Athletes from Estancia, East Mountain, and Mountainair high schools took home medals or finished among the top spots at the Class 1A-3A state track and field meet, May 10-11 at UNM’s track and soccer complex in Albuquerque.
Despite steady rain falling throughout most of the first day’s events, and lightning interrupting some of the second day’s events, many coaches brushed off the stormy weather and even welcomed it.
“Weather’s the great equalizer,” East Mountain head coach Phil Keller said. “If you’re mid-pack, you want the weather to be as bad as possible.”
Hannah Torres’ three gold medals helped Mountainair High’s girls squad claim the highest team placing among area schools as the Lady Mustangs finished third in Class 1A.
Mountainair’s girls coach Lynnelle Chavez said, “Oh my gosh, I could not be prouder. I’m so proud of their performance, their attitude, and their determination.”
Estancia High’s girls team placed fourth and the boys finished fifth.
Mountainair’s boys team finished fourth.
“It was the best state meet we’ve had in a long time, all-around, boys and girls,” Estancia coach Stewart Burnett said. “It was a memorable state meet for a lot of reasons.”
With East Mountain’s girls team finishing fifth, Keller said, “We ended up three points out of third, so all things considered, that ain’t bad. I’m pretty happy.”
Torres captured her triple crown in gold medals by finishing first in the 100-meter dash, the 200m dash, and the 400m dash. In the 100m, she beat the state record by 3/100 of a second and inched ahead of the second-place runner by 2/100.
Torres also ran the final leg of the girls 4x400m relay—in the pouring rain—to help her team place third.
“It’s amazing,” Torres said about winning her first-ever gold medals. “I was actually about to cry, because our coach, Jerry Lisk, passed away and we all have his name on our uniforms. I was thinking, ‘I got this,’ and then I was like, ‘Holy cow, I did it!’ I’m still kind of in shock.”
Mountainair’s other top finishers were Chandler Roberts who won the silver in the 300m hurdles and the bronze in the 110m hurdles; Jason Padilla won silver in pole vault; Jentry Kayser won bronze medals in both the girls long jump and triple jump; Estrella Griego won the bronze in pole vault; the boys 4x200m relay team won the silver and the 4x100m relay team won bronze; Sarajo Griego and Wyatt Greene had fifth-place finishes in the 300m hurdles and the 3,200m run, respectively; the boys 1,600m relay team also placed fifth.
Estancia High’s Cruz Moreno, Brian Walker, and Jaimey Fastnacht all captured gold medals: Moreno in the 2A boys javelin, Walker in the pole vault, and Fastnacht in the girls 1,600m run.
Walker also took the bronze in the boys 300m hurdles. Despite finishing third in the event, he beat the state record and came in just 5/100 of a second behind the second-place finisher and a half-second behind the winner.
“It’s pretty cool, it’s a really good experience,” Walker said.
“It’s very exciting,” Fastnacht said. “I wanted the gold in both the mile and the two-mile since I got the two-mile my sophomore year.”
Other top Estancia finishers were Kaitlyn Calhoon, who won the silver medal in pole vault; Priscilla Padilla won a silver medal in the 300m hurdles and a bronze in the 100m hurdles; Jayde Perea won silver and bronze medals in the 1,600m and 800m races, respectively; Drayton Oberg took the bronze in Javelin; the girls 1,600m medley relay and the 4x400m relay teams both took bronze; the boys 4x100m, 4x200m, and 4x400m relay teams all finished in fourth place; Nazareth Astorga took fourth in shot put; Marino Noblitt finished fifth in the boys 400m dash.
East Mountain freshman Kaylee Baker took home the gold in the 3A girls long jump and the silver in the 400m dash. Baker also finished fourth in the 800m run and ran the final leg of the 1,600m relay to help her team claim the bronze.
“It’s a little overwhelming,” Baker said of her achievements in her first-ever state track and field meet. “Everyone’s like super-good, it’s huge just making it to state.”
“It was my goal to win and I did,” Case said. “I got a four-second P.R. so I’m happy with that.”
Near the end of the second day’s events, with a light rain falling, East Mountain’s Marissa Case jumped out to an early lead and never looked back as she easily won the gold in the 3,200m run.
Case’s teammate, Amelia Johnson, who came in second place in the race to win the silver, said, “We were planning to hold hands through the finish line.” Johnson also won a bronze in the 1,600m run and Case finished fourth.