State prep volleyball tournament opens this week

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON − District champions Navajo Prep and Aztec High School are two of three teams from San Juan County that will take part in the New Mexico Activities Association's high school volleyball tournament beginning this week.

Meantime, the 2022 cross-country season wrapped up over the weekend with several area and local teams taking home championship hardware.

Here's a look at some of the local prep highlights across San Juan County.


The NMAA's state volleyball tournament opens Thursday at the Rio Rancho Event Center, with teams from Aztec, Kirtland Central and Navajo Prep representing San Juan County.

The Aztec High School team, champions of District 1-4A and winner of 15 consecutive matches, open as the seven-seed with a first round clash Thursday at 9:45 a.m. against district rival Kirtland Central. The Lady Tigers have won both their earlier matches against Kirtland Central, both by three games to one margins.

Aztec (20-3 overall), coached by Anna Strauss, will be looking to extend their current win streak, while the 10th-seeded Lady Broncos, who finished third in the district, come into the tournament with an overall record of 14-8 (7-3 District).

The tournament is a double-elimination format, which means the losing team will face elimination in all their future matches during the postseason. The winner of the first round match will face second-seeded St. Pius at 3 p.m. on Thursday afternoon.

Kirtland Central's Keira Beall-Gleason gets low to the court and makes a one-handed dig against Bloomfield on Tuesday, November 1, 2022 at Bobcat Gym.

Aztec, Kirtland Central and 11th-seeded Gallup all come out of District 1-4A to be a part of the postseason tournament, speaking to the quality of teams in the district this season.

"We've had our ups and downs with sickness and injuries this season, while moving up some junior varsity players at the same time," said Kirtland Central head coach Nadia Begay-Watson. "Aztec has been very dominant this year but if we play to our potential that I know we can play at, we should give Aztec a good run."

Gallup will open their postseason chase with a match against sixth-seeded Los Alamos on Thursday morning. The winner of that match will then face off with third-seeded and last season's Class 4A runner-up Artesia.

Navajo Prep came out on top as the District 1-3A champions and enter the Class 3A tournament as the seven-seed. They will face 10th-seeded Ruidoso Thursday at 8 a.m.

The Lady Eagles have won 10 straight matches, finishing the district campaign with an 11-1 mark. Ruidoso, winners of District 4-3A, had their five-match win streak snapped in their district finale last weekend at home against Tucumcari.

The winner of this match will come back later Thursday afternoon to face second-seeded and defending Class 3A champion Robertson.


Navajo Prep's Devon Lansing's second place finish in the Class 3A state cross-country championship led the Eagles to a third-place team finish in the boys division.

The state championship meet was held on Saturday at Albuquerque Academy.

Lansing's narrow defeat at the hands of Maximo Brito from Cottonwood Classical Prep was decided by five-hundredths of a second, with Brito crossing the wire in the 5000-meter race in 16 minutes, 43.17 seconds, just a shade ahead of Lansing for the title.

Navajo Prep's Devin Lansing (right) outkicks Kirtland Central's Dathan Esson to the finish line at the Kirtland Central Bronco Ridge Runner varsity boys race on Friday, Oct. 21, at Kirtland Elementary School. Lansing finished finished in first place with the time of 17:07.24 and Esson in second place with the time of 17:07.77.

Alex Lastyano from Zuni was right behind the top pair, crossing the wire just a tenth of a second behind Lansing. Zuni found three runners reaching the finish line in the top 10 finishers, lifting the Thunderbirds to the team title, with Cottonwood Classical and Navajo Prep rounding out the top three teams.

Nearly 100 runners competed in the Class 3A state championship race, with Navajo Prep's Mac Cousen and Aaron Mike finishing among the top 25 runners.

In the 3A girls championship race, Raylee Hunt from St. Michael's stole the show, winning her 5000-meter race with a time of 18:52.51, more than 25 seconds ahead of Nya Griego from Santa Fe Prep.

Santa Fe Indian School, with three top-10 finishers in the event, won the Class 3A title. The Lady Braves were led by Alexis Aguino, Destiny Chino and Destiny Marquez. Santa Fe Indian School outscored Santa Fe Prep and Cottonwood Classical Prep for the Class 3A title.

Navajo Prep's top finisher, Nicole Tsosie, finished sixth overall with a final time of 20:07.7 seconds.

The Kirtland Central boys team finished fourth overall in the state championship meet, with Dathan Esson (10th) and Raymond Hunt (11th) leading the Broncos.

The 5000-meter race had more than 125 participants, with Hope Christian's Rendon Kuykendall rolling past his competition. He completed the course in a time of 15:29.2, more than 47 seconds ahead of runner-up Duane Sena from Los Alamos.

The Hilltoppers won the overall team championship, with Sena, as well as Beck Ellis and Jack Ammerman finishing among the top-10 in the race.

Los Alamos won the team title ahead of Albuquerque Academy and Hope Christian.

Shiprock's Logan Pioche finished 17th in the race.

In the Class 4A girls state competition, Shiprock brought home the third-place title after Kaydence Platero finished eighth in the 5000-meter race. Platero was joined in the top-20 finishers with 18th place finisher Taylor Begay.

Los Alamos took home the team championship, led by winner Emma Montoya, who crossed the wire with a final time of 18:19.6, more than 27 seconds ahead of Anna Hastings from Albuquerque Academy. The Lady Hilltoppers finished narrowly ahead of the Lady Chargers for the Class 4A team title.

Aztec's Alisia Valerio finished 21st in the race to lead the Lady Tigers.

In the Class 5A girls state championship event, Piedra Vista's Nicole Pierce finished eighth overall, leading the Lady Panthers to an eighth-place overall team finish.

Piedra Vista was also represented by Mackenzie Yazzie, who finished 22nd, while Farmington's Madison Germaine finished 13th overall to lead the Lady Scorpions.

The winner of the Class 5A state title went to Leah Futey from Cleveland High School, who beat Albuquerque High's Dani Figueroa across the wire with a winning time of 18:17.41.

Cleveland High School took home the state team championship, with Rio Rancho and Volcano Vista rounding out the top three teams.

For complete results of the state cross-country championships, check out the official page at NMMileSplit.com.