Prep cross country: Kuykendall, West look championship ready

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  • Steve West
    British podiatrist

Oct. 17—By the time everyone returns to this venue in three weeks and lines up again, Steven West of Sandia High School should project as the odds-on favorite to win the Class 5A state cross country championship.

But he's not going to have to deal with Rendon Kuykendall anymore.

"It's a cool thing to get first, but man, it's a pleasure to run with him," West said of Kuykendall, the Hope Christian junior. "I'm glad I get the best of both worlds."

Kuykendall, the defending 4A state champion and unquestionably New Mexico's premier runner, beat West by more than eight seconds on a cool Saturday morning at the Albuquerque Academy Extravaganza, the largest regular-season meet on New Mexico's prep calendar.

The state meet on Nov. 6 will be run over the same 3.1-mile course as athletes covered Saturday.

Approximately 100 schools, from all five classifications, came to the Academy. Los Alamos was the most noticeable absentee.

Kuykendall and Volcano Vista freshman Carysa Marquez were the individual champions in the "A" race, where most of the large-school elite teams could be found. The Academy girls and Volcano Vista boys also won.

West had a slight lead on Kuykendall halfway through the race. These two were 1-2 a week earlier at the Albuquerque Metro Championships where Kuykendall beat West by a wide margin.

With about a half-mile to go Saturday, Kuykendall had his mind made up.

"We were right there. I heard his breathing was a little off, so I was like, time to get moving," said Kuykendall after his third victory of the season.

He won with a time of 15 minutes, 20.64 seconds. West crossed the finish line in 15:29.02 and was 36 seconds in front of third-place Dawson Gunn of Rio Rancho.

"My legs are a bit tired," Kuykendall said. "I did two 70-mile weeks in a row with a race in there."

He'll run the district race on the Academy course in two weeks, before state.

As for Volcano Vista's boys, the Hawks had their best showing of the season, and their 72 points was a nifty number with a field this deep. Senior Aiden Davis was sixth individually for Volcano Vista.

"We've been holding out some of the boys for various reasons," Hawks coach Elena Schrader said. "Most of them were here today, and they were just really dialed in and had a goal in mind and went after it and executed their race plan the way they wanted to. They ran well as a pack, and Aiden had an amazing day."

Volcano's two District 1 rivals, Rio Rancho and Cleveland, were second and third, respectively.

The Academy girls scored 62 points, beating Rio Rancho by 20 points. Volcano Vista (98) was third. Emma Patton was the top Charger, in fifth place.

Marquez, the impressive ninth-grader, pulled away from La Cueva's Ariana Thiel-Hadjilambrinos as they entered Richard Harper Memorial Field for the final 400 meters. Marquez's winning time was 18:27.35; Albuquerque High freshman Dani Figueroa (18:35.62), last week's metro champ, overtook Thiel-Hadjilambrinos in the final few meters to earn second place.

"I just made sure to save something and let it all out in the last 400," said the soft-spoken Marquez after the biggest win of her young varsity career. She lit up as she soaked in the importance of this victory.

"It means the world," she said. "I've been working for this the entire season, and I'm so excited."

"B" AND "C" DIVISIONS: Cottonwood Classical Prep swept the boys and girls team titles in the "B" division, with Maximo Brito of the Coyotes (16:55.85) and Aisha Ramone of Kirtland Central (19;27.46) winning individually.

The "C" division was largely for the smallest of the schools. Pecos' boys and Santa Fe Indian's girls, along with Gilbert Valdez of Peñasco (the Class 1A-2A state champ from the spring season) and Vanessa Gallegos of Lovington, took first place.


Albuquerque Academy Extravaganza

Saturday — at ABQ Academy


Team: Volcano Vista 72, Rio Rancho 109, Cleveland 135, Eldorado 159, Organ Mountain 161, Sandia 178, Albuquerque Academy 192, Alamogordo 236, Centennial 284, Hobbs 289, La Cueva 313, Albuquerque High 342, Hope Christian 382, Santa Fe 410, Gallup 418, Piedra Vista 427, Los Lunas 435, Atrisco Heritage 465, Farmington 484, Clovis 496, Las Cruces 551, Manzano 559, Roswell 613, Taos 651, Rio Grande 696.

Individual: 1, Rendon Kuykendall, Hope Christian, 15:20.64; 2, Steven West, Sandia, 15:29.02; 3, Dawson Gunn, Rio Rancho, 16:05.28; 4, Brett Bybee, Organ Mountain, 16:15.33; 5, Celso Garcia, Alamogordo, 16:18.21; 6, Aiden Davis, Volcano Vista, 16:18.45; 7, Bahozhoni Church, Albuquerque High, 16:19.10; 8, Isaac Tucker Scott, Sandia, 16:19.16; 9, Joaquin Deprez, Albuquerque Academy, 16:28.02; 10, Naseem Dhaouadi, Eldorado, 16:30.01.


Team: Albuquerque Academy 63, Rio Rancho 83, Volcano Vista 98, Eldorado 118, Albuquerque High 151, Cleveland 167, La Cueva 202, Alamogordo 227, Hobbs 242, Farmington 326, Taos 332, Gallup 371, Organ Mountain 374, Sandia 411, Santa Fe 413, Piedra Vista 428, Los Lunas 460, Hope Christian 470, Clovis 494, Mayfield 537, Las Cruces 561, Roswell 564.

