Belen girls, Los Lunas boys take second at Burke


Two county schools finished second in the annual Jim Burke Track Invitational held at Belen High School on Saturday.

But neither the Belen girls nor the Los Lunas boys could overcome Moriarty in a perfect day for the event, under cloudy skies and warm temperatures.

Mike Stearns-News-Bulletin photo: Winning the medley during the Jim Burke Invitational track meet held at Belen High School on Saturday is Los Lunas senior Michael Brown, right, over Valencia’s Luis Soto, left. The Jaguars visit Alamogordo on Saturday, while Belen and Los Lunas aren’t running.

It was a vast change from the cold and wind last week at the Los Lunas Invitational.

I think the weather helped everyone’s demeanor,” said Belen coach Celina Rivera. “We had a few teams that did not show up without notifying us, so that was disappointing.”

Moriarty was a solid winner on both sides, posting a 131 boys team score and a 120 on the girls side.

Belen was second, finishing with a girls score of 93. Valencia placed third with a total of 81, followed by St. Pius at 62, Española Valley with a 34, and Los Lunas with a 31.

On the boys side, Los Lunas scored 103 for second, Valencia was third with 63 points, Belen finished fourth with 62, St. Pius was fifth with 61 and Española Valley was sixth with a 28 team total.

Two county athletes posted state-qualifying times, with Grace Vickers of Valencia qualifying in the 3200 meters and Los Lunas’ Alexis Lafave qualifying in two events, the 200 meters and the long jump.


The Belen girls were led by the relay teams and field events to finish behind powerful Moriarty.

The 4×100 and 4×200 teams of Lindsey Aragon, Alexis Begay, Chanelle Gallucci and Allison Lehman won their relay events and the 4×200 team finished second.

Gabrielle Mendoza had a good meet, placing second in the shot put and winning the javelin.

Keiana Sanchez-Chavez won the high jump, clearing the bar at 4 feet, 10 inches.

Coach Rivera was pleased with the performance of Krystal Haslett, who placed fourth in the shot put and third in the discus.

“Krystal Haslett is a newcomer to track,” said Rivera. “She is a senior and is coming along very well.”

Alexis Begay had to leave before the 100 meters, a race Rivera expects her to qualify in for state.

“We didn’t have any state qualifiers,” said Rivera. “But it is coming along and it will happen sooner or later.”

Manuel Guerro won the 800 meters, while Jered Garcia won the 3200 meters and placed second in the 1600 to pace the boys’ fifth-place total.

Joining in the scoring for Belen in the 3200 meters was Aaron Romero, who finished second, John Berry was third and Cameron Robare was sixth.

Los Lunas

The boys second place finish matched the Tigers’ performance in this meet last year, but coach James Harmon was quick to point out that several of his athletes are not out yet due to Los Lunas’ deep run in the basketball playoffs.

“But it’s not all about the athletes who have the best distances or times,” said Harmon. “It’s about everyone from top to bottom getting better, and that’s exactly what’s happening. I don’t think there was one event or runner who did not improve in their times or distances from last week to this week.”

Several athletes posted personal bests for Los Lunas, although no one had a state-qualifying score.

Greg Wortman won the javelin with a throw of 142 feet, 8 inches. Wortman was fourth in the shot put and the long jump.

Chris Romero threw the shot 41 feet, 7.5 inches, to win the event.

The Tigers got some improvement in the relays, taking second in both the 4×100 and 4×200.

“Each of our relays improved significantly from the week before,” said Harmon, “which shows plenty of promise for the upcoming weeks.”

The girls were led by the qualifying time of Lafave in the 100 meters of 12.61 seconds. She also qualified for state in the long jump with a leap of 16 feet, four inches.

Lafave also won the 200 meters.


It was a good day for Cody Reynolds and Josh Burbank of the boys team and Carisma Lovato and Kristen Traynham of the girls squad.

It didn’t start well for Reynolds, who was hoping to win the 400 meters and qualify for state. But he poured it on in the 4×400 relay, helping the Jags to a third place team finish.

Robinson finished second in the 400 meters with a time of 52.74 seconds.

“He wanted to win the race and he felt it slipping away early in the first leg so he was upset when he started getting passed by the St. Pius runner,” said coach Wesley Rogers. “This caused him to completely forget his tactics and mechanics of the race.”

Rogers is certain that Robinson will improve in the coming weeks.

“He can become the fastest 400 runner in Valencia history and place at state for the next two years,” Rogers said of the junior. “He has 49-flat speed and endurance, if he matches the talent with training.”

Burbank easily won the 100- and 200-meter races. His time in the 100 (11.14) was almost a full second ahead of Wortman’s second place time of 11.55.

“Josh Burbank has the talent and the work ethic to be special,” said Rogers, emphatically. “He is just a sophomore.”

Kristen Traynham continued to impress girls coach Aaron Padilla.

“She is a very big part of this team and is only a freshman,” said Padilla. “She is getting stronger and faster every week.”

Traynham won the triple jump, was second in the high jump, fourth in the 200 meters and sixth in the javelin.

Vickers got a state-qualifying time of 12:20.6 in winning the 3200 meters and finished second in the 1600 meters.

“She qualified for state by time, which is something she hasn’t done in her career this early on in a season,” said Padilla. “It was a great way to start off the meet with a state qualifying performance.”

Carisma Lovato won the 1600 meters and also captured the 400. She was fifth in the triple jump.

“The girls definitely looked more comfortable out there compared to last week,” said Padilla.

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