
GIRLS: Futey continued her excellent season, and Saturday marked her third victory. Her time was 19:04.61. Freshman Dani Figueroa of Albuquerque High was second in a time of 19:10.06.
“I was just trying to set a decent pace so I wouldn’t wear myself out too much,” Futey said after her third victory in the first half of the season, after wins at Cleveland and Highland. “I always feel like the first mile goes by pretty fast, I don’t know why.”
Volcano Vista freshman Carysa Marquez trailed Futey closely through the first half of the race, but it was another ninth-grader, Figueroa, who emerged as the strongest challenger over the second half.
Delaney Ulrich of Los Alamos led the Hilltoppers in third place, with Marquez fourth and Aisha Ramone of Kirtland Central fifth.
All of Los Alamos’ top five finished in the top 20, and the Hilltoppers won easily with 58 points. Rival Albuquerque Academy (105) was second, Rio Rancho (129) third.
Next on Futey’s schedule is the Chile Pepper Festival in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It is a college race that has a high school division.
“I’m excited to race against some stronger competition from other states,” Futey said. Her brother Luke, who competes at Colorado State-Pueblo, also is scheduled to run there.
VARSITY DIVISION: The second-tier varsity race was won by Tristan Pierce of Maxwell and Sophie Bair of Santa Fe Prep.
Pierce’s winning time was 18:11.93, seven seconds in front of Joshua Abeyta of Santa Fe Prep.
Bair had a 15-second victory over Sandia Prep’s Sidney Harenberg, finishing in 21:09.89.
Santa Fe Prep’s boys (56) beat runner-up Robertson by 31 points, with Bosque School (90) in third place. The girls from Pecos won with 98 points. Oak Grove Classical Academy from Albuquerque was runner-up (139), and Santa Fe Prep placed third.
Rio Rancho Jamboree
Saturday — Rio Rancho HS
Team: Los Alamos 51, Rio Rancho 93, Volcano Vista 116, Eldorado 154, Albuquerque Academy 159, Cleveland 163, Sandia 189, Shiprock 258, Tohatchi 260, Cottonwood Classical Prep 275, Albuquerque High 309, Miyamura 312, Hobbs 350, Atrisco Heritage Academy 368, Kirtland Central 386, Farmington 396, La Cueva 445, Del Norte 458, Gallup 480, Manzano 505, Santa Fe Indian 512, Rio Grande 588.
Individual: 1, Dawson Gunn, Rio Rancho, 16:22.15; 2, Keith Bridge, Los Alamos, 16:32.81; 3, Steven West, Sandia, 16:39.35; 4, Isaac Tucker Scott, Sandia, 16:46.91; 5, Morgan Schaller, Los Alamos, 16:49.01; 6, Joaquin Deprez, Albuquerque Academy, 17:00.12; 7, Bahozhoni Church, Albuquerque High, 17:02.88; 8, Naseem Dhaouadi, Eldorado, 17:04.41; 9, Cody Toya, Cleveland, 17:12.81; 10, Melvin Scott, Tohartchi, 17:14.76.
Team: Los Alamos 58, Albuquerque Academy 105, Rio Rancho 129, Albuquerque High 146, Volcano Vista 146, Cleveland 175, Cottonwood Classical Prep 192, Eldorado 201, La Cueva 239, St. Pius 252, Shiprock 338, Santa Fe Indian 340, Hobbs 354, Miyamura 365, Farmington 381, Kirtland Central 384, Gallup 401, Sandia 434.
Individual: 1, Leah Futey, Cleveland, 19:04.61; 2, Dani Figueroa, Albuquerque High, 19:10.06; 3, Delaney Ulrich, Los Alamos, 19:19.52; 4, Carysa Marquez, Volcano Vista, 19:20.79; 5, Aisha Ramone, Kirtland Central, 19:30.88; 6, Ariel Theil-Hadjilambrinos, La Cueva, 19:31.91; 7, Emma Patton, Albuquerque Academy, 19:57.74; 8, Ava Stratton, Albuquerque High, 20:02.20; 9, Kelly Wetteland, Los Alamos, 20:18.41; 10, Norissa Valdez, Los Alamos, 20:21.17.
Team: Pecos 98, Oak Grove Classical Academy 139, Santa Fe Prep 156, Pojoaque Valley 157, Ruidoso 178, Crownpoint 181, Sandia Prep 187, St. Pius 198, Moriarty 208, Bloomfield 253, Highland 256, Maxwell 262, Quemado 273, Cimarron 323, Robertson 338, McCurdy 386, Santa Fe Indian 412, Bernalillo 438, Valley 468, Coronado 475.
Individual: 1, Tristan Pierce, Maxwell, 18:11.93; 2, Joshua Abeyta, Santa Fe Prep, 18:18.68; 3, Nahom Zerai, Sandia Prep, 18:31.44; 4, Daniel Sanchez, Española Valley, 18:32.46; 5, Joey Gurule, Academy for Technology and the Classics, 18:37.54; 6, Noah Bugayong, Quemado, 18:38.03; 7, Jaden Avalos, Ruidoso, 18:40.07; 8, Antonio Garcia, Pecos, 18:40.52; 9, Elijah Lujan, Pecos, 18:43.51; 10, Herman Archibeque, Moriarty, 18:46.21,
Team: Santa Fe Prep 56, Robertson 87, Bosque School 90, Pojoaque Valley 95, Academy for Technology and the Classics 108, Grants 108, Crownpoint 169, McCurdy 174, Laguna-Acomna 192.
Individual: 1, Sophie Bair, Santa Fe Prep, 21:09.89; 2, Sidney Harenberg, Sandia Prep, 21:24.55; 3, Aelea Thomas, Highland,
21:47.98; 4, Nya Griego, Santa Fe Prep, 21:49.54; 5, Josette Gurule, Academy for Technology and the Classics, 21:57.44; 6, Kate Henderson, Bosque School, 21:59.18; 7, Taylor Quintana, Robertson, 22:14.79; 8, Erica Martin, Laguna-Acoma, 22:27.50; 9, Chenoa Toledo, Bloomfield, 22:36.08; 10, Helen Desmond, Santa Fe Prep, 22:48.96.