Jazmine Chosa and Piper Mullins were two of the New Mexico athletes enjoying strong performances on Saturday. Photos by Alan Versaw.
It's probably a good thing that New Mexico is the host state of the Great Southwest. Being the state of smalles population on the Great Southwest map, playing host helps to offset some of the disadvantages of population. All things considered, it was a good meet for the home folks, with several Saturday places to add to the sweep of the steeplechase titles on Friday evening.
A lot of folks wondered how Tiffany Garcia would fare against some of the nation's top sprinters. Garcia managed a sixth in the 100 at 12.32 (-1.6), a fifth in the elite 200 at 24.48 (+2.2), and a 10th in the 400 at 56.41. It is a different world when John Haaland and company bring in several of the nation's elite, but Garcia held her own well nevertheless.
But, there was a lot more of New Mexico on the track that Tiffany Garcia. Other individuals earning points for the home state on Saturday would include:
- Avery Rasher, sixth in the 300 hurdles at 38.56
- Carisma Lovato, sixth in the mile at 5:12.89, to add to her contribution in Friday's steeplechase
- Kelli Reagan, Noel Prandoni, and Rachel Fledderman, third, fifth, and sixth, respectively in the 3200, marking something of a Saturday high water mark for New Mexico
- Justin Kerstetter, sixth in the boys 3200
- Kayli Farmer, tied for fourth in the high jump at a PR height of 5-6
- Merica Valdez, sixth in the pole vault
- Jazmine Chosa, fourth in the shot put
- Mike Budick, third in the boys shot
- Beau Clafton, third in the javelin
and, missing placing postion but coming close with nice marks were:
- Isaiah McIntyre with a 45-3.5 in the triple jump (a PR for the Las Cruces jumper, although this was officially a wind-aided mark)
- Piper Mullins with a 124-4 in the javelin
For many of these athletes, this meet represented closure--or at least in-state closure--for some remarkable high school careers. Others showed they have much to look forward to in the remainder of their high school careers.
While the participation count made places more difficult than ever to earn, the number of athletes present did indicate the strength of the Great Southwest concept. While some similar post-season meets have struggled to maintain their market share, Great Southwest has demonstrated that their concept is alive and well. We may, however, have to find a way to turn down the heat on Great Southwest weekend.