After being postponed a day due to weather, the District 5-4A track and field championship was held at Los Lunas High School on Saturday.
The hosting Tigers came in at first place for the boys and the girls, with 164 and 135.75 points, respectively. Valencia boys placed third with 57 points, Belen placed fifth with 33 points. On the girls’ side, Belen placed second with 114.5 points and Valencia placed fourth with 70 points.
“Across the board, it was a team victory,” said Los Lunas boys head coach Mike Jenrette.
First place Los Lunas boys finishers were junior Andrue Garcia in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes (11.09, 22.81 and 51.44); sophomore Butch Bottini in the 3200-meter run (10:55.93); sophomore Luis Quintana in the 300-meter hurdles (43.32); senior Joseph Prewitt in the pole vault (10 feet, 6 inches); junior Walter Baca in the shot put and discus throw (44 feet, 1 inch and 135 feet, 10 inches); the 4×200-meter relay team (1:31.99); the 4×400-meter relay team (3:37.67); the 1600-meter sprint medley (3:53.49).
Overall, the Tigers will send 16 boys to the state meet this weekend. Jenrette said he doesn’t recall a time that Los Lunas sent more athletes to state.
“We’re getting better and better every week,” said Jenrette. “They peaked at a good time. I think the real difference maker was our throwers. They really dominated at district this year, and that’s something we haven’t seen in a long time.”
First place Los Lunas girls finishers were senior Rebekah Espinoza in the 100-meter dash and 300-meter hurdles (13.06 and 50.92); junior Sandy Quintana in the 400-meter, long jump and triple jump (1:01.6; 15 feet, 5.5 inches; and 33 feet, 10 inches); sophomore Amanda Sparks in the pole vault (8 feet); the 4×100-meter relay team (52.58); the 4×200-meter relay team (1:49.79).
Valencia girls first place finishers were junior Raquel Chavez in the 200- and 800-meter dashes, and the 1600-meter run (22.76, 2:27.14 and 5:34.07); and senior Saydie Moss in the shot put and discus throw (33 feet, 10 inches and 135 feet, 4 inches). Chavez and Moss were the only state qualifiers for the Lady Jaguars.
“We have a really young team this year mostly made up of freshmen and sophomores,” said Valencia head coach John Clafton. “There is always room for improvement. Overall, I thought our kids competed well at the district track meet.”
Valencia boys first place finishers were junior John Leo Kirkpatrick in the 1600-meter run (4:51.38) and senior Austin Nagy in the javelin throw (160 feet, 4 inches). Valencia boys head coach LeDarrius Cage said the Jaguars will send three athletes to state, as junior Tom Houck took second in pole vault.
First place finishers for Belen girls were sophomore Natalie Martinez in the 3200-meter run (12:33.59), junior Samantha Moss in the 100-meter hurdles (18.03) and the 1600-meter sprint medley (4:35.92). The Lady Eagles will send junior Marissa Blair, who finished second in the 400-meter dash, to state with Martinez, Moss and the sprint medley team.
“They’re making improvement and we work hard as a team,” said Belen head coach Joseph R. Garcia. “We want to build a positive team culture as we go into state and into the future. I’m extremely proud of the effort they put forward. All but eight girls scored for the team. It was truly a team effort.”
Belen boys did not have any first place finishers. However, head coach Joseph Garcia was happy with his team’s performance. Garcia said there were many personal records set for his athletes, and that is a sign of improvement.
“I was satisfied with the way the kids ran,” said Garcia. “We’re a young team. We have to take this as a rebuilding year.”
The 4A NMAA Track and Field State Championships will be held May 17-18 at the University of New Mexico.