Sophomore Jocelyn Chavez joined senior Jace Rivera as a state champion and state record holder from Belen High School Saturday, winning the Class 4A high jump.
Chavez, who jumped 5-4 at the Greater Southwest Championships a year ago, cleared 5-2 to win the title this year. Farmington’s Sarah Lacey and Jillian Erickson of Los Alamos also cleared 5-2, but Chavez won the championship by virtue of clearing the height in fewer attempts.
“I’ve cleared 5-4 before, but I’m not at all disappointed with today,” Chavez said afterwards. “I’m just really excited that I won.”
The Eagles captured state titles all three days of the New Mexico State High School Track and Field Meet at the University of New Mexico Track and Field Complex. Rivera won his fourth-straight shot put title on Thursday and followed that with his first state championship in the discus on Friday.
Like Rivera, Chavez could be a multi-year state champion before her career is over. Chavez still has two more years and could add to the list and possibly set a couple of state records in the high jump in her junior and senior years.
“She can still work on her approach, and she will get better,” Lady Eagle head coach Jim Edwards said. “But she did great.”
Chavez also had a good showing in the triple jump, placing second. Her mark of 34-10.5 was a little less than six inches short of Albuquerque Academy’s Tiffany Ung.
Chavez’s second place finish was the only disappointing part of the day for the sophomore jumper.
“She wanted to do better,” Edwards said. “She wanted to win both, but I’m really proud of how well she did.”
In the boys triple jump, Derick Jaramillo failed to qualify for the finals and was a little confused by the outcome.
“I thought they took 10 guys to the finals, but I guess not,” Jaramillo said. “I just really wasn’t feeling it today. I thought I was, after we got second in the (400 relay), and I was pretty psyched, but I didn’t do very well. Maybe I wasn’t stretching enough.”
Jaramillo is still optimistic about his chances in the triple jump and expects to do better next year.
“Coach says he thinks I can jump a 46, and I think I can, too,” Jaramillo said. “I just need to work on my jumping more in practice.”
Belen’s 400 relay, which included Jaramillo, Nick Carter, Robert Rimorin and Rodney Harrison, ran a 43.43 in the finals to finish second behind Albuquerque Academy. The team came into the meet ranked eighth in the event.
“We came out of nowhere,” Jaramillo said. “Nobody even expected us to make the finals, but we showed everyone.
“Nick (Carter) really got out of the blocks well, and, after I ran my leg and Robert (Rimorin) ran his, we were leading the pack. But Academy had a really fast anchor man.”
The addition of Rimorin, who was placed on the team late in the season, is what really made the difference for the team, according to Jaramillo. However, even without Rimorin, Jaramillo predicts an even better showing next year.
“I think we can win it (the 400-meter relay) next year. We will be losing Robert, but I think we’ll only get faster,” he said.
The boys 400-meter relay pushed the team up to eighth place with 23.5 points. Albuquerque Academy won the meet with 93 points, followed by Deming with 52 and Moriarty with 39.
The girls team finished in a tie for seventh with Silver, each with 20 points. Academy also won the girls meet with 98. Farmington was second with 61, edging Los Alamos by a point.
In addition to Chavez, the Lady Eagles got fine performances from two other underclassmen — eighth-grader Keita Torres and junior Jessica Braswell.
Torres surprised a lot of people and gave the Lady Eagles hope for more state champions in the future. She qualified in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, and made the finals in both. Torres, who was running her first ever state meet, picked up points for her team by placing fourth in the 100 and fifth in the 200.
“This is great experience for her (Torres),” Edwards said. “I am very excited about her future. She did great this year.”
Braswell placed fourth in the pole vault, clearing 9-0. Teammate Alicia Taylor, a sophomore, did not place.