Tiger girls quartet qualifies for state in relay

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The Los Lunas girls swim team’s 200-yard freestyle relay team qualified for state Saturday, making the quartet the first qualifier for the NMAA State Swimming Championships, Feb. 21 and 22, at Albuquerque Academy.

Kenn Rodriguez-News-Bulletin photo: LOS LUNAS SWIMMER MacKenzie Smith, left, prepares to swim as teammate Kassidy Smith watches during the girls 400-yard freestyle relay at the APS Mini Invitational on Saturday in Albuquerque.

The relay team of Shannae Williams, Tati Jiron, Miranda Candelaria and Kiley McCreary qualified with a time of 1.56.33, good for fifth place in the 200-yard freestyle relay at the APS Mini Invitational at the West Mesa Aquatic Center, Saturday.

The finish helped the Los Lunas girls to claim sixth place overall in the eight-team meet with a final score of 167.

The Los Lunas boys claimed fifth with a score of 193 while the Valencia girls placed eighth with 27 points. Las Cruces claimed first in the boys division with 508.5 points while Los Alamos was tops in the girls division with a score of 454, edging the Bulldawg girls by two points.

Williams, Jiron, Candelaria and McCleary just missed making a state qualifying time in the girls 200-yard medley relay with a time of 2:11.60, just a bit more than two seconds slower than the sixth place team from Bosque School, which qualified for state with a time of 2:09.43.

The Los Lunas relay team of Orion Zuni, Caleb Garmand, Jonathan Gamez and Tommy Browning was the top-finishing group for the Tigers, claiming third in the boys 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:57.74.

Gamez and Garmand were the top individual placers for the LLHS boys, with Gamez finishing fifth in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:04.81, and Garmand placing sixth in the 500-yard freestyle event with a time of 5:53.40.

Smith was the top placer for the Tiger girls, finishing seventh in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:14.02, followed by McCleary, who placed 11th in the same event. Candelaria also finished 11th in the 200-yard intermediate event.

Adelene Armenta was the top girls placer for Valencia, claiming eighth in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:13.20. The Jaguar girls 200-yard freestyle relay team of Armenta, Shay Gardener, Isabel Baca and Mariah Ibuado finished 11th in the team’s only relay race with a time of 2:22.16.

Both the Los Lunas and Valencia teams will participate in the Academy Invitational this Friday and Saturday at Albuquerque Academy — the site of both the District 2 swim meet as well as the State Swimming and Diving meet. Both events are in February.