Nick Hill and Zak Kennison eventually wore down all of the competition, including the hometown crew, at the Cleveland Kickoff meet on Saturday. Photo by Blake Wood.
And so we close the curtain on what was a pretty good weekend of track and field action--especially considering that spring break was in play for several schools--in New Mexico. Here is a quick review of at least some of the week's highlights:
Team honors went to Loving (girls) and NMMI (boys), but it's easy to make too much of team honors this early in the season. Most teams are just beginning to sort things out at this point in the season. Track and field is cool that way, allowing for lots of early season experimentation without the pressure of having to win games with playoff scenarios in mind.
Times and marks that stood out among those posted at the meet included several from NMMI: Kai Werner in the 400 (52.67), Harley Bonnell in the 100 and 300 hurdles (17.44 and 51.24), and Adam Carnahan in the 300 hurdles (42.50). Anthony Anderson of Jal also had a nice long jump mark at 19-5, a full foot ahead of the field.
Back in the day before Rio Rancho was ever dreamt of, Bernalillo was the pleasant little community where the highway from Farmington converged on I-25 just north of Albuquerque. Bernalillo is still there, and they still host a pretty good track meet, but it's easy to get lost in the shadow of Rio Rancho.
And, in fact, Rio Rancho High School did exercise a little domination over this meet, though the Hope Christian team made it very interesting on the girls side of the ledger. Had Hope not been shut out of points in the sprint events, they just might have come away with the meet trophy.
Rio Rancho 8th grader Leilani Baker set a few heads spinning in the 100. Perhaps we'll see Baker matched up against Amanda Babicke at some later point in the season. Babicke easily took honors in the long jump and at 200 and 400 meters, though her 400 isn't quite at mid-season form yet. Santa Fe's Noel Prandoni picked up where cross country season left off for her with nice wins at both 1600 and 3200 meters. Santa Fe also got a sharp early-season mark (49.93) in the 300 hurdles from Madeline Weibe.
For the boys, there was simply no stopping the Rio Rancho machine. Preston Charlie posted what may have been the mark of the day with a 4:33 1600, but there were other solid ones for the Rams as well, including a 2:02 800 from Fernando Lucero, a 51.71 400 from Tristen Foley, and a Doyebi-Brown-Garcia 1-2-3 finish in the javelin. If there were wild boars roaming the Rio Rancho area, they'd have good reason to fear with people throwing spears like that.
Hope's Jonathan Millar (shot put/discus), Grants' Ryan Fitzpatrick (high jump, triple jump), and Santa Fe's Zachary Grand (3200) ensured that not all of the day's highlights ended up under the Rio Rancho team tent.
Not far at all away from Bernalillo, Cleveland High School was hosting their own extravaganza. When you do track and field battle with Cleveland, you more or less go in knowing that the Storm isn't known for taking prisoners. They don't really seem to have any lower gears, though they did run without the services of Luis Martinez on Saturday. It's just that other people stepped up and got the job done for the team in blue and black.
Parker Jones was one of those getting the job done, easily taking the 200 and the 110 hurdles, and winning the high jump on misses. Ari Eddings was dominant in the 400.
But, a long list of highlights isn't really necessary here as Nick Martinez already nicely covered those in his article on the meet linked just below. Click on the link and take a look, if you haven't already.
The Cleveland grandstands afford a nice view of the excitement on the track whenever Cleveland hosts a meet. Photo by Nick Martinez.
If you know the travel habits of New Mexico teams, you've probably already guessed that this must be the meet where Alamogordo ended up. And, you'd be right about that.
The Lady Tigers found the early spring sledding a little rough in El Paso, but they didn't go there for sledding. The 2:28 800 posted by Caylin Montoya just might be the most promising result turned in on the day for Alamogordo.
If you're trying to track the rise and fall of track and field programs across the state, you may want to take notice of the rising of a program out of Santa Fe. Santa Fe is not only the capital of New Mexico, it also appears to be the capital of schools of choice for New Mexico. And, one of those schools of choice--namely the Academy for Tech and Classics--is quietly building a nice program in the running sports.
The ATC boys came away with the meet title with a very nice presence in the relay scoring and dual event titles in the discus and shot put from Kyle Winklemaier and Jordan Grow.
For the girls, it wasn't even close. Cuba scored well in almost every event area, but most especially in the field events. Danielle Montoya was the biggest contributor among many amassing points with event titles in the high jump, triple jump, and 300 hurdles.
Note on results from this meet: Due to an absence of first names in the meet results, I've been unable to match performances to athlete pages in many cases. If anyone is willing to send along some help with first names, I'll do what I can to get more results posted to athlete pages. Thanks!
With Bernalillo and Cleveland hosting big meets on the north side of Albuquerque, you wouldn't think there'd be that many area schools remaining for another meet, but Belen still managed to make a good-sized meet out of it.
If Moriarty came with something to prove, they proved it by winning both team titles. But, again, it seems more productive to pay extra attention to individual results than team results at this point in the season. And among the individual results earning a little extra attention were the sweeps of the 100 and 200 by Joshua Burbank (Valencia) and Alexis Lafave (Los Lunas). It's difficult to match raw speed and both Burbank and Lafave stood out among the sprint crowds assembled for this meet. Lafave added a win in the long jump at an eyebrow-raising 16-4 to an already nice day.
Valencia got another dual set of victories from Carisma Lovato, who probably slept well on Saturday night after winning the 400 and 1600.
Moriarty piled up a considerable portion of their points in the hurdle events courtesy of sweeps by Jonathan Myrick and Ashley Thompson. Myrick also nailed down a pole vault title at 9-6 and a triple jump title at 39-9.5, but his hurdle marks were probably the best of his marks on the day.
Regardless of how you weigh the performances, however, this much is clear: we should be hearing and seeing plenty more from several of this meet's top performers as the season develops.
Miyamura joined the small-school crowd assembled at nearby Rehoboth and took both meet titles, but not before getting some solid resistance out of the Ramah girls and Rehoboth boys.
When a freshman boy wins the 200 and 400 at a meet, and I don't care which meet, you have to stand up and take notice. It would appear, though, that AJ Starkovich comes from good stock. At least that's what I usually infer when an athlete has the same last name as the coach. In any case, mark AJ's name down as one to watch in the long sprint events.
Rehoboth's Tyrell Natewa had a nice double in the 1600 and 3200. Zuni's Matt Kallestewa garnered a little attention with a javelin toss of 154-2.
Among the girls, Rehoboth's Jennifer Lewis narrowly missed a triple crown in the distance events, falling short of that distinction by a mere 11 seconds in the 3200. Ramah got dual meet titles out of Jordyn Lewis (high jump, long jump) and Charlie Daniels (shot put, triple jump).