Josh Davis of Farmington may be emerging as the face of the future of NM hurdling.
Two days ago, we took a look at the early leaders among New Mexico's girls here. Today, we take a very similar look at what we found out about the New Mexico boys this past weekend.
We'll start with a disclaimer. Nothing herein is meant to imply that all the individuals mentioned here will end up competing at state. Most will, but there's plenty of season left. Some who are leaders now will get passed as the season moves along. And that's part of what makes track and field so much fun.
We didn't see nearly all of New Mexico's top athletes in action this past weekend. To be sure, we saw some--many, even--but others compete for teams that weren't in action last weekend, still have a few games of basketball left, or simply sat out the first weekend of action.
We can only talk about what we did see, so here goes:
Deming's Ceazer Chavez jumped on an opportunity to compete in a weekend when Andrue Garcia wasn't. And, as a result, Chavez has a nice early lead on the 100 field. Not far, but still at a respectful distance, are Josh Bennett of Sandia Prep and Isaiah Griffin of St. Pius X. After that, things started getting a bit more congested. Nobody broke 11 last weekend, but there are signs that may not be far off.
Griffin was well ahead of the field at 200 meters. His 22.14 is an extremely good first-meet-out-of-the-gate mark. Chavez checked in a distant second. Tommy Lujan and Logan Hoyer, both of Rio Rancho, were the only others under 23 seconds.
Ethan Culliver retained his lead on the 400 meter field through last weekend, though he did not improve his time with a second weekend of action. So far, Centennial's Cy Turner is the only other one under 52 seconds, but you can feel the dam about to burst on this one. Perhaps this weekend...
Well, actually, Keilan Jones of Rio Rancho was likely under 52 seconds as well. Officially, his time was 52.00, but FAT converts anything from 51.991 to 52.000 to 52 seconds. So, we'll go with three under 52 on a technicality (of which track and field has a few).
We're seeing a healthy amount of early action under two minutes in the 800. Jerrick Maldonado, first on the leader board last week, was joined by teammate TJ Gregg this week. Maldonado is at 1:57.56 and Gregg at 1:59.01. Let's just say it's impressive for any one school to have two under two minutes this early. It could be a fun year at Clovis if both stay healthy.
Joining the sub-2 party was Osaze Williams of Las Cruces. There will be more soon, but for now it's a rather exclusive club.
Gregg and Maldonado exchange positions at 1600 meters. Also under 4:40 are Triston Charles (you should recognize that name) of Piedra Vista, Aiden Jarvis of Alamogordo, and Angel Anchondo of Santa Teresa. It could be a great year shaping up at 1600 meters.
Gonzalo Reyes of ATC leads the small-school crowd at 4:45.
It's not your player getting stuck on the same track, it really is Gregg and Maldonado 1-2 again at 3200 meters. Just missing breaking 10 minutes, but checking in at 3 and 4 are another pair of teammates: Eric Scharton and Rendon Kuykendall of Hope Christian.
No word yet on whether we'll see a rush of performances from some of the state's traditional distance powers. Clovis is clearly out in front of the game right now, but there's a lot of season left (assuming, that is, that the season doesn't get shut down).
Dallin Mangelson of Kirtland Central is a not-unexpected leader in the 110s at this point. He'll have company as soon as Connor O'Toole sets foot on the track, but for now he's the lone ranger under 16 seconds. Interestingly, the current top four are all from San Juan County--in addition to Mangelson, it's Josh Davis of Farmington, Ethan Pierro of Kirtland Central, and Ethan Beevers of Bloomfield. And a shout out to Davis, who is only a sophomore!
We'll see how long that scenario can last. There are more good hurdlers in the state than we saw this past weekend, so expect some movement this weekend.
Mangelson, Beevers, Davis, and Pierro put in appearances of the 300 meter hurdles list as well, but this time at 4, 5, 6, and 7. Taking up the first three places are Jordan Spencer of Rio Rancho (and getting precariously close to a sub-40 in the process), Kenyon Mosley of Bloomfield (and there goes San Juan County again!), and Bryson Kangas of Alamogordo. So far, the top three are the only ones under 41 seconds.
