By Arnie Leshin
Can the St. Michael’s boys come through for the first time and win a state track and field championship? The girls have won four in a 4-year run from 2004-2007, and the Horsemen would like to hold up their own “Blue Trophy”
It’s a strong St. Michael’s squad that will be on display at the Friday and Saturday championships at the University of New Mexico facility. There are some finals on Friday, and plenty of preliminaries. Unless of a tie, Saturday’s final event, the 4 x 400 relay, will pass the baton around 6 p.m. and the winning schools will be known.
If there’s a tie, and there have been some, the officials will piece the results together and usually rely on which team has more first places. But that final event usually has the crowd on its feet, for it has been many times at state when this was the stick-pass that accounted for the standings.
As for St. Michael’s, it has won two-straight meets, the one it hosted for the second time, and the district 2-3A championships. The Lady Horsemen have some underclassmen to be watched, and the Horsemen will be counting on seniors, three of whom are off the basketball team that was ranked first in 3A and then bowed out in the state quarterfinals.
And they are Derek McQuiston, Hayden Lee, Dominic Morgan, and it’s a versatile trio entered in more than one event, and also will be running some relay legs. Other seniors are Justin Angel, who been hampered by a fractured fibia since last summer, and will make this his final run as he qualified for the 800 and 1,600.
Then there’s shot putter Adrian Balderramos, who has the longest throw in the rankings and who suffered through many injuries that led up to his quest for state honors. Sebastian Alcaraz would like nothing better than to pick up medals in the 3,200 and triple jump.
Justice Johnson is a senior with the best time in the 800, qualifying at 1:58.19. Angel has the fourth-fastest time of 2:02.95. And Johnson has the third-best clocking in the 3,200. And the Horsemen are stacked in all four relays, with the best time in the 1,600 sprint medley and the second-fastest in the other three – the 4 x 100, 4 x 200 and 4 x 400.
The Santa Fe Prep boys will bank on seniors Sam Sparks and Sean Coles. Sparks is favored in the 200 meters and the triple jump, and is in the top three of the high jump and the long jump, with Coles right behind in the triple jump and high jump. With those two, the Griffins could be a threat to the Horsemen.
Santa Fe Indian School sophomore Christopher Humetewa has run the second-best time in the 1,600, with Angel having the fifth best. In the 3,200, Humetewa qualified with the fourth-best time.