Cleveland boys, Albuquerque Academy girls win metro track and field titles

May 3—Cruz Sanchez admitted he had some thinking to do.

He always thought of himself, he said, as more of a 3,200-meter guy. But he was giving off another vibe Friday as he went around the track at Nusenda Community Stadium.

He was seeded ninth by qualifying time on the sheet, but his victory in the 1,600-meter final proved to be one of the huge surprises on the second day of the Albuquerque Metro Championships.

His winning time of 4 minutes, 29.81 seconds was 27 hundredths of a second ahead of Rio Rancho's Skyler Galbraith, who valiantly tried to run down Sanchez over the final 75 meters.

"That was a huge PR, I wasn't expecting it," said Sanchez, who added that 4:38 was his previous best this year. "I surprised myself for sure today."

So is he now a 1,600 guy? Sanchez smiled.

"I'll have to go home and think about that," he said.

Cleveland's boys and Albuquerque Academy's girls were the team champions at the final major event on the regular-season calendar. Everyone is into district competitions next week, and state for the Class 4A and 5A athletes is coming up May 17-18.

The Storm piled up 109 points, nearly double that of Rio Rancho (55). La Cueva (49) was third. Academy's girls scored 82 1/2 points, with Hobbs (65) and La Cueva (60) rounding out the top three.

Gianna Rahmer, the Hoover Middle School eighth-grade phenom representing Eldorado, dominated in both her individual appearances Friday.

She rolled to a 10-second victory over Albuquerque Academy's Anna Hastings in the 1,600-meter final — 5:03.51 for Rahmer, 5:13.97 for Hastings — and later her long stride led her to a dominant victory in the 800-meter final (2:21.42), with Eagles teammate Sylvie Hadley crossing six seconds later.

Volcano Vista had an excellent day on the track besides Sanchez.

Sophomore Ryleigh Jones, second to Los Alamos' Jaiya Daniels in the 100-meter final at last week's Richard Harper meet, won the 100 at metros, finishing in 12.36 seconds just in front of Academy's Grace Erinle.

"Coming out of the blocks it felt a little rough, to be honest," Jones said. "Not my best start, but (I) knew I had to kick it in that second half."

Dallan Reed of the Hawks won the boys' 800 (1:58.91) near the end of the program for the Hawks.

Senior Charles Carreathers of Rio Rancho was the boys' 100-meter champion, edging Albuquerque High's Fredrick Ford. Carreathers' time was 10.78 seconds; Ford's was 10.84.

"Man, I'm really excited," Carreathers said. "My last year, for me to win metros, the open 100, is a dream."

Academy's Erinle later won the 200, although only three girls chose to compete in the final.

AHS' Ford, who had two close runner-up finishes in this meet — Thursday in the long jump and Friday in the 100 — posted two victories on Friday, completing a monster meet. Friday, he captured the 200-meter title in 21.90 seconds, and also the triple jump (44 feet, 10 1/4 inches) late in the evening.

In the 110-meter high hurdles, Albuquerque High's Kaden Andrus followed his victory at the Harper with an excellent race Friday. He won in 14.78 seconds. Morgan James of Cleveland was the girls' 100-meter high hurdle champ. In prelims Thursday, she took a bit of a tumble at the finish line, and was sporting a nasty strawberry on her left shoulder Friday.

"I cleaned it up, got in the right head space and focused on my training and got back out there and did what I do best," James said. She is a former gymnast but quit that sport when she fell in love with track and field. "I made this my passion," she said.

Hayden Saul of Hope Christian (45.35 seconds) later won the 300-meter intermediate hurdles. She got injured between the prelims and finals of the Harper meet last week, but said she got into physical therapy to get ready for metros.

"I'm so excited," Saul said. "It's insane. I'm just really lucky we get to compete with all these (bigger) schools. They're so good, and they're so huge."

Tyler Griffith of Cleveland, Thursday's long jump champion, added the 300-meter hurdles title (37.90 seconds) on Friday. The 400-meter champions were Bryan Thomas of St. Pius (49.32 seconds) and Tatiana Magallanes of Atrisco Heritage (1:00.38).

The remaining six field events were held Friday. La Cueva's Keira Vlaun, the sister of Grant Vlaun, who won the boys pole vault Thursday, finished first Friday in the triple jump with a mark of 35 feet, 10 3/4 inches.

Grant Wade of Cleveland (154 feet, 4 inches) won the boys discus. Kalli Roosild of Eldorado (10-6) was the metro champion in girls pole vault. Adrian Mora of Hobbs (6-2) captured boys high jump. Versatile thrower Arianna Valenzuela of Rio Rancho (124-0), who won the shot put Thursday, added the discus title on Friday.