Los Lunas boys take first place at Moriarty Invitational


The Los Lunas High School boys track and field team earned its second straight meet victory with a 113 to 85 1/2 triumph over the second-place host Pintos at the Moriarty Invitational in Torrance County on Friday, April 12.

Julia Herrera, a senior at Valencia High School, throws the javelin at the Moriarty Invitational on Friday.

“We’re looking pretty good, and we’re feeling confident going into meets,” said LLHS boys coach James Harmon, whose Tigers also came out on top at Miyamura’s meet in Gallup on April 6. “We are looking to get another District (6-4A) title.

“Last year, we won our first one since 1975. But we have a long ways to go, and you never know with teenage boys. We still need to get some more qualifiers for state.”

Los Lunas beat a nine-team field that included Moriarty, which had won its last three previous competitions; Artesia, third, 62 1/2; and Goddard, fourth, 55 1/2.

The Tigers’ first-place finishes were provided by Jaden Torres in the 400-meter dash (52.11 seconds), Randy Moore in the high jump (5 feet, 10 inches) and by the LLHS 400 and 800 relay teams.

It appeared to the naked eye that Aaron Sais might have nipped his teammate for first in the open 400. But the official standings indicated otherwise, with Sais clocking the race in 52.35 for second.

“It’s the hardest race there is,” said Sais, a 6-foot-1, 160-pound senior, of the quarter-mile equivalent. “It’s considered a sprint, but it’s the longest sprint there is. After the start, you want to sprint the first 100 yards as fast as you can, then in the backstretch, you want to cruise, take long strides. Then in the last curve, you pick it up, and in the final straightaway, you want to go all out all the way through.”

The Tigers’ girls scored 23 points to place seventh among 10 teams at the Pintos’ meet. V. Sue Cleveland High, a Rio Rancho public school, was the team victor with 158 1/2 points.

Los Lunas was led by Alexis Lafave. She won the long jump with a leap of 16-9 1/2.

The Belen boys took fifth with 55 points at the Moriarty Invitational. They were paced by Tyler Valdez, who garnered gold in the 800 (2 minutes, 4.80 seconds) and 1,600 (4:36.99), and Aaron Romero, first in the 3,200 (10:26.48).

Valdez beat the Pintos’ distance stud, Austin Anaya, in the 1,600. Anaya was second in 4:42.20.

“My strategy, more or less, was to run my own race,” said Valdez, a 5-11, 130-pound senior. “It wasn’t to come out and lead it from start to finish. I tried to be more strategic, save more for the end of the race.”

The Eagles went 1-2-3 in the 3,200. Jared Garcia was second (10:33.10), and John Berry, who stayed near the leaders until the gun, finished third (11:08.11).

The Belen girls, with zero gold medals, placed fourth with 43 points.

The Valencia girls took fifth with 42 points. Jaguar Carisma Lovato won the 1600.

“I was hoping I could have done a lot better (time-wise),” said Lovato, a 5-4 sophomore who was clocked in 5:34.19. “I’ve got to strategize more. I have to get faster on my second half of that race…”

The Valencia boys celebrated after winning the meet-concluding 1600 relay in 3:31.45.

“We came out here with the goal to qualify (for state) in the 4×400,” Jaguars boys coach Wesley Rogers said. “If you rearrange events just to qualify in it and it doesn’t happen, that’s not good. But when you meet that goal like we did, that’s great. We did a chess match in order to qualify. It was exciting. We improved like 40 seconds.”

Rory McClannahan-News-Bulletin photo: Seth Scarberry takes the baton from Atreyu Garcia of Belen High School in the boys 4x100 relay at the Moriarty Invitational last week.

VHS placed sixth overall with 30 points. Sophomore Joshua Burbank, who ran a leg of the 1,600 relay, was first in the 100 dash (10.84).

“Mechanically, I was sound. I was real strong,” said Burbank of his 100 performance. “But my start was a little shaky. I’ll need to work on it.”