LLHS boys and girls best of VC teams, Valencia High boys make statement
Los Lunas High sprinters Alexis Lafave and Jaden Torres both earned gold with first-place finishes, and the Tigers’ boys and girls teams took top scores at last weekend’s Class 4A State Track Meet at the University of New Mexico.
The Tiger girls placed highest of the three Valencia County schools at the meet, placing eighth with a combined score of 22 points behind Class 4A champions Aztec. Valencia High finished in 15th place with six points while the Belen girls earned no points.
The LLHS boys also topped the list of Valencia County schools, earning a sixth-place finish with 35 points behind 4A champs Farmington Piedra Vista.
The Belen boys ended up in 13th place with seven points, while the Valencia boys made a statement, finishing just two spots behind LLHS in eighth with 25 points.
Sophomore Joshua Burbank was a part of all four of VHS’ medals, placing second in the boys 100- and 200-meter dashes with times of 11.24 and 22.20, respectively.
Burbank, along with Tyler McClarran, Cody Robinson and Devon Sparkman, helped Valencia’s relay team place second in the 4×100-meter relay and third in the 4×200-meter relay with times of 43.39 and 1:30.35, respectively.
“It was a strong showing … overall I’d say it was a positive day,” Burbank said. “Our school wasn’t supposed to be anywhere on the map and here we are, in the top 10.”
“This is our fourth year as a track program so to be able to come out to state and accomplish what we accomplished (is a huge) reminder that our school means something,” he said.
LLHS’s Lafave led Valencia County girls with a her first and second place finishes — running 12.42 in the 100- and 25.76 in the 200-meter dash. Lafave also earned the Tigers a point with a sixth-place finish with Chavez, Maddison Casillas and Katelin Thompson on the Tigers’ girls 4×100-meter relay team.
“All the practice paid off,” Lafave said of her and Chavez’ 1-2 finish in the 100-meter dash. “Last year, I was second and this year I worked so hard to get up there. It’s a great feeling.”
Torres, who finished fourth in preliminaries but had lost only one 400 meter final all season, came on in the last quarter of his 400-meter race, finishing with a top time of 50.06.
“I started off fast and I usually don’t,” he said. “Then on the last bend, those guys were catching up to me. So I gave my all in the last 100 (meters).”
Other top finishers from Valencia County in the boys division included Belen’s Tyler Valdez, who finished third in the 1600-meter run and Los Lunas’ Gregory Workman, Jacob Holland and Daniel Hammon, who finished third in the javelin throw, triple jump and 300-meter hurdles, respectively.
Hammon’s success in the 300 hurdles race was surprising, considering he’d never run hurdles before this season.
“Right from the beginning of the season, my coaches said 300 hurdles was my event, even though I didn’t have form, I didn’t know the number of steps to do — I just worked at it,” Hammon laughed.
Valencia sophomore Carisma Lovato, the top finisher for the Jaguar girls, placed third in the girls 1600-meter run, taking a risk by sprinting to the front of the pack.
“I was just trying to stick with Britani Gonzales,” Lovato said afterward. “I didn’t want to lose her and get stuck in the back. I just went for it — it’s state.”
“This is my first time running the 800 (at state) so I’m pretty excited,” she said of her win.
Among the top six finishers in the boys division from Valencia County were LLHS’ Randy Moore, who placed fourth in the high jump; the Tigers’ 4×400-meter relay team (Hammon, Moore, Torres and Aaron Sais). which placed fourth; the Belen 1600 sprint medley relay team (Valdez, Adrian De La Cruz, Atreyu Garcia and Joseph Lash), which placed fifth; Los Lunas’ Christopher Romero, who placed fifth in the Boys discus throw and Belen’s Jared Garcia, who placed sixth in the Boys 3200-meter run.
Also among top six finishers in the girls division included Los Lunas’ Mariah Doyle, who finished fourth in the shot put and Valencia’s Jensen Hatch, who was fifth in the pole vault.