Horsemen also get stellar efforts from juniors Justin Angel and Justice Johnson, and finished third in the team scoring against a competitive 4A field
By Arnie Leshin
Juniors Justin Angel and Justice Johnson didn’t win anything, but they did make a statement, as did the St. Michael’s boys who finished third in the weekend state 4A track and field championships at the University of New Mexico.
As for Angel, for the second time in two weeks, hewent up against West Las Vegas senior Miguel Coca, and in the 1,600 at the St. Michael’s inaugural Invitation, Coca reeled Angel in on the final turn and won by three seconds, which also qualified runner-up Angel for state.
This past weekend they met up again at state, thistime in both the 1,600 and 3,200. Both times, the smooth–striding Coca was the winner, but Angel stayed with him all the way until the stretch run, and took second both times.
That was Angel’s statement, for this was his best state performance. Last year, he twice won bronze, this time he it was silver. Next year, could be gold in the distances for him.
Angel did not run the 800, but teammate Justice Johnson did, and he got to race with Coca in the finals of the 800. Johnson hung in there until the late kick brought Coca his third title. He was timed in 1:56.18, but right up there in 1:59.19 was second-place Johnson, and they were the only ones to run under two minutes.
That was Johnson’s statement. Not only did he prove he could race against one of the state’s best runners, but he’s also one of the key legs on the relay teams, and was alternate leg on the victorious 4 x 200 quartet. The other alternate was junior Luke Kastendiek.
And so head coach Joey Fernandez teamed senior Shawn Roybal with junior Hayden Lee, junior Sebastian Alcaraz and sophomore Michael Waring. They came in as the top seed, ran 1:30.74 in the preliminaries and 1:30.61 in the finals.
It was a close race, with second place Portales timed in 1:30.91, and sixth place Silver running 1:33.61. All four Horsemen deserve kudos for this.
They and Lady Horsemen senior Lauren Chafins were the only winners from the Santa Fe area, Chafins winning the 400 in 59:31.
For Roybal, he was coming off an awesome five-for-five day at the St. Michael’s Invitational, and at state he concluded by taking second in both the 100 and 200 meters behind Taos junior Jonah Vigil, another one of the finest athletes in the state.
It became a two-man dash down the straightaway and around the oval before Vigil won the century in 11:05 and the 200 in 22:07. Roybal raced 11:33 in the 100 and 23:13 in the 200.
Roybal got his gold with the first place relay team, and made it to the podium four times. Quite a difference from last year when he didn’t qualify for any events, but was the 4 x 400 relay team alternate. He didn’t run and St. Michael’s didn’t medal. Yes, it was quite a turn for the best.
The Horsemen also took third in the sprint medley, fourth in the 4 x 400, and sixth in the 4 x 100. And kudos to senior Joey Fernandez, Jr., who was still hampered by an ACL injury, but managed to throw the javelin 144-09 for fourth place. The injury kept him from any running events, but at least he excited with a medal and a spot on the podium.
In the 400, Vigil ran a state 4A record 47:59 to erase the 48:30 raced by Sean King of Hobbs in 1991. In the prelims, he finished in 48:01. In the 100 and 200, Roybal wasn’t far behind, and he placed fifth (20-10 ½) in the long jump also won by Vigil at 23-2 ¼.
So it was one gold, two silver and one bronze for Roybal, and 54 points that placed St. Michael’s behind Taos and Silver. In the shot put, Horsemen senior Jake Perrault and junior Adrian Balderramos finished fifth and sixth respectively to collect medals.
In the 110 hurdles, Santa Fe Indian School senior Marc Riley finished fifth in 16:24, but didn’t medal in the 300.
In 5A, Capital senior Lucas McNatt failed to win his second-straight state high jump, taking fifth by clearing 6-feet, as did four others who had less faults. He ran fifth in the 100 in 11:28.
In 6A, Santa Fe High senior Theodore Goujon finished sixth in the 100 meters in this, his third year and last chance to medal and step onto the podium. He timed 11:34. In the 200, Demon junior River Edwards dashed second in 22.74. Goujon did not medal here.