In the stretch run of her splendid five years of athletics at St. Michael’s, senior Jocelyn Fernandez adds the javelin in Monday’s Marilyn Sepulveda track and field classic at UNM
Lady Horsemen junior Lauren Chafins runs personal-best, school-record in 400 but settles for fourth place
By Arnie Leshin | April 18, 2017
You’d think that the state’s number one female athlete would be slowing down as she winds up her remarkable high school career.
After all, senior Jocelyn Fernandez of St. Michael’s had already accomplished her usual, soccer and football in the fall, basketball in the winter, and now she’s down to “just” softball and track and field.
But she’s still going strong, in the annual Marilyn Sepulveda Memorial Track and Field Classic held at the University of New Mexico.
With a softball game at home Saturday and a track and field meet the same day at Taos, she turned her attention to an event she’s won once in four tries. She let loose with a personal-best throw of 129-06 to add this to her victory parade over the last five years.
The state javelin record in 4A is 136-04, and that’s her goal when the state championships are held in May at UNM.
“My goal today was 130,” she said, “but I still think 135 is possible. I’ve never done it, not even in practice, but the potential’s there, I think.”
Why not? She’s only gotten better over her last few attempts. She’s come up with a previous best at 119-02 to handily winning the event a week late.
Only Roswell Goddard sophomore Bailey Beene offered much competition in taking second at 125 feet, a personal-best for her. The rest of the eight in the field weren’t nearly that close.
St. Michael’s arrived with a number of qualifiers. There were sophomores Violet Eklund and Justin Angel, junior Lauren Chafins, and seniors Amanda Marborough and Esteban Alcaraz.
From Santa Fe High, there was freshman Riannah Varela, junior Theodore Goujon, and senior Mateo Martinez. From Santa Fe Prep, there was senior Elizabeth Whiting, and from Santa Fe Indian School, freshman Iris Emery.
Chafins, the defending state champion in the 400, and Alcaraz, who was disqualified in his heat at state last year after being favored to win the 300 hurdles, did not win, but ran an impressive time.
Chafins, one of two 4A entries in the 200 and 400 meters, came upon a talented field in the 400, and even a personal-best, school-record 0:56.89 could only get her fourth place.
The winner was Albuquerque Del Norte senior Malakah Martinez in a swift 55.32, second was Ruidoso senior Shalom Keller, the other 4A runner, in 55.37, and she will remain the biggest threat at state for Chafins.
Injured and sidelined last season, Keller also showed her speed in the 200 by taking second in 25.18. Here, Chafins’ 26:32 brought her eighth place in a race won by Rio Rancho Cleveland junior Aphiniti Caupper in 25:12.
Alcaraz, again favored to win the longer hurdles at state, ran a personal-best 40:92 that was good for fourth place as the lone 4A entry. The winner was Alamogordo senior Alex Alton in 39:57, Clovis senior Leroy Wilson was next in 39:93, and third was Rio Rancho High sophomore Noah Fay in 40 seconds flat. Alcaraz was the lone 4A entry.
Young Eklund, off a strong cross country campaign, had to settle for eighth place in the time of 13:09.22 in the 3,200. First went to Taos senior Elizabeth Reyes in 11:52.68, and the runner-up in 11:57.15 was Los Alamos senior Zoe Hemez.
In the discus, Marborough came away with sixth place on a throw of 100-6, with Silver senior Aysia Sales topping the field at 124-3, along with winning the shot put at 39-55.
Angel and Luttrell did the distances. The latter placed seventh in the 1,600 in 4:39.44, and Angel ninth in the 3,200 in 10:08.10. Hobbs senior Andrew Bosquez ran away with first place in the 1,600 in 4:21.20, and in the 3,200, it was East Mountain senior Isiah Padilla victorious in 9: 40.45.
But Angel wasn’t that far out of his race. There first three ran under 10 minutes, and fourth went to Rio Rancho High senior Devin Paredes in 10:01.37. The fifth and sixth place runners turned in times of 10:04.32 and 10:07.45, respectively, and Angel was right behind them.
Santa Fe Prep’s Whiting did the 800 and Griffins’ head coach Tove Shere said that the senior was excited to have qualified. Whiting ran a sixth-place 2:25.18 in a race won by Albuquerque High sophomore Alicia Meraz-Fishbein in 2:17.73. Ninth in 2:30.54 was Emery of Indian School.
Goujon, who qualified for state in the 100 and 200 meters last year, has made a vast improvement but his time of 11:43 in the 100 was good for sixth place, and in the 200, he sped 23:13 for the seventh spot.
First in the 100 in 10:99 was Albuquerque Volcano Vista senior David Cormier, and in the 200, it was Taos sophomore Jonah Vigil victorious in 21:87.
In the pole vault, Martinez, quite the versatile athlete, went over at 12 feet for fifth place in an event won at 15 feet by Los Alamos senior Liam Johnson. He won on fewer misses over Onate junior Burgin Foster.
Varela is young and an upcoming threat in the triple jump. This time, she lined up against a field of seniors and juniors and her 34-6.5 could bring only eighth place. Los Alamos senior Elizabeth Lockhart was first as she soared 37-9.
But Fernandez was only after the top spot in her event, and she succeeded by applying her strength, determination, and will to win to do so.
This after playing with an bandaged injured thumb in soccer, playing varsity football for the first time (converted 9-of-9 point-after kicks, 10-of-11 overall, scored the state’s second-ever touchdown by her gender), was again the leading player on the basketball team (scored a girl’s school-record 48 points as a junior), and is now playing the outfield in softball, and in quest of another state javelin title.
No doubt the accomplishment of someone named the state’s finest girl’s athlete.
The top athlete at the meet was Vigil. He won the 200, the 400 and the long jump. In the 400, he dashed 51 seconds, and in the long jump he went 22-11.5.
The 800 winner in 1:58.25 was Grants senior Michael Anzures.
Espanola Valley senior Curtis Antoin took the triple jump at 44-9, the javelin went to Albuquerque Academy senior Jackson Morris with a throw of 199-5, the high jump went to Hobbs senior Zach Marshall at seven feet,
Onate senior Forrest McKee the shot put at 53-8, and the 110 hurdles was won by Rio Rancho senior Josh Foley in 15:42.
No one was close to Marshall, as the runner-up jumped only 6-2. The same in the discus and javelin, where both winners won handily.
In the girl’s pole vault, it was Albuquerque Sandia Prep senior Morgan Crotta going over at 10-6 to claim the event. In the high jump, it was Taos’ sophomore Faith Powell first at 5-6, and the long jump had Cleveland junior Caitlin winning at 17-11. The 100 hurdles victor in 15:04 was Albuquerque St. Pius X junior Haley Rizek, who also took the 300 hurdles in 44:55.