Tigers travel to Anthony for District 3-5A track & field meet

With just a handful of athletes already qualified for next weekend’s Class 5A state high school track and field meet, the Los Lunas Tigers are hoping to add a few more names to the list when they compete at the District 3-5A meet at Anthony Gadsden on Saturday.

“We hope so,” said Tiger boys coach Avilio Chavez. “The thing is, we have a lot of young kids who may not be ready yet but potentially will be some good kids in future.”

So far, only senior hurdler Jesus Sedillos and the 400-meter relay team of sophomores Johnny Sanchez and Matt Walker and seniors Bryan Stearley and Chris Potter have state meet invitations in hand, by virtue of surpassing state qualifying times.

But more invites will be handed out Saturday. The top two placers in each event at the district meet also earn their way to the state meet to be held May 9-11 at the University of New Mexico track and field complex. The Tigers are hoping to snatch a few of those spots here and there.

“It looks like maybe, judging from the numbers, Jason or Chris Gallegos might have a chance to qualify in the pole vault,” Chavez said.

Last week at the Jim Burke Qualifier at Belen, Jason cleared 11-feet and placed second. His younger brother Chris was third at 10-6.

“Then there’s Orlando Sanchez, who is an experienced runner,” Chavez continued, “and Danny Kastelic has come a long way and may qualify in some event.”

Sanchez, the district’s cross-country individual champion, has been focusing on the 1600. Kastelic will give it his best shot in the 400 and long jump.

The coach said Aaron Padilla might be the Tigers’ best chance in the 3200, and Joseph Sandoval will make a run for state in the 800.

The Tiger boys have perhaps their best chance of adding names through relay events. Though they were not up against as swift of competition as they’ll meet in Anthony, Los Lunas won all four relays last Saturday at Belen.

Coach Chavez said the 800 relay team, made up of Billy Chavez, Stearley, Walker and Potter, stands a good chance of qualifying. And the medley relay team of Johnny Sanchez, Walker, Joseph Sandoval and Orlando Sanchez could grab a spot.

In addition, Potter, who qualified for state last year in the 200-meter dash, stands a good chance of qualifying in the 100 and 200 this year. Two weeks ago, Potter missed qualifying in the 100 by .05 seconds.

Sedillos, who will run the 300 hurdles at state, will attempt to add the 110 hurdles and the triple jump to his state meet agenda. Last week in Belen, Sedillos traversed 40 feet in the triple jump to establish a new school record.

The Lady Tigers have yet to qualify an athlete for the state meet but have come close.

Two weeks ago, freshman Tiffanie Phillips came within five inches of the qualifying mark in the shot put with a throw of 35-1.

Last week in Belen, Katie Sanchez was just two seconds off qualifying when she won the 1600. Freshman Monica Padilla, who placed sixth at the state cross country meet last fall, won both the 800 and 3200 and should contend for one of the top two spots at the district meet in those events.

Lady Tiger head coach Tara Trujillo said the distance runners could run faster times if pushed.

“They were running alone (in Belen), and it’s hard to run a good time when you’re out there by yourself like that,” she said.

Trujillo said the Lady Tiger sprinters, though young, have showed signs of maturing during the season. “Everybody’s improving,” she said. “Their times keep going down every week, and that’s all you can ask for.”

The coach said the Lady Tiger relay teams could be a surprise at district. The Lady Tigers won three of the four relay events last week. The 800 relay team may have the best chance of qualifying this week. Marie Cadieux, Colleen Page, Cassie Sanchez and Jen Schaus won last week’s race in 1:50.73, knocking three seconds off their previous best time.

The Los Lunas track and field teams don’t figure to compete for the district title — Alamogordo is the favorite in both the girls and boys divisions. But the Tigers will be out to make a good showing and earn a few more state meet invitations.

Eagles hope to pass test at District 3-4A meet at Academy

The Belen High School track and field athletes will get their last chance to qualify for next week’s Class 4A state meet on Saturday when they attend the District 3-4A track meet in Albuquerque.

A few Eagles have already beaten the qualifying mark in their respective events.

Not only qualified for a trip to state, but heavily favored, is Jace Rivera, who will be looking to win his fourth-straight shot put title. Rivera is also qualified in the discus. He’s placed second and third at state in the discus the last two years. His last chance to win may be his best. Rivera is throwing the disk better than ever, now surpassing 160 feet fairly regularly.

Also qualified for the state tournament on the boys’ side is the 400-meter relay team of Robert Rimorin, Derick Jaramillo, Nick Carter and Rodney Harrison. The boys will also be shooting to qualify in the 800 meter relay.

“If they run well, they definitely have a shot at doing well in the meet and at state,” Eagle boys’ head coach Kevin Benavidez said of his relay team.

Jaramillo, a sophomore, is also state qualified in the triple jump.

The Belen boys will have 25 athletes on hand to compete at the district tournament in an attempt to get more people qualified for the state meet.

On the girls’ side, sophomore Joceyln Chavez qualified for the state meet in the high jump at the first meet of the year. Chavez has already cleared 5-3 in the high jump. She is also qualified in the triple jump. Her best mark this season is 34-11, over a foot better than the qualifying mark.

Two Lady Eagle pole vaulters are already set for state — junior Jessica Braswell and sophomore Alicia Taylor. Braswell has been the Lady Eagles highest flier, clearing 9-2.

Sophomore Stephanie Sanchez has also qualified in the javelin, with a throw of 106-8.

The girls have a shot at qualifying at least two relays, the 400 and 800 relays. The Lady Eagles are just over a second off the state qualifying time in the 400 and about four seconds off in the 800.

Lady Eagles first-year head coach Jim Edwards said Saturday’s meet is the most important meet of the year, next to the state meet. Edwards is taking 22 girls with him to the district meet.

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T.S. Last
Tony McClary