The Los Lunas High School track and field team more than doubled its number of entries for this week’s Class 5A state meet, after a good showing at the District 3-5A meet at Anthony Gadsden on Saturday.
“We really came through. That was the best meet all year for all of us,” said Lady Tiger head coach Tara Trujillo. “We ended up second, which I think, for a lot of people, was a shock to see.”
Alamogordo won both the girls and boys meet. The Los Lunas boys placed fourth out of five schools.
But most significantly, the Tigers increased their total number of state meet qualifiers from five to 13. Athletes earn their way to state by breaking qualify times during the season or placing in the top two at the district meet.
The Lady Tigers, who didn’t have a qualifier headed into the meet, came out with seven who will participate in the state meet to be held Thursday through Saturday at the University of New Mexico Track and Field Complex.
“I’m excited to take this many — not so much this many girls, but this many events,” coach Trujillo said.
The Lady Tigers will have representatives in seven different events. Taking first place at district were sophomores Maria Liot and Colleen Page. Liot won the 3200 in a time of 12:42. Page was first in the triple jump, covering 31-1.
The Lady Tigers’ medley relay team of Page, Marie Cadieux, Jen Schaus and Monica Padilla also took first place, finishing in a time of 4:30.74.
Cadieux, Page and Padilla will participate in three events each at state. Earning their way by placing second at district were Cadieux in the 400 and Padilla in the 800 and 3200. Page will also run the 800 relay with Cadieux, Schaus and Cassie Sanchez.
Cassie’s twin sister, Katie, found her own way to state by placing second in a photo finish of the 1600 in a time of 5:50.50. “Katie ran the race of her life,” Trujillo said. “She ran a 2:30 split, which she hadn’t done all year.”
Los Lunas will send a pair of milers to state. On the boys side, senior Orlando Sanchez placed second in the 1600. He will join senior hurdler Jesus Sedillo and the 400 relay team of Johnny Sanchez, Bryan Stearley, Matt Walker and Chris Potter as Los Lunas’ other state-bound boys.
Potter also added another event by placing second in the 200, an event he also qualified in a year ago. He crossed the line in 22.6 seconds.
Los Lunas doesn’t expect to have anyone challenge for a state title. “We’re young,” said boys head coach Avilio Chavez. “Next year will be real chance to make a run for a district championship. We’ll be real balanced between the field and running events.”
Trujillo’s Lady Tiger team is also extremely young. All of the girls she’s sending to state are sophomores or freshmen, except for Cadieux, who is a junior.
“We’re just hoping to get our feet wet because they’re all so young,” she said. “Both our relays are seeded ninth, but their times are right there. For us to make the finals would be a really big step.”
Even the girls don’t expect much from themselves. “I don’t expect to do much in the triple jump,” Page said. “But our relays might do OK. We cut seven seconds off our best time in the medley, which is a lot for a relay.”
“I ran at state last year, and I was last,” Liot said. “That’s my goal — not to get last again.”