A relay team’s greatest fear is dropping the baton. Those fears came true for the Los Lunas High School boys 400-meter relay team on Thursday in a qualifying heat at the state meet held at the University of New Mexico Track and Field Complex.
“It’s one of those things that happens,” said Tiger coach Jeremiah Zamora. “The funny thing is, this past week, I was telling them that it could happen to anybody. But I didn’t think it would happen to us.”
Sophomore Johnny Sanchez started the race, and the first handoff, to senior Bryan Stearley, went smoothly. Zamora said the Tigers were running either first or second and were on pace to possibly break their own school record. But Stearley and sophomore Matt Walker failed to make the exchange. “Personally, I feel it was my fault,” said a dejected Walker. I felt it hit my hand. I should have had the baton.
“I really feel like I’ve devastated the two seniors that we have because this is their last year. I may have two years in front of me, but I let down part of my team.”
The team’s other senior, anchor Chris Potter, watched in horror from 100 meters away and never got the chance to run the last leg.
In other action on Thursday, Maria Liot competed in the girls 800 run. Liot ran a 2:48 in the event, but did not place.
Los Lunas High School athletes had a full slate on Friday. For the boys, Potter was slated to run the 200, Jesus Sedillos the 300 hurdles and Orlando Sanchez the 1600-meter run. For the girls, Marie Cadieux was set to run the 400, Katie Sanchez the 1600, and two relay teams were slated to run. Colleen Page, Cadieux, Jen Schaus and Cassie Sanchez were to run a qualifying heat of the 800 relay.
Page, Cadieux, Schaus and Monica Padilla also formed the medley relay team scheduled to run the day’s last race (no results were available at News-Bulletin press time).
Los Lunas was hoping to have its girls relay teams and Cadieux, Potter and Sedillos run in Saturday’s finals. Page, Padilla and Liot were the only Los Lunas athletes certain to compete on Saturday. Page is in the triple jump at 11 a.m. Padilla and Liot will run the 3200 at 6 p.m.
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