Metro Championships Blown in La Cueva's Direction


The 2012 track and field season is winding down quickly.  The large school state championships are just two weeks away, and all of those schools will be locked in at their respective district championships next weekend at meets that feature just four of five teams.  The proximity of the season’s end gives an added sense of urgency to every opportunity.
The big winners at the Metro Championships were the Bears of La Cueva High School, who claimed both team titles.   On the boys side, they made it look easy.  The final margin was 101-69 over second place Volcano Vista. 
On the girls side, however, the Lady Bears had a greater challenge – their archrivals from Eldorado High School.  The Eagles had swooped in and taken the team title at the Harper Invitational a week earlier.  La Cueva turned the tables this weekend, claming the title and the ‘Big Trophy’ that accompanies it, by a margin of 94-70.  
The two-day meet featured some signature showdowns and some signature weather.  Thursday’s preliminaries (and finals of the 3200) were marked by traditional Albuquerque spring winds.  Although, officially, the winds were considered to be only 30 MPH or so, rumors flew that gusts reached the 70 mph barrier.  Regardless, the weather was enough to knock over the hurdles, forcing timed finals of the girls’ 100m hurdles and 300m hurdles into the fairer weather that Friday offered.  
Those two events ended up spotlighting a couple of Albuquerque’s biggest stars.  Eldorado’s Gina Okoye narrowly edged La Cueva’s Kaylin Martin in the 100m edition.  It was another nail-biter photo finish between the two, who could potentially show-down twice more this season, as they both compete in the same district and state classification.  
The 300m edition was an easy victory for Sandia Prep senior Krista Armstead, who has been one of the state’s best 300 hurdlers for years, but has made few appearances in the event so far this spring. 
The girls’ high-point individual award went to Okoye, who was responsible for 18 of Eldorado’s points.  
The boys 3200 in the brutal wind will have to be considered for race-of-the-season-that’s-awesome-in-person-but-looks-terrible-on-paper.  And, boy, does it look bad on paper.  The race featured zero athletes who ran state qualifying times, and the winning time was a pedestrian 10:19 by Zac Castillo of Volcano Vista.  The runner up was Jackson Thomas of  Del Norte – yep, the same Jackson Thomas who covered the distance in 9:22 a week ago.  
Castillo simply ran a tactically perfect race.  By ducking in behind the taller Thomas, Castillo allowed the wind and blowing sand to tire out his opponent and sprinted past Thomas to victory in the final 100 meters.  
Officially, the boys high-point award was presented to Chris Kline from West Mesa High School, the city champion in the 200m and 400m dashes.  The former represented one of the meet’s best showdowns, as Kline edged Daniel Cones from Sandia 22.57 to 22.58.  It might have been even closer than that – spectators had to wait to see who was escorted to the top of the podium to know which athlete finished on top.
Regarding the boys high-point award, although it was announced as Kline’s, there was still some confusion in the meet’s waning moments about whether or not he was, in fact, the high-point man.  
Mustafa “Moose” Mudada from Highland was another double event winner (both hurdles), and was believed by some to have added more points from relays than Kline.  Once official results become available, the debate can be ended, but it could come down to a fraction of a point in one direction or the other.