Cross Country Ends Another Strong Season

Boys and Girls Both Finish 2nd in the State


Courtesey of Joe Lopez

The girls Cross Country runners capped a strong season with a 2nd place finish at state. Trhe young team has great hopes and expectations for next season.

The New Mexico cross-country state championships was on November 5th this year. With both the girls and boys finishing second, the teams were the most accomplished fall sport at Academy this year. After two years of the pandemic with a small team, this year there were many new additions on both the girls and the boys teams. Many of this year’s team members were new 8th graders in their first high school season, so there are hopes of an even bigger team next year, with more first-year additions. “An atmosphere that was fun and light needed to be balanced with workouts that were focused and purposeful,” Coach Adam Kedge said. “Their approach to state week put our team in the right mental frame and in a good spot physically to take on the other 17 teams in 4A.” This year, the Academy cross-country team had stellar results throughout the season.

In cross country, places are totaled up to make your final score. The team with the lowest score wins. The varsity girls were very close to the 1st place team, with 37 points compared to Los Alamos high school’s 31. Anna Hastings ‘26, this year’s district champion, placed second overall in the meet. Academy also had two other girls in the top ten, with ninth grader Addison Julian and senior Katie Patton placing 4th and 5th. Isabella Barnes ‘26, who also played on the girls varsity soccer team this fall, and Grace Morneau, the fastest 8th grader overall, both placed inside the top 20. Olivia Michael ‘27 and Vivian Mitchell ‘23 finished with fast times as well. The girls’ team had a strong season overall, winning the district championships and many other meets this year. A big achievement was that the top nine runners in the district championships were the nine runners that ran for Academy. This year’s varsity girls team was young, with 5 of the 7 runners from the 8-9 division, but they were very successful this year and have great potential for the future.

The boys XC runners finished second against perennial running rival, Los Alamos (Courtesy of Joe Lopez)

The boys team also placed second, with Los Alamos coming in first. Academy has had a rivalry with Los Alamos high school for a while, with both teams placing in the top two spots at state for a very long time, in both the 4A or 5A divisions. “There are good teams out there and Los Alamos has a squad that is always formidable,” said Coach Kedge. “They were the victors that day and full credit goes to the Hilltoppers for their performance.” The varsity boys also placed very well in state. There were four experienced seniors on the team- Nate Klein, Hayden Prescott, William Weinstein, and Quint Stein, all having ran on past state teams. All placed high up in their last season with the Academy cross country team. “The group of upperclassmen that had been part of a championship season in years past had a good grasp on what it took to prepare for our state championships,” said Coach Kedge. There were also some younger runners on the team, with Akilan Sankaran ‘25, ninth grader Nicholas Ponte, and junior Alex Goss, all finishing in the top 25. This year’s boys team was also successful in their season, winning the district championship and the Academy Extravaganza, the largest meet in the state.

On race day, the team ran confidently and aggressively…it clearly ended up being our best team performance of the year.

— Coach Adam Kedge

Both the girls and boys teams will be losing some members of the varsity teams next year as they move on to college. However, the team will still be strong. During the pandemic, the team was very small, but this year many more people showed up to the team, with almost 30 boys and 30 girls on the team. This increases the hope of an even bigger team next year, and a great state team as well. “On race day, the team ran confidently and aggressively,” said Coach Kedge. “When we compare our cumulative team time to that of a month earlier when we raced on the exact same course, it clearly ended up being our best team performance of the year.” The team has traveled all over the state to run, including meets in Zuni and Los Alamos. Overall, the cross country team has excelled both in the state meet and throughout the season, and they have potential to be successful in the future. Coach Kedge said, “Our goal is to work, work, work and be ready for 365 days from now.”