Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

La Cueva, Cleveland triumphant at metro track and field

Cibola’s Riley Midgett finishes first in the girls 100-meter event on Friday. )Liam DeBonis/for the (

Good hearing helped Albuquerque High’s Bahozhoni Church pull out a sweep in the distance events Friday in the Albuquerque Metro Track and Field Championships at Nusenda Community Stadium.

But while Church won the individual battle with Cleveland’s Caden Nunn, it was the Storm celebrating as a team with 116 points.

“Metro champions mean a lot to us,” said Cleveland sprinter Evan Wysong, who was the boys high-point winner with 24 points while winning the 100- and 200-meter dashes. “We come into this knowing we have to win or we feel like we did something wrong. Winning each event gives our team a huge amount of points and helps the team overall.”

On the girls side, thanks in large part to the 30 combined points from hurdlers Sima Lucero – who won at both distances Friday – and Analisa Ibarra, La Cueva held off Rio Rancho 82-78. Cibola’s Riley Midgett, who like Wysong swept the 100 and 200, took high point with 20½ points in the last major regular-season meet of the season in the metro area.

In the boys 800, after drafting in second most of the race, Nunn passed Church on the final turn of the 800-meter run on a breezy and chilly evening on the West Side.

“At the 300 mark, I heard his coach say, ‘At the 150 mark, go. Be patient.’ So I knew when he was going to go. So I decided to slow down and let him make his move and then make my move later.”

As Nunn breezed into the lead, “At that point, not going to lie,” Church said. “Form started to deteriorate. Actually, yeah, at the 300 mark, I should have made my move but I sat back and let him do his thing, And then, I just pulled something out and made something happen.”

That something was a closing burst that saw Church nip Nunn at the tape, winning in 2 minutes, 2.33 seconds, with Nunn crashing at the finish, bouncing off a table set up to protect runners from some stanchions and then banging his hand on the track after finishing in 2:02.62.

“It means a lot,” Church said of taking the 800 and 1,600 Friday to go with his impressive 3,200-meter victory on Thursday that broke an AHS school record. “It just goes to show that my coaches’ training plan is working. And it hasn’t been easy. Mental challenges. Just doing the same things every day. Eat right. Sleeping right. Training right. And over time it just built up and it led me to do what I did (Friday).”

As the wind picked up while the sun was sinking, Lucero battled through a headwind, then a crosswind, in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles.

“It was sort of tough but at first I was trying to block it out because everyone is going though the same things,” she said, adding that it was a relief to finish the turn. “I was just saying, I get to the final stretch and it’s on my back.”

The metros, she said, is a good test for the final two weeks of the season.

“This a good step for districts and for state,” Lucero said. “There are a lot of good runners here. A lot of good teams so the competition is high and it pushes you to run better times. I love getting pushed.”

On the boys high jump, competitors were forced into their takeoff through a headwind.

Eldorado’s Gabriel Ball was still able to clear 6 feet, 6 inches to beat out friend James Jenkins of Hope Christian, who had edged Ball last week at the Harper meet at Albuquerque Academy.

“It means a lot because last week I lost my first meet in 2½ years,” Ball said. “So it was good to come back and win and get my confidence.”

The two have been bumping at the bar for some time and enjoying the friendly competition.

“It makes it more fun because you’re not just sitting there all angry, trying to beat him,” Jenkins said. “Because you root for him and you want him to do good and he wants you to do good so it goes both ways. It’s a good feeling.”

District meets will be held next week for the larger schools, and the Class 5A/4A state meet follows on May 13-14 at UNM.

Cleveland’s Evan Wysong finishes first in the boys 100-meter event on Friday. (Liam DeBonis/for the )

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