“The Unforgettable Highlights of High School Sports in 2022-23: A Reflection with James Yodice”

The Cleveland High School football team won their third straight big-school state football championship last November, during which quarterback Evan Wysong scored yet another touchdown for the Storm. Head coach Robert Garza was doused with water after time expired during their 75-61 victory over La Cueva at Wilson Stadium. Leah Futey of Cleveland was the wire-to-wire winner of the Class 5A cross country championship race, while Ashley Smith rejoiced after defeating Rosalia Rubio in the girls 114-pound category at state wrestling.

The large-school 127-pound championship match saw Rio Rancho’s Kaleb Medina and Volcano Vista’s Noah Jones tumble on the mat. At the Class 5A state tennis championships, Eldorado High School’s Philip Bosin took on Albuquerque High School’s Leo Rocca. Ashlyn Salas of Hope Christian scored a goal against St. Pius during the 4A girls state soccer championship game at Cleveland High School. Jaiya Daniels of Los Alamos won the girls’ 100-meter dash finals during the final day of the Richard Harper Memorial Track and Field meet. Albuquerque Academy’s boys became the NNMA 2023 State Basketball Championship Class 4A boys basketball game winners.

The announcement of the All-Metro baseball and softball teams is scheduled next week. Cleveland won its third straight big-school state football title and La Cueva was second in this regard, playing their full season. Describing the 136 points scored by the Storm and La Cueva as a record-breaking event, Cleveland is slowly inching towards becoming a dynasty team. Artesia won its 31st state championship and Bloomfield won their first, while Raton tailback Cayden Walton broke New Mexico’s single-season rushing record and the state’s career rushing record, with new marks of 3,123 and 7,971 yards, respectively.

Volcano Vista and Sandia Class 5A boys’ basketball final was the complete opposite of Cleveland-La Cueva football. Hobbs’ girls defeated Volcano Vista and Albuquerque Academy’s boys snapped their 29-year championship drought. The regular season had lots of thrills, with Del Norte senior guard Shane Douma-Sanchez scoring 60 points, and Bella Hines of Eldorado putting up 51 points in a game. The APS-dominated state wrestling tournament saw Volcano Vista’s boys and girls sweeping the team titles.

In softball, Cibola’s Jalyn Montes slugged 20 home runs, which set a new record in the state. Pitches were thrown by Cleveland’s boys who stunned the 5A field and won the state soccer championship inside their home stadium; Eldorado beat Cleveland in penalty kicks in the 5A girls’ final. Rio Rancho’s Ron Murphy became the state’s all-time winningest baseball coach, while St. Pius repeated in 4A.

Lastly, we also remember some of the prominent voices we lost during the year 2023. Chris Eaton, Sandia High baseball coach’s death in November was a challenging one, along with Organ Mountain football player Abe Romero and Dexter football player Justus Sanders died in an auto accident. Phil Schroer, Jimmy Juarez, Joey Montaño, Joe Cantou, and Ron Bohls were among the other prominent people lost during the year.

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