Track and field: Cleveland boys repeat; Alamo wins girls, Los Alamos sweeps 4A - Albuquerque Journal

Track and field: Cleveland boys repeat; Alamo wins girls, Los Alamos sweeps 4A

The Cleveland boys track and field team accepting the Class 5A blue trophy is near akin to death and taxes these days: A sure bet.
Finishing with 102 points, the Storm won a sixth straight state track and field championship Saturday and ninth in the past 10 tries to further cement their domination in the sport. Rival Rio Rancho took second place with 60 points.
The Alamogordo girls — behind sprinter Yvonne Stinson’s gold in the 100- and 200-meter dashes as Class 5A female high-point leader 28½ total points —beat La Cueva 66-58.
Los Alamos swept the 4A championships for both boys and girls, with the latter putting up a ridiculous 165 points to more than double the 63 points of Albuquerque Academy on the way to a second straight title. The boys used a monster five-man, 15-point output in the 3,200-run to surge past Academy 115-97 and also repeat.
The Storm’s success over the last decade is something of culture that permeates the campus, coach Kenny Henry said.
“Part of it is Cleveland,” he said. “Our football team is a successful team. A lot of these guys do these other sports and they’re proud of what they do for Cleveland. For us, we get a lot of guys —our football coach, coach (Robert) Garza, he pushes guys to our sport, and it helps us and we do the same.”
A good case in point was sophomore thrower Stratton Shufelt and sprinter Evan Wysong, both mainstays on the Storm’s state championship winning football team.
Shufelt won the shot put in 52 feet, 1½ inches, and Wysong finished with 16½ points while winning the 200-meter dash.
“It’s more, I want to help my team to win, and track is more of an ‘individual’ team sport,” Shufelt said. “You really have to do you part, so track is more stressful on you and you have to help the team get the points. Football, you have teammates around you, you’ve got your brothers next to you and you’re going to fight with him on the line. And track, you have to fight from a distance.”
Multi-sport athlete Antonio Avila led the Storm, earning 5A male high-point athlete honors with 22½ points and winning both the 110 and 300 hurdles.
Stinson, a junior who will be moving to Georgia in the summer, also won the high jump and took second in the long jump to help the Tigers go back-to-back for the first time for the program.
“The girls track program has never repeated, and that was the ultimate goal for us,” said coach Jason Atkinson. “The boys did (1993-96) back in the ’90s but we’ve never done it so this was huge accomplishment. Compared to last year, over two days makes it special. The grind over two days does make it taste even better.”
There was no grind for the Hilltopper girls, who laid down a whooping from the get-go behind high-point winner Angelina Passalaqua with 23 points and teammate Nyla Lee with 22.
Lee won both sprints and was the opener for the 4×200 relay that set a record in Friday’s preliminaries, then came back and lowered it to 1 minute, 43.44 seconds, 0.05 seconds better.
“I think that we all just want to go for it,” she said. “We always put it our best effort, and I guess that shows in the number of points that we have now. I think we have a really good team and we’re always so supportive of each other. If it’s not me, I would want another one of my teammates to be up there.”
That is the exact attitude of the team, Los Alamos girls coach Ernest Martinez said.
“I think that is a difficult balance,” he said. “Sometimes when you have talented teams, everyone is trying to get theirs and they want to win and they want to shine and I do feel like we do have a competitive nature on our team but we also have girls who are super excited when their teammates win or when their teammates succeed and that’s healthy and that breeds more success.”
The Los Alamos boys chased the Chargers throughout the afternoon, finally catching them in the second-to-last event as Keith Bridge, Rowan Flores, Duane Sena, Reuben Goettee and Morgan Schaller went 2-6 in the 3,200.
“The distance is not our only specialty even though we’re known for that,” Bridge said. “I guess we always knew that we would have a stretch run of runners here in the 3,200 to back us up if we needed it.”
Academy did get strong efforts from a number of quarters, with junior Franklin Rambo pulling down gold medals in both the discus and shot put. He already is looking ahead to next year.
“I’m hoping I can go home with all three next year,” he said, looking to add javelin to his list of gold medals. “I’m thinking of past high school, how far I can go and using next year to see how far I can get colleges to notice me. I know I can win. Now I’m looking to see how far my potential is and seeing how far I can go with it. And maybe snag a record or two.”

(Click here for individual results.)

(Click here for final team standings.)

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