Confusion about who really won Valencia Quad; district starts Friday


Don’t believe everything you see on the Internet.

News-Bulletin file photo: Valencia’s Kristen Traynham tied for first in the high jump with a height of 4 feet, 10 inches, at Saturday’s Valencia Quad track and field meet. She also placed first in the triple jump with a distance of 31 feet, 8 inches.

The website,, — as of Monday — had Los Lunas posted as the boys’ team winner of Saturday’s Valencia Quad high school track and field meet. According to that source, the Tigers beat runner-up Moriarty 141-136.

On the other hand, the DirectAthletics website, at the same time, had the LLHS and the Moriarty Pintos tied with 138 points apiece.

To make matters more confusing, Moriarty’s Pintos took home the first-place trophy.

Aaron Padilla, girls coach for the host Jaguars, said Monday afternoon the correct outcome had the Moriarty boys edging out Los Lunas by a single point, 138-137.

Both LLHS boys coach James Harmon and Moriarty coach Joe Bailey took the mix up in stride during telephone interviews Sunday.

“Take your pick,” Bailey said with a chuckle. “I thought we were first because we brought home the trophy, but one has us in second, and the other has us tied.”

“I thought we took second,” Harmon said with a chortle of his own. “They took home the trophy.”

Padilla said Sunday morning the milesplit website’s version was correct and disputed any other listing.

The Pintos thus took a 3-1 lead in head-to-head meetings with Los Lunas.

Moriarty won Belen’s Jim Burke Qualifier on March 16, the Valencia County Relays on March 28, and now the Valencia Quad. Los Lunas had beaten Moriarty at the Pintos’ Invitational April 12.

Harmon, despite the runner-up finish, was pleased with his boys’ efforts. The Tigers also won the April 6 Miyamura meet in Gallup.

“We didn’t get any new state qualifiers (Saturday), and we didn’t improve on our times,” Harmon said. “But we were close to our state qualifying times.”

The Tigers earned six gold medals. Winners included Jaden Torres (400-meter dash, 51,36 seconds), Randy Moore (high jump, 5 feet, 8 inches), Chris Romero (shot put, 42-11, and discus, 133-8), Greg Wortman (javelin, 151-4), and the 1,600 relay contingent.

Los Lunas will be gunning for a second consecutive District 6-4A title. The district meet is set for this weekend, starting at 3 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday at the Tigers’ track.

Harmon said the repeat will be a little harder because he recently lost four athletes for reasons ranging from academics to athletes deciding not to participate.

“Valencia has really improved with its relays, and Gallup and Miyamura have good distance runners,” the coach said. “But we might have the advantage in throws. It might be close.”

The Jags’ girls, meanwhile, took second at the Valencia Quad with 112 points. They finished 13 points behind first-place Moriarty.

“I think we did well,” Padilla said. “I was pleased with how the meet went for us. I think we set ourselves up to do well at district.”

Padilla’s team produced seven individual victories. They included Charisma Lovato (400, 1:00.86), Grace Vickers (1600, 5:53.48), Corina Baca (3200, 12:54.00), Jensen Hatch (pole vault, 9 feet), Peyton Linthicum (discus, 93-7), and Kristen Traynham (triple jump, 31-8, and high jump, tied at 4-10).

Valencia’s new state qualifiers included Lovato in the 400, and its 4×400 relay squad. The relay foursome included Sara Lopez, Traynham, and Consuelo and Lovato.

“We’re doing pretty good for state qualifiers,” Padilla said. “But we had a small team all year. We don’t have as many state qualifiers as some. Teams like St. Pius have a lot more girls than we do. We have half of what they have, but the girls we do have do well.”

It will be a battle for the district crown.

“I think it will be close between us and Los Lunas,” said Padilla. “My dad (Larry Padilla) is the coach at Los Lunas so it’ll be a fun rivalry for us.”

VHS boys coach Wesley Rogers said Saturday’s quad was a good meet for several of his athletes to have a “chance to shine, to experience what it’s like to place.

Junior Gavin Nage was in the spotlight with his 40-foot, 6-inch triple jump, Rogers said. And eighth-grader Devon Sparksman pulled out a winning long jump at 20 feet, 7.25 inches on Saturday.

“He decided he wanted to do the long jump — first time he’s ever competed in that event,” Rogers said.

The Jaguars’ 4×200 squad hit “national elite” standards after their Saturday finishing time of 1.29:84, the coach said.

“Now they are ranked in the nation, not just the state. They improved their time by more than a second and are getting close to a school record,” he said.

The Valencia record is held by a foursome of all seniors, Rogers said, with the time of 1.29:05.

“We can go into the state meet as the favorites, if nothing goes wrong,” Rogers said.

The Jags swept the 100 and 200 meter races, with Josh Burbank taking first in both, as well as the 4 by 100 relay and 4 by 200.

In the 300-meter hurdles, Troy Lowe stepped up and dropped almost three seconds off his time, bettering his last time of 47 seconds.

In field events, the boys scored 28 points.

“For us that is an amazing statistic,” Rogers said. “We usually score five, six points, maybe 12. We’ve always been a pretty fast team, that’s usually what had been our sum.

“But at such an intimate meet like this one, we are up against 4A teams, there are four teams instead of 25. After they are used to being put up against such tough competition, all competition, then to come back down to Earth, their level, they realize it’s easier. All season, they have been primed to compete at the state level. We have gone all over the state looking for the toughest schedule in 4A.”

Rogers said he and the boys are excited going into district competition and the possibility of what they can do at state.

“I really want to thank all the kids and parents for all their hard work this season,” he said.

The Valencia boys were third with 84 points, and Belen occupied the cellar at the Valencia Quad with 64. For the girls, Los Lunas, with 100, was third, and Belen was fourth, with 80.

The meet’s other champions included:

Valencia boys: Joshua Burbank (100 and 200, 10.86 and 22.71), Devon Sparkman (long jump, 20-7 1/4), Gavin Nagy (triple jump, 40-6), and the Jaguars’ 400 and 800 relays (43.36 and 1:29.84).

Los Lunas girls: Alexis Lafave (100 and 200, 12.77 and 26.36), Kendra Lente (800, 2:27.81), and Mariah Doyle (shot put, 34-2, and javelin, 106-6).

Belen boys: Aaron Romero (3,200, 10:17.65) and the Eagles’ 1600 medley relay (3:59.46).

Belen girls: Danee Bustos (high jump, 4-10) and the Eagles’ 400 relay (52.17).