Albuquerque Academy Invitational Preview

By Sal Gonzales

Albuquerque Academy Invitational-Friday September 23, 2016-3.03 mile Course

Boys Team Preview

The home team Albuquerque Academy Chargers have dominated this race winning 15 of the last 17 years. They are the defending state champs and the last time they lost this invite they were upended by a very powerful Cleveland squad in 2012. This year the Chargers again look to be the favorite as they have 6 boys who have run under 17 minutes. Academy won the UNM Lobo Invite and they finished 2nd at the Liberty Bell Invite. Following the Chargers should be a troika of 6A schools who are all gunning for a state title this year. Eldorado High School has emerged as one of the top teams in 6A in 2016. The Eagles were boosted by the addition of transfer Harrison Smith who ran cross country for Cibola in 2016 and finished 20th in 6A in 2015. Cleveland has been the most improved team this season. They won last week's Cleveland Invite over Eldorado and look to back that up with another top performance Friday. Rio Rancho looks to have taken a step back this year after they won 2 state titles in 3 years. The Academy Invite will also include a rematch of the 2014 and 2015 3A State Championships duel between Pecos and Laguna Acoma. Last November Pecos dominated the 3A division by placing their entire top 5 in the top 10 at the state meet. This year Laguna Acoma looks to get revenge and regain the title that they narrowly won from Pecos in 2014.

Boys Individual Preview

Jordan Lesansee of Academy and Jericho Cleveland of Volcano Vista look like the top 2 runners this year at the Academy Invite. In his first 2 meets of the season Cleveland has employed a front running strategy that has been very effective. At the Cleveland Invite Cleveland took the lead early and won wire to wire. Lesansee has a history of utilizing a variety of strategies to win races on the track and on the course. He had a lackluster start to his season at UNM but he backed it up with a dominate performance at the Liberty Bell Invite where he took 1st place in 15:18. Connor Laktasic of Eldorado and Devin Paredes of Rio Rancho are seniors who have battled a dozens of times in their career and they look to do it again on Friday. The Field also includes Julian Garcia of Pecos who was the 3A individual champion in 2015. He is coming off of a stress fracture in track so he is not as fit as he was at the end of 2015 but he should finish in the top 20. The field also includes two fantastic 8th Graders who have already lit up 5ks in the southwest. Rafael Sanchez of Los Alamos has run 16:30 this season and Brian Armijo of Academy has run 17:02.

Boys History: Bolded Runners are in the 2016 Race

Course Top-20 (2011+ course): 
1. Luis Martinez-12 Cleveland 15:16.1 2012
2. Kyle Carrozza-12 Academy 15:25.3 2013
3. Zac Castillo-12 Volcano Vista 15:29.1 2012
4. Jordan Lesansee-11 Academy 15:34.9 2015
5. Taylor Potter-12 Eldorado 15:37.2 2013
6. Kevin Wyss-12 Academy 15:41.7 2013
7. Devin Parades-10 Rio Rancho 15:44.4 2014
8. Jared Mayoral-12 Cleveland 15.45.6 2013
9. Chris Harlow-11 Cibola 15:50.5 2013
10. Niles Thomas-12 Miyamura 15:51.7 2015
11. Aaron Flores-11 Cleveland 15:55.6 2013
12. Colin Hemez-12 Los Alamos 15:59.8 2013
13. Jericho Cleveland-10 Volcano Vista 16:03.7 2014
14. Blaise Mariner-12 Academy 16:05.8 2012
15. Connor Laktasic- Eldorado 16:06.3 2014
16. Ryan Betty-12 Rio Rancho 16:06.5 2012
17. Jacob Sanchez Laguna Acoma 16:07.8 2015
18. Jericho Cleveland-11 Volcano Vista 16:08.1 2015
19. Michael Goke-12 Rio Rancho 16:09.9 2014
20. Adam Monroe-12 Eldorado 16:11.1 2013

Grade Level Records:
8th Aric Kedge-8 Academy 16:33.7 2012
9th Devin Padres-9 Rio Rancho 16:19.8 2013
10th Devin Padres-10 Rio Rancho 15:44.4 2014
11th Jordan Lesansee-11 Academy 15:34.9 2015

