Cross Country: Rams Girls, Storm Runner Snare State Championships
The Rio Rancho High girls cross country team and Cleveland High star distance runner Amanda Mayoral both left the rest of the state in the dust at the state cross country meet, capturing big school state titles.
It was a great state meet for Rio Rancho all around, with all four high school teams finishing in the top four in Class 6A. The Rio Rancho High boys cross-country team were the state runners-up to the Hobbs Eagles, edging Eldorado on a tiebreaker. The Cleveland Storm boys just missed the podium, finishing fourth.
But no team in the meet could hold a candle to the Rams girls, who placed three runners in the top five (Alliana Atencio (2nd), Andi Almodovar (4th), and Reina Paredes (5th)), with Molly Klein and Cecilia Quesada coming home 11th and 12th. In a competition where the lowest score wins their team score was 30, the most dominant performance of any team in the meet, boys or girls, regardless of size classification. The Storm girls team, spearheaded by the dominant Amanda Mayoral, captured third, finishing behind the Rams and the Volcano Vista Hawks.
The Storm’s Mayoral clobbered the Rams’ Atencio by 24 seconds, finishing in a time of 18:20:55 and with the only sub 6-minute mile pace in the girls field. It’s her second state individual title, and she’s only a junior. She joins Atencio, Aldomovar, and Paredes on the All-State team, made up of the top ten runners in each size and gender classification.
Also making All-State are the Rams’ Devin Paredes, runner-up in 6A boys (and Reina’s brother, in the white headband fourth from left), and the Storm’s Yonas Haile (5th).
The state cross country meet is held annually on a challenging course on the grounds of Rio Rancho High School. The meet brings hundreds of competitors and fans from across the state to the City of Vision.
State Soccer: Rams Girls Break Through to Semis
Three of the four RRPS high school soccer teams made the state quarterfinals this year, but only one – and it was somewhat of a surprise – moved through to the semis. The Rams girls soccer squad, seeded 6th in the tournament, played a stellar match to upset the third-seeded Cleveland Storm, 4-0. This earned them the right to play longtime nemesis and #2 seed Cibola in a howling semifinal rainstorm. The teams dueled to a 1-1 tie, and heartbreakingly the Cougars (the eventual repeat state champs) prevailed on penalty kicks. On the boys side, the fifth-seeded Storm fell in the quarterfinals to #4 Sandia, 1-0. The Rams boys barely missed making the playoffs.
State Volleyball: Storm Girls Earn Third Seed
The Cleveland Storm had a stellar beginning to its state tournament, finishing first in round robin play and earning a #3 seed and a bye in the first round. But the quarterfinals proved to be a tougher proposition, as the Storm played a spirited match against one of its old nemeses, the La Cueva Bears. After falling behind early, the Storm staged a rousing comeback to capture the third set and took the Bears to a 24-24 tie in the fourth, requiring the set to continue until one team achieved a two-point lead. However, the Bears finally prevailed, 27-25, to end the Storm’s tournament run. It is the first time since 2001 that a Rio Rancho school has not played in the state title game. The Centennial Hawks from Las Cruces were this year’s champions.