You'll hear this from me more than once this spring, but low sand conditions in (especially) the long jump pit and (secondarily) the triple jump pit can mess a little with the order of the rankings in these events. There's not much you or I can do about that, though, except just to be aware of it. The state meet has a way of evening those kind of things out.
That said, it's not really all that surprising to see Josh Bennett way out in front of the long jump crowd with a first-weekend mark of 22-5.5. Ladies and gentlemen, that's a nice jump. Harlen Gilbert of Alamogordo is the only other one out beyond 21 feet with a 21-10, but there are seven more at 20 feet or better. Expect that number to double, or better, this weekend.
Ethan Rashap's 20-0 is a solid 3A mark and currently has him a distant second to Josh Bennett in the small-school category. Rashap has sole possession of the small-school lead in the triple jump, however, at 41-2.5.
It looked like a great match-up between Jordan Spencer and Lucas Aspen All-Stier in the Chile Quad triple jump. And it was a good match-up with last weekend's advantage going to All-Stier at 44-2. Taking a little luster off the prize, however, with the fact that Kayden Gonzalez of Farmington ended up going 44-3.75 for the statewide lead after the weekend.
It's nice to note there are already 10 guys out beyond 40 feet. And yet, that number, too, will grow this weekend.
Jordan Spencer took a bit of a hit in the triple jump on opening weekend, but a 6-6 in the high jump has a way of making up for that. And, that 6-6 is more than good enough for the state lead. William Harper of Los Alamos went 6-4, while three others cleared six foot or slightly better.
I will confess right now that I'm needing some clarity on understanding the height progressions around the state in the high jump. It would appear to my untrained eye that they were not always following regular set intervals. Can somebody explain?
It was Pacer Hill last week. And it's Pacer Hill again this week, only this time with six more inches. 14 feet is the new standard.
Traise Cain of Portales was next at 12-8. Only two more got 12 feet or more. It was not a record-setting weekend in the pole vault. We'll look for bigger clearances this weekend.
Discus didn't get off to an enormous state, but we do have two out beyond 140 after last weekend. Philip Blidi of Portales and Jaylan Smith of Rio Rancho are those two. Blidi had the frustrating distinction of coming up one inch shy of 150 feet.
Kayden Lococo of Alamogordo (have we been mentioning that school name a lot here?) and Tyler Lyon of Albuquerque Academy were the only other two beyond 130. As I said, it wasn't an auspicious weekend for the spinning of the platter.
Shot put was a little better. Tyler Lyon is, thus far, the only one beyond 50 with a 50-11 to open his season. Nipping at 50 are Zecheriah Gonzales of Clovis, Shane Sargent of Alamogordo, and Blidi of Portales.
We go back to the northwest corner of the state for javelin highlights. The top three, and the only three beyond 150, are all from those parts. Ian Thomas of Kirtland Central leads the parade at 170-7. Close behind is Jesse Andis of Crownpoint at 169-4. Andis thus doubles as our small-school leader at this point. Corbin Harper of Piedra Vista rounds out the top three at 156-1.
As with the girls relays, we'll note that it's difficult to say a lot about relays this early. Many of the teams competing weren't yet running full complements of relays legs. Many more teams weren't even competing yet. And, almost nobody has a clear idea yet of what their relay compositions will be.
So, about all we can do is point to a few performances and say, "Wow, that was a nice opener!" and move on.
Alamogordo doubled as the fastest 4x200 time, and that by about two seconds at 1:31.88. Nobody is in the same zip code as the Tigers right now.
Clovis has clocked a 3:27-and-change for the 4x400, giving the Wildcats almost two seconds of lead there. You may have already guessed that Alamogordo is currently second.
And for the SMR, also known as a second event for your stud 800 runner, Onate has better than a second of advantage on Sandia for the very early state lead. Alamogordo, which has a stud 800, is one of five other schools under four minutes in the very early going.
Santa Fe Indian School's 4:01.47 is impressively far ahead of the rest of the small schools at this time.
That's what we have from here and for now. You probably all already know that the state association did with attendance at state playoff basketball games. We'll wait and see what they deem best for track and field. Right now, a lot of things are up in the air.