New Mexico cross country retrospective: Albuquerque reasserted itself during the 2000s

Matt Hollinshead,

FARMINGTON — After watching the northwest portion of New Mexico dominate the previous three decades, Albuquerque reasserted itself as a statewide force in cross-country during the 2000s.

Here’s a look at the runners and teams that highlighted the start of the new millennium:

The Albuquerque Academy boys

The Chargers won eight team titles between 2000 and 2009, with five runners taking home individual titles during that span.

John Bunting (ran an official time of 17 minutes, 30 seconds in 2001), Alan Weeth (17:00 in 2002), Andres Urbina (16:23 in 2003), Mitch Bible (15:53 in 2004) and Ben Johnson (15:30.65 in 2006, 15:36.05 in 2007) all were crowned state champions.

The Cibola boys, Eldorado girls

The Cougars closed out the decade with back-to-back 5A team titles in 2008 and 2009, while the Lady Eagles, also in 5A, won its first three team titles in 2006, 2007 and 2009.

Cibola’s Vincent Montoya won the 2009 5A individual boys title with a time of 15:10.20, while Eldorado’s Kristy Hannah won the 2009 5A individual girls title at 18:33.05.

Eldorado’s Matt Tebo

Tebo won three consecutive 5A individual titles between 2004 and 2006. His winning times were 15:56, 15:40 and 15:25.90, respectively.

The Los Alamos girls

The Hilltoppers’ rise continued during the 2000s, as they won seven of their state record 21 team titles.

Kristen Hemphill won three straight individual titles between 2002 and 2004. Her times were 19:46, 18:48 and 18:52, respectively. Alexandra Blum followed suit with a state title in 2005 with a time of 19:31.

Carlsbad’s Jocelyn Calderon and Brandy Castillo

Calderon won back-to-back 5A girls titles in 2003 (19:44) and 2004 (19:02), while Castillo won the 2008 5A girls individual title with a time of 18:37.65.

They were the third and fifth girls runners, respectively, from the southern part of the state to win individual titles.

Santa Teresa’s Jacqueline Campos was the fourth southern New Mexico girls runner to win an individual state title, securing the 2007 4A title with a time of 18:42.75.

The Alamogordo duo of Lisa Valle (18:22 in 1983) and Julia Kayitah (19:46 in 1990) were the first two southern New Mexico girls runners to win state titles.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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