12th Luis Martinez-12 Cleveland 15:16.1 2012

Girls Team Preview

In the past 10 years Eldorado has dominated this meet winning 7 times. Last year the home team Chargers captured the title by scoring a scant 48 points (the least since Eldorado dropped 34 in 2007.) This year's Academy Chargers are primed for another run at the title. They are coming off of an off week but prior to that they ran a tough 2nd at the loaded Liberty Bell Invitational in Littleton, Colorado. Academy has 4 girls who have run under 20 minutes for 5k and the Chargers always race well on their home course. They are led by Celeste Martinez who posted a season's best 19:17 at the Liberty Bell meet. Challenging Academy for the top spot will be 2 teams from Rio Rancho. The Rio Rancho High School Rams opened up the season by winning the UNM Lobo Invite and then followed that up with a solid 2nd place at the St. Vrain Invite in Lyons, Colorado. The Rams have 6 girls who have run under 20 minutes for 5k and they have been packing very nicely this season. Rio Rancho has been led by Reina Paredes for their first two meets but they have 2 runners, Andi Almodovar and Molly Klein, who join Paredes on the top 20 list of top times on the Academy Course. Cleveland High School is the defending champs of the 6A division and they are coming off a win at their home meet last week. Cleveland is led by Amanda Mayoral who qualified for NXN last year and is considered as the best runner in the state. Mayoral has a solid group of teammates behind her which includes Faith Lovato who was an all-state performer in 2015 and one of the fastest freshmen in the state this year. Volcano Vista, Eldorado and Cibola should also figure in the mix as the top teams should be large school teams.

Girls Individual Preview

Amanda Mayoral of Cleveland High School has not lost a cross country race in New Mexico since 2014 and it doesn't look like her streak will end this weekend. Mayoral has started off the year strong by winning the UNM Lobo Invite and the Cleveland Invitational. Mayoral's usual race strategy is to allow the field to bunch up behind her until she methodically pulls away in the last half of the race. By the time she employs her deceptive "move" it is too late for anyone to counter. The girls with the best chance to upend Mayoral are Juanita Johnson of Cibola (2ndat UNM), Reina Paredes of Rio Rancho (2nd fastest time this year), Cleste Martinez of Academy and Isabella Schrader of Volcano Vista. Most of the top runners should be from the 6A division with the Academy runners (5A) breaking up the party.  


Girls History: Bolded Runners are in the 2016 Race

Course Top-20 (2011+ course): Girls
1. Natasha Bernal-12 La Cueva 18:07.8 2014
2. Crissey Amberg-12 Eldorado 18:24.6 2013
3. Jesse Hix-10 Eldorado 18.25.3 2013
4. Molly Klein-10 Rio Rancho 18:30.0 2014
5. Kellie Regan-12 St Pius X 18.32.8 2013
6. Malia Gonzales-12 Cleveland 18:32.9 2012
7. Esther Beck Eldorado 18:33.5 2014
8. Jordyn Dilorenzo-10 St Pius X 18:36.6 2014
9. Hannah Baca-11 St Pius X 18:37.1 2014
10. Andi Almodovar-9 Rio Rancho 18:37.9 2014
11. Sophie Galvez-12 Los Alamos 18:38.9 2015
12. Mason Swanson-12 La Cueva 18:45.8 2014
13. Makezie Evertt-12 La Cueva 18:45.8 2014
14. Carisma Lovato-12 Valencia 18:48.9 2014
15. Nicole Gomez Cibola 18:51.5 2014
16. Rena Parades-9 Rio Rancho 18:51.9 2014
17. Juanita Johnson Cibola 18:52.4 2014
18. Melina Macias-12 Eldorado 18:53.0 2014
19. Cassey Amberg-12 Eldorado 18:55.8 2013
20. Amanda Mayoral-10 Cleveland 18:58.0 2014

Grade Level Records:
8th Lillian Brunacini-8 Academy 18:58.3 2014
9th Andi Almodovar-9 Rio Rancho 18:37.9 2014
10th Jesse Hix-10 Eldorado 18.25.3 2013
11th Cassey Amberg-11 Eldorado 18:54.9 2012
12th Natasha Bernal La Cueva 18:07.8 2014