Los Lunas Sweeps District 6-4A Meet

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The Los Lunas Boys and Girls Track and Field teams both took first place at the District 6-4A Track Meet last weekend at Los Lunas High School.

The Tiger boys outdistanced second-place Grants High School 117 to 92. Belen and Valencia High finished tied for third with 79.5 points. Gallup Miyamura finished fifth with 58 points and Gallup High took sixth with 21 points.

Kenn Rodriguez-News-Bulletin photo: BELEN HIGH SCHOOL senior Tyler Valdez, left, leads the pack in the 1600 meter race during District 6-4A Track Meet at Los Lunas High School Saturday, May 11. Valdez set a school record in winning the 1600. The Eagles’ Jared Garcia (second from right) came in second and also placed first in the 3200 meter final.

On the girls side, Los Lunas beat out Valencia 128 to 112. Belen finished third with 83.5, just edging out Miyamura’s 82 points. Grants took fifth with 39.5 and Gallup closed out with six points.

“We were a little concerned because we’ve been a little behind Valencia the whole season,” said Los Lunas girls track coach Larry Padilla. “But we try to peak by district and fortunately that happened this weekend.”

Los Lunas sophomore Alexis Lafave was the top overall finisher in the girls division and overall for the meet with first-place finishes in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes as well as a third-place finish in the long jump.

Lafave’s Tiger teammate, Mariah Doyle, also finished strong, placing first in both the javelin throw and the shot put, as well as third place in the discus throw.

“Alexis Lafave being the high-point individual for the meet helped us with the points,” said Padilla. “We had a meeting (Monday) and I said ‘Alexis got 20 but needed the other 100 points.

“We had a lot of kids getting three points here and five points there,” he said. “Everyone did their part. That really helped us.”

Other top finishers in the girls division from Valencia County were Los Lunas sophomore Casimira Lovato, who placed first in both the 800 and 1600 meters and Belen eighth-grader Destinee Vigil, who took first in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles.

Los Lunas senior Kendra Lente also placed high in a pair of events, finishing first in the 3200 meter and third in the 1600 meter.

Lente was joined on the podium for both events by Valencia senior Grace Vickers, who took second in both the 1600 and 3200 meters.

Also among top finishers were Belen senior Gabrielle Mendoza, who placed second in the javelin and third in the shot put and Valencia senior Julia Herrera, who placed second in the discus and third in the javelin.

On the boys side, Los Lunas was paced by the finishes of sophomore Daniel Hammon, who took first place in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles.

But Belen senior Tyler Valdez made a special mark by setting a school record in the 1600 meter with his time of 4:29.27, surpassing the six-year-old record of former Eagle Joshua Garcia.

Valdez also took first in the 800 meter while teammate Jared Garcia, Joshua Garcia’s younger brother, took first in the 3200 meter and third in the 1600 meter.

“This was his best time he’s run all year,” said Belen boys track coach Joseph Garcia. “He knew what he had to do and went out and ran an excellent race.”

Garcia said Valdez has a good chance at placing at this weekend’s State Class 4A Track Meet at the UNM Track and Field Stadium in Albuquerque.

“I really think he can make the podium,” said Garcia. “As strong as he’s running, I think he can run with the big boys and be in the top percentage of his race.”

Valencia got strong showings in the spring events, with sophomore Joshua Burbank taking first place in the 100 and 200 meters. The Jaguars’ 4×100- and 4×200-meter relay teams also took first place in their respective races.

Other top finishers from Valencia County in the boys division were Los Lunas junior Jacob Holland, who finished second in both the long jump and triple jump; Los Lunas junior Chris Romero, who placed first in the discus throw and second in the shot put and Tigers’ senior Greg Wortman, who placed first in the javelin and second in the shot put.

The Tigers’ relay teams also placed, with a first-place finish in the 4×400 meter and second in the 4×200 meter.

The Class 4A State Track Meet runs Friday and Saturday at the UNM Track and Field Stadium.