Track and field off and running, with Pecos boys in quest of yet another state championship and others looking to step onto the podium in May
St. Michael’s junior Lauren Chaffins the best in 4A 400
By Arnie Leshin | March 24, 2107
The race to qualify for the state track and field championships in May is on, with some of these athletes on a mission, some defending championships, and others just in quest of a rewarding season.
Those on a mission are all seniors, Michael Tenorio of Santa Fe Indian School and Esteban Alcaraz and Jocelyn Fernandez of St. Michael’s.
States champions returning accounts only for individual events. Relays are a different matter. Those passing-the-baton change all the time. Some graduate, others don’t come out, and so it’s often pairing together new legs.
Tenorio, the state 4A cross country champion, is seeking an individual title around the oval this time. Last year, he ran third in the 1,600 meters and fourth in the 3,200. But he now has the confidence of showing his heels to this field over XC distances.
Plus, he now has all the experience he’s gathered since first coming out for head coach Joe Calabaza’s team as an 8th grader. His stretch run to the XC state finals proved to be dominating. He might even want to qualify for the 800 at state.
Alcaraz is one of the better hurdlers in 4A, but he didn’t have the success he trained for at last year’s states.
He runs best in the 300 hurdles. He posted the best time in the preliminaries, but was later disqualified in the finals. In the 110 hurdles, he settled for fourth place, and in the 200 meters took seventh.
The multi-talented Fernandez, daughter of head coach Joey Fernandez, winds up a high school career in which she competed in soccer, basketball, softball, track and field, and football, yes football, also with her dad as head coach.
She’s won one state javelin championship and has come close to winning others, with last year’s final ascloseasthis. She threw a best of 127 feet, but senior Andi Harrelson of Ruidoso went 127-3. Now Fernandez knows she has a genuine chance to take the top step of the podium again.
Tenorio and Alcaraz have also stood on the podium, but they, too, would like to stand on the top step.
The lone defending individual champion from the Santa Fe area is St. Michael’s junior Lauren Chaffins in the 400 meters,
The state-champion Pecos boys picked up a first place from junior Josh DeHerrera in the 3,200.
Some of the legs from Santa Fe Prep’s girls and boy’s state 4 x 100 relay champions remain. Same might be true with the St. Michael’s girls who finished first in the 4 x 400, and the Horsemen who won the 1,600 sprint medley relay.
Chaffins is still the fastest in the 400, where she ran under a minute (0:58.79) and (0:58.50) in both the preliminaries and the finals, but she’d like to improve in the 200, where she ran third. She also came in sixth in the long jump.
Pecos comes off the state cross country championship that gave it two blue trophies through the school year. The Panthers will again be the one to beat.
Then there’s Desert Academy senior Lia Kane, who was runner-up at the state cross country championships and now in quest of improving on last season’s fifth place in the state 3A 3,200.
As for the Griffins in the relays, returning senior sprinter Patrick Boyd will probably be running most of the anchor legs.
Freshman Hayley Colfax of Santa Fe Prep qualified at state last year in five events. She made the podium four times, but could do no better than sixth in the 100 hurdles, seventh in the 300 hurdles, and eighth in both the high jump and triple jump.
But she now adds the experience of her first varsity season, the pressures of competing at state, and a better knowledge of these events. She also plays on the school’s soccer team, and has one season of running cross country. She is also one of the leading legs on the relay teams.
Senior teammate Annika Birk dashed third in the 100 and fourth in the 200 at state. Griffins’ senior Elizabeth Whitting took fifth in the 800.
Desert Academy senior Max Logan had the fastest 400 time in the preliminaries, but a poor start contributed to a third-place finish, with senior teammate Jonas Kaare-Rasmussen in fourth.
In 6A, Santa Fe High junior Theodore Goujon qualified for the 200 meters, but did not gain the finals with his preliminary time of 22.75. He did not race the 100.
The St. Michael’s girls and boys look good in the distances. From off the cross country team comes sophomore Violet Eklund, sophomore Janai Clayton, and freshman Lauren London to pace the girls, and senior Austin Luttrell, sophomore Justin Angel, and sophomore Eli Steward lead the boys.
The Lady Horsemen also get back athletic senior Ellie Breeden, who was sidelined last season with a knee injury. She’s versatile, can handle the high jump, run relays and do whatever it takes.
Now they are all back hoping for performances that again lead to state.
The weekend schedule starts this afternoon with Capital, Pojoaque Valley, Taos, Espanola Valley at the Los Alamos Invitational and St. Michael’s at the Bernalillo Quadruple.
Saturday morning, Santa Fe High runs at the Rotary Relays in Chandler, Ariz., while Santa Fe Indian School, Santa Fe Prep, Desert Academy, Las Vegas Robertson and the host Dons compete at the West Las Vegas Invitational.
Academy of Technology and The Classics begins its season at the March 30 Clayton Relays. Pecos, because it had several of its runners coming off the state boy’s basketball championship team, gets underway by hosting its invitational on April 12.