Moriarty’s Marvin Encinias and Aaron Murphy, Manzano’s Jordan Byrd, and East Mountain’s Isiah Padilla all took home individual gold medals at last weekend’s Class 4A-6A state track and field championships in Albuquerque.
Relay teams from Manzano and East Mountain also won gold medals.
Moriarty’s Encinias won the state title in the Class 4A long jump, and Murphy claimed the top prize in the pole vault.
“I knew I was going to need a big jump and I came in really confident, way more confident than last year,” Encinias said. He also won the bronze medal in the triple jump.
“I’ve been here three times and this is my first,” Murphy said about claiming his state title. “I’ve been waiting a long time. Me and my buddy Marvin, we’ve been talking about being state champions since we were little.”
Moriarty head coach Joe Bailey said he was pleased with his team’s overall performance. “I think we’ve done very well. We don’t have any superstars but we’ve done a lot with great kids,” Bailey said.
East Mountain’s Padilla, and teammate Augustine “Augie” Montoya, won the silver and bronze medals, respectively, in the 4A boys 3,200-meter race—commonly called the “two-mile”—behind West Las Vegas’ gold-medal winner, Miguel Coca.
In the 1,600m (one mile) race, Padilla bested Coca by just over a 1/2 second to take home the gold.
“I knew it was going to come down to me and Miguel,” Padilla said. “With a 100 [meters] to go, I hugged right next to him and then I just out-kicked him right at the end.”
Padilla’s teammate Sean Dwyer finished fifth in the 1,600m.
Padilla also ran the last leg of the 1,600m sprint-medley relay that won the gold.
Other area top finishers were:
Caleb Flaming won the silver medal in the triple jump; the girls 4x400m relay team of Alyssa Adams, Meredith Wilson, Chloe Rector, and Bailey Bennett won the bronze; three girls placed in the top-10 in both the pole vault and long jump events, with Alyssa Sauter and Vanessa Forrest winning the bronze medals, respectively; Sauter and Forrest were also among the girls 4x100m relay team that placed fourth and the 4x200m relay team that took fifth; the boys 4x200m relay team placed fourth; Carissa Gibbard placed fourth in javelin; Alex Romero placed sixth in girls discus; the boys 4x400m relay team placed sixth.
Watt Armstrong won the bronze in the 400m dash, and placed fourth in the 100m dash; Armstrong also ran the first leg for the 1,600m sprint-medley relay team that won gold; Rubie Trotter placed fifth in both the girls 800m and 1,600m races; Dwyer placed fifth in the boys 800m race; Sierra Stapleton placed seventh in the 1,600m race; Stapleton, Christina Sirchia, and Marissa Case didn’t medal but all finished in the top-10 of the girls two-mile race.
Jordan Byrd took home two individual gold medals and one team gold medal: he won both the Class 6A boys 100m and 200m races, and ran the first leg of the 4x200m relay team that won gold; he also ran the last leg of the 4x100m relay team that won the silver; Ryan Moore won the silver in the long jump; the girls 4x400m relay team won the bronze; Tamara Johnson placed fourth in the 100m dash.
East Mountain’s boys team placed the highest overall among area schools with a fourth-place finish. The girls team placed 17th.
Manzano’s boys finished seventh overall, with the girls finishing 15th.
Moriarty’s girls and boys teams both claimed eighth-place overall finishes.
Ger has been writing and shooting photos of high school sports for The Independent for 15 years. His dedication to youth athletics goes beyond sports reporting. He is past president of East Mountain Little League and works as a baseball umpire. He lives in Edgewood with his family.