Strong winds created a challenge for athletes competing at last Friday’s Estancia High School Invitational track and field meet.

“The wind was 30-plus miles per hour, and then it got cold,” East Mountain head track and field coach Phil Keller said.

Athletes from a dozen high schools, including Moriarty, Mountainair, East Mountain, and host Estancia competed in the annual meet.

Former Moriarty athletic director Brian Stacey—who was officiating the meet—said the weather would have a negative impact on some of the events, adding, “It’s going to be tough for anyone to qualify [for the state tournament] under these conditions.”

Keller said the gusty winds make some events, such as pole vaulting, a little dangerous, but added, “It is what it is, and you do what you’ve got to do.”

Moriarty’s Alyssa Sauter, competing in the pole-vaulting event, said the wind made it harder for her to balance and penetrate. “It’s like you’re fighting a wall, and you feel like you’re not going anywhere,” Sauter said.

Estancia’s Marisa Luna said she felt lucky that the wind wasn’t blowing into her face for the discus event. “It’s at our backs, so it’s actually not too bad,” she said.

East Mountain’s distance runner Rubie Trotter also didn’t think the wind was that bad—in fact, she said she had one of her best runs of the season during the 1600-meter race that she won. “It was actually good,” Trotter said. “It woke me up—the wind kind of helped.”

Moriarty’s boys and girls teams both placed second overall at the meet. East Mountain’s boys and girls placed third; Estancia’s girls placed sixth, and Mountainair’s girls took seventh; Estancia’s and Mountainair’s boys took eighth and ninth, respectively.

Individual winners and state-qualifying performances include: East Mountain’s Aubri Wrye, who won the girls 400-meter race and qualified for state; Sierra Stapleton won the girls 3,200m race; the girls team won the 1,600m sprint-medley relay. Wyatt Armstrong won the 400m race; Isiah Padilla won the 1600m race; East Mountain won both the boys 4x400m and the 1600m relays; the girls won the sprint-medley relay.

Moriarty’s Ashley Strader won the girls high jump, the triple jump, and took third in the long jump to qualify for state in all three events; Marvin Encinias won the triple jump and qualified for state; Chloe Rector won the girls 300m hurdles; Moriarty won the girls 4x100m relay; Bryan Barnes placed first in shot put.

Estancia’s Priscilla Padilla placed second in long jump and qualified for state.

Mountainair’s Kasey Reese won the 300m hurdles, and placed fourth in the 110m hurdles, and qualified for state in both; Hannah Torres placed second overall in the girls 100m hurdles and missed qualifying for state by .13 of a second.

For more photos from the Estancia meet check out The Independent online later this week at