Looking back on the Duke City All-Comers

Noel Prandoni appears to have taken her first-ever win over Kelli Reagan in Saturday night's 3200. MileSplit New Mexico file photo.

If you didn't know better, you'd swear that the University of New Mexico did someting different on Saturday night. Wait a minute, they did do something different--they lowered the entry fee to $1 per event and $4 per relay.

And the result of that would appear to be a significant spike in attendance. The same entry fees, by the way, apply this weekend for the New Mexico Open. So perhaps this is how high school indoor track and field grows legs in New Mexico?

In any case, it was a very well-attended meet on Saturday night at the Albuquerque Convention Center. And, better than well-attended, there were a few nice performances coming out of the meet.

For the second weekend in a row, Aaron Valenzuela chased an out-of-stater all the way to the finish line and a nice time. This time it was Eric Hamer out of Colorado at 10:00, followed by Valenzuela at 10:01. If Valenzuela can keep his legs underneath him, he could be headed to a big season on the track.

Hamer's teammates from Monument, Colorado, also won the 60 hurdles (Evan Malin, 7.82) and the 200 (Caleb Ojennes, 22.98). Colorado's Chris Youngs nipped Hunter Ferguson, 7.25 to 7.26 in the 60.

In girls' competition, Akeisha Ayanniyi went for the trifecta, winning the 60 (8.21), the 200 (27.32), and the long jump (5.02m, 16-5.75). That qualifies as an evening of substance. If you were out and about, searching for an athlete of the meet, hopefully her name crossed your mind, even if you may have been uncertain about the spelling.

Jessica Cusick out of Bayfield, Colorado, won the two-lapper with a time of 1:02.56. She appears to be steadily working that time down as the indoor season progresses. 

The girls 2 mile provided one of the better showdowns of the evening as Noel Prandoni edged Kelli Reagan, 11:35 to 11:40. That was certainly not an outcome we ever saw during cross country season, so this one has some eyebrows levitated. Stay tuned to see what develops next. Prandoni, however, met her match in Jackie Katzman at 800 meters. At 1600 meters, the twins Kelly successfully kept Carisma Lovato from breaking up their 1-2 party in the mile, but not by much. 

As of this moment, I'm looking at Tiffany Garica, Akeisha Ayanniyi, and Noel Prandoni and thinking Santa Fe just might be a threat in 4A girls this spring.

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