Individual: 1, Carysa Marquez, Volcano Vista, 18:27.35; 2, Dani Figueroa, Albuquerque High, 18:35.62; 3, Ariana Thiel-Hadjilambrinos, La Cueva, 18:36.59; 4, Ellary Battle, Alamogordo, 18:46.67; 5, Emma Patton, Albuquerque Academy, 19:03.31; 6, Ellie Suo-Anttila, Eldorado, 19:23.03; 7, Janae Shaklee, Alamogordo, 19:26.72; 8, Katie Patton, Albuquerque Academy, 19:27.08; 9, Angela Korte, Volcano Vista, 19:47.66; 10, Addison Julian, Albuquerque Academy, 19:48.22.


Team: Cottonwood Classical Prep 102, Shiprock 127, Miyamura 170, Kirtland Central 185, Ruidoso 202, Santa Fe Prep 216, Moriarty 219, Del Norte 242, Sandia Prep 261, Pojoaque Valley 272, Crownpoint 298, St. Michael's 303, Aztec 354, Raton 356, Silver 357, Belen 378, Española Valley 380, Bloomfield 385, Highland 426, Portales 433, Robertson 519, Artesia 580, East Mountain 615, Valley 619, Cobre 684.

Individual: 1, Maximo Brito, Cottonwood Classical Prep, 16:55.85; 2, Orye Franklin, Shiprock, 17:08.81; 3, Logan Pioche, Shiprock, 17:14.84; 4, Zachary Jeantete, Cottonwood Classical Prep, 17:16.77; 5, Michael Riess, Portales, 17:18.23; 6, Israel Garcia, Del Norte, 17:19.20; 7, Chase Kamp, Raton, 17:20.99; 8, Dathan Esson, Kirtland Central, 17:30.10; 9, Herman Archibeque, Moriarty, 17:45.47; 10, Coleton Rogers, Silver, 17:47.10.


Team: Cottonwood Classical Prep 92, Pojoaque Valley 130, Santa Fe Prep 131, Kirtland Central 135, Belen 142, Robertson 160, Miyamura 243, Bosque School 247, East Mountain 254, Moriarty 277, Highland 296, St. Michael's 322, Crownpoint 327, Shiprock 334, Grants 335, Cuba 368, Española Valley 375, Silver 393, Cobre 556.

Individual: 1, Aisha Ramone, Kirtland Central, 19:27.46; 2, Raylee Hunt, St. Michael's, 19:42.55; 3, Lorianna Piestewa, Miyamura, 20:16.01; 4, Sophie Bair, Santa Fe Prep, 20:22.21; 5, Lisette Sanchez, Belen, 20:22.47; 6, Nya Griego, Santa Fe Prep, 20:28.87; 7, Sophia Lopez, Cottonwood Classical Prep, 20:30.81; 8, Sidney Harenberg, Sandia Prep, 20:32.47; 9, Kate Henderson, Bosque School, 20:39.91; 10, Aelea Thomas, Highland, 21:06.39.


Team: Pecos 106, Oak Grove Classical Academy 133, Lovington 139, Tohatchi 146, Hagerman 155, Navajo Prep 176, Peñasco 184, Newcomb 211, Santa Fe Indian 241, Laguna-Acoma 265, Rehoboth Christian 292, Quemado 295, Wingate 369, Thoreau 370, Maxwell 392, Dulce 450, Capitan 461, Legacy Academy 486, Santa Rosa 495, Mesa Vista 529, Mora 540, Academy for Technology and the Classics 572, Coronado 614, Navajo Pine 645, Socorro 674.

Individual: 1, Gilbert Valdez, Peñasco, 16:27.16; 2, Melvin Scott, Tohatchi, 16:56.96; 3, Derick Castellanos, Lovington, 16:56.98; 4, Devin Lansing, Navajo Prep, 17:18.05; 5, Gerardo Mendoza, Hagerman, 17:31.03; 6, Isaiah Reval, Dulce, 17:42.44; 7, Noah Bugayong, Quemado, 17:52.73; 8, Joshua Marquez, Oak Grove Classical Academy, 17:55.34; 9, Alex Villasenior, Lovington, 17:55.79; 10, Aidan Holton, Pecos, 17:57.57.


Team: Santa Fe Indian 68, Gateway Christian 97, Navajo Prep 123, Peñasco 154, Pecos 196, Wingate 204, Capitan 216, Lovington 219, Rehoboth Christian 235, Academy for Technology and the Classics 241, Thoreau 248, Ramah 257, McCurdy 282, Santa Rosa 311, Natve American Community Academy 327, Newcomb 369.

Individual: 1, Vanessa Gallegos, Lovington, 20:48.82; 2, Nicole Tsosie, Navajo Prep, 21:05.29; 3, Destiny Marquez, Santa Fe Indian, 21:06.09; 4, Kairi Etsitty, Pine Hill, 21:29.40; 5, Destiny Chino, Santa Fe Indian, 21:32.05; 6, Emily Garcia, Rehoboth Christian, 21:44.16; 7, Maleah Golden, Oak Grove Classical Academy, 21:52.45; 8, Evelyn Daugherty, Capitan, 22:06.34; 9, Josette Gurule, Academy for Technology and the Classics, 22:07.83; 10, Rochelle Lopez, Peñasco, 22:11.05.

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