ALBUQUERQUE — With the NMAA State Track and Field Championships set for this weekend, Los Lunas and Belen expect to be competitive following last weeks’ district meets.
Despite having several athletes disqualified for being entered in too many distance races, both the Los Lunas boys and girls won team titles at the District 5-5A track championship at Wilson Stadium.
Belen came in second at Sandia Prep for both boys and girls in District 5-4A.
For the LLHS girls, McKaylee Burt was first in long jump, sprint medley relay and second in three events. Other district winners are Emmalee Jones, high jump; Alessandra Castillo, javelin; and the sprint medley relay team of Dominique Armijo, Kori Robinson, McKaylee Burt and Tessa Jaramillo.
District champions for the boys include Lorenzo Ibarra, 110 hurdles; Rashaud Cordova, 300 hurdles; Jacob Prewitt, pole vault and Josepha Trujillo, shot put.
A controversy developed for LLHS when two male and one female athlete were disqualified for competing in one too many distance races.
Sally Marquez, New Mexico Activities Association executive director, told the News-Bulletin athletes are only eligible to run in three races 400 meters and longer.
Rodney Leal, LLHS coach, said he takes responsibility for the error.
“I misinterpreted the rule,” Leal said. “It was an honest mistake — it’s really unfortunate.”
One of the athletes, a senior boy, finished as district runner-up in the 800, 1600 and 3200 meters, but he is not eligible in those events for the state meet because of the disqualification.
The athlete and one teammate previously qualified for state in two other events and are eligible to compete in those events at state.
The female athlete, a senior, will not compete at state after her disqualification at district.
“It was a mistake on my part and how I entered those events,” Leal reiterated. “I don’t want anything to take away from the kids. They worked hard for it.”
In the District 5-4A boys meet, Belen’s Nathan Sanchez was dominating, winning four events on his way to Male District Athlete of the Year
honors. Sanchez won the 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters, triple jump and was fourth in the long jump. Jesse Vasquez was first for the Eagles in triple jump.
The BHS girls had champions in four events; Madison Cox, 100 meters; Lisette Sanchez, 3200 meters; Anida Clayton, shot put and 4 x 200 meter relay with Emma Chavez, Emma Urbanski, Jhatziry Perez and Shauncey Cordova.
The Valencia Jaguars also competed in the District 5-4A championship. Ali Abdullah won the boys high jump and Mac Piper captured the pole vault. For the VHS girls, Isabella Vigil is the district champ in pole vault.
The Track & Field State Championships will be Friday and Saturday at UNM Track-Soccer Complex.
Mike Powers spent more than 40 years as a television news and sports anchor, mostly in the Albuquerque market. He has won numerous awards including New Mexico Sportscaster of the Year. He covers a wide range of sports, including the Valencia County prep scene.