Lady Rams, Lady Cats solid on first day of state track

May 18—ALBUQUERQUE — Portales and Clovis High's boys had a bit of a tough first day on Friday in state large-school track competition. The girls, on the other hand, did all right for themselves.

The PHS girls scored seven points in field events and qualified four relays for Saturday's Class 4A finals, while Clovis earned two points from eighth-grader Nevaeh Barrow in Class 5A pole vault on a fifth-place finish at 9 feet, 6 inches. They Lady Wildcats also sent three relays and two individual events into Saturday's finals.

The only points for the boys came on a fifth-place finish in the 1,600 from Clovis junior Sammy Fuentes, who ran a personal-best time of 4 minutes, 27.41 seconds.

Sophomore Skyler Massey went a personal-best 5 feet, 2 inches in high jump for the Lady Rams, tying with two other competitors at the top but settling for third place based on misses. Meantime, senior Olivia Low was fourth in discus at 114-1.

Low had hoped to finish a little higher in what she considers her best event. She was scheduled to compete in shot put and javelin on Saturday.

"She's capable of placing high," PHS coach Quintin Wilson said of her two Saturday events. "We just hope she gets on the podium (top-six finishes)."

The Lady Rams qualified their 400, 800, medley and 1,600 relays for Saturday's finals. Massey was a part of the 800 and medley relays, while the 1,600 relay with seniors Audrey Paden, Abby Ontiveros and Alondra Acosta and junior Kadynce Reeves ran the top time in prelims, a season-best 4:07.06.

"Their previous best time was 4:11," Wilson said. "That's phenomenal. They went out and got after it, and I'll be honest with you — they can be even better than that."

Also on Saturday, Reeves was to compete for the Lady Rams in pole vault.

Massey matched her personal best in the District 4-4A meet at Greyhound Stadium on May 9 at 5 feet.

"She finally went out on 5-4," Wilson said. "(Assistant) coach (Jacki) Bailey did a fantastic job with her."

Senior Savana Heflin nearly made the final eight in the girls 100. She ran 12.99 for ninth place, just behind Rebecca Neal of Highland (12.97) and Allie Holland of Los Alamos (12.98).

For the boys, junior Manny Chavez qualified seventh in the 110 hurdles in 16.45 seconds. He came up short in the 300 hurdles, finishing ninth in 43.76.

Chavez, who has struggled with an arm injury the last few weeks, hoped to repeat his 2023 title in javelin on Saturday morning. Junior Gideon Smith and sophomore Antonio Bonilla were also slated to compete for the Rams in javelin.

In 5A, the Lady Wildcats qualified defending champion Gabrielle Foggie in the 400 with a personal-best time of 56.75 seconds. She has her work cut out, though, because Las Cruces High junior Kaselle Davis posted a time of 54.13 and the top six qualifiers on Friday were all under 59 seconds.

"I think that's close to the school record that she's been trying to get," CHS girls coach Avery Rasher said of Foggie. "She's excited for that (final). The energy she had carried over the rest of the day."

Foggie also helped the Lady Cats qualify their 400, 800 and 1,600 relays for the finals in respective times of 50.21 seconds, 1:45.80 and 4:10.18. Rasher said the latter time was a season-best.

"I knew going into the 4-by-4 we'd need (that) to get to the finals, and we did it," Rasher said.

Freshman Skye Karoki, who ran on all three qualifying relays, also made it to the finals in the 300 hurdles where she was sixth overall in 48.57 seconds.

"Skye improved her hurdles time by about two seconds," Rasher said.

Coaches said performances in general were impressive in most events.

"The quality of competition has improved dramatically," Wilson said. "There's some kids out here that can really run."

Clovis' boys had only Fuentes in the 3,200 and senior Kohen Matus in javelin left on Saturday.

CHS boys coach Mark Sena noted that Organ Mountain's Corbin Coombs won the 1,600 in 4:06.17, and Rio Rancho's Charlie Vause was second at 4:07.32, both easily shattering the previous meet record. Fuentes broke his previous best time by more than two seconds.

"We're maybe in a generationally good era," he said. "He's running against the kind of guys we've never seen before."