The Albuquerque Metro Cross-Country Championships were a Cleveland sweep. So to speak.
Jericho Cleveland of Volcano Vista and Cleveland’s Amanda Mayoral ran to individual titles to go along with the Rio Rancho girls and Albuquerque Academy boys on a cold, dreary morning at Nusenda Community Stadium.
BOYS: There is a brief, but steep, hill, about midway through the mesa course, and it was there that Cleveland put some distance between himself and Academy’s Jordan Lesansee. The Hawks’ junior pulled away over the second half of the race.
“Going up that hill, it didn’t take that much out of me,” Cleveland said. “So I thought why not go for it then? I wanted to see if he would respond.”
Cleveland, who had runner-up showings at the University of New Mexico and Academy meets (the latter won by Lesansee) was a surprise champion. Surprising to himself, at least.
“I thought Jordan would win,” he said. “I didn’t expect to win at all.”
Cleveland finished the 2.88-mile course in 15 minutes, 20 seconds. Lesansee was 16-plus seconds behind, with Rio Rancho’s Devin Paredes third.
“It’s a real confidence boost,” Cleveland said.
Academy and Cleveland both scored 54 point. The Chargers won the tiebreaker, which was the finish of the sixth-place runner. Academy’s was 19th, the Storm’s 24th.
GIRLS: Cleveland’s Mayoral continues to be unbeatable, although Saturday’s race saw her challenged.
There were several girls in a chasing pack, all trying to become the first to beat Mayoral in about two years. Rio Rancho’s Andi Almodovar and Molly Klein were in pursuit, as was Volcano Vista freshman Isabella Schrader.
But Mayoral got to the finish line about three seconds in front of Almodovar.
The winning time was 18:57.20. Almodovar (19:00.20) and Klein (19:00.70) were close behind, and Schrader a close fourth.
“I knew one of us could have had it,” said Almodovar.
Rio Rancho destroyed the field with four runners in the top six. The Rams scored 29 points, well in front of Academy (81) and Cleveland (86).
This coming Saturday, Rio Rancho hosts its huge Jamboree meet, the largest event of the regular season in New Mexico.
“I’m excited for the Jamboree,” Mayoral said. The last time she didn’t win a high school meet in New Mexico was when she placed second at state as a freshman.
Saturday — Nusenda Community Stadium
1, Albuquerque Academy, 54; 2, Cleveland, 54; 3, Volcano Vista, 79; 4, Rio Rancho, 99; 5, Eldorado, 103; 6, Sandia, 156; 7, Albuquerque High, 196; 8, Cibola, 196; 9, Del Norte, 243; 10, Manzano, 278; 11, St. Pius, 294.
1, Jericho Cleveland, Volcano Vista, 15:20.00; 2, Jordan Lesansee, Albuquerque Academy, 15:36.60; 3, Devin Paredes, Rio Rancho, 15:39.70; 4, David Apodaca, Cleveland, 16:05.30; 5 Connor Laktasic, Eldorado, 16:05.40; 6, Harrison Smith III, Eldorado, 16:05.50; 7, Yonas Haile, Cleveland, 16:06.70; 8, Mark Harrington, Albuquerque Academy, 16:15.90; 9, Alex Espenship, Cleveland, 16:18.20; 10, Zachary Sletton, Eldorado, 16:20.10.
1, Rio Rancho, 29; 2, Albuquerque Academy, 81; 3, Cleveland, 86; 4, Eldorado, 112; 5, Volcano Vista, 116; 6, Cibola, 158; 7, Albuquerque High, 193; 8, St. Pius, 195; 9, Sandia, 256; 10, Manzano, 257; 11, Del Norte, 329.
1, Amanda Mayoral, Cleveland, 18:57.20; 2, Andi Almodovar, Rio Rancho, 19:00.20; 3, Molly Klein, Rio Rancho, 19:00.70; 4, Isabella Schrader, Volcano Vista, 19:01.00; 5, Reina Paredes, Rio Rancho, 19:07.90; 6, Alliana Atencio, Rio Rancho, 19:08.80; 7, Jasmine Turtle-Morales, Eldorado, 19:13.20; 8, Jacque Pinon, St. Pius, 19:13.30; 9, Celeste Martinez, Albuquerque Academy, 19:16.20; 10, Carly Wall, Albuquerque Academy, 19:21.10.