ALBUQUERQUE — It was a rapt cat-and-mouse, catch-or-be-caught encounter that whipped fans at the University of New Mexico track and field complex into a collective bout of psychosis.
Pine Hill's Garrison Eddie looked like he had an anaconda grip on gold with about 200 meters left in the boys Class A 3,200 meters Saturday in the small school state track and field championships. Logan's Larramy Roberts, in third place, wasn't in a position to overtake Eddie as the runners rounded the final turn, and nothing about their body language suggested Roberts had an untapped gear, nor Eddie's body was about to betray him.
And then, with about 70 meters left, everything changed. Roberts looked like a lion chasing down a gazelle on the African plains, as Eddie finally succumbed to the sophomore. Roberts held the banner for Quay County schools by winning the grinding race of attrition in 10 minutes, 51.43 seconds, Eddie finishing right behind at 10:52.62.
"I didn't know I had it," Roberts said, "but I knew if I wanted it, I had to go get it."
Roberts entered as the No. 1 seed, and looked the part for most of the race, establishing himself at the front of the pack. Eddie took the lead late and created a gulf between him, Cimarron's Thomas Gallegos and Roberts, but faded in the home stretch.
Somehow, above all that whooping and wailing, Roberts could hear his grandparents, who had come down from their seats and positioned themselves along the railing, near the track.
Family support and history inspired Roberts, who wanted to win the race for his father, Dwayne, a former distance runner who never won during his heyday and helped stretch his son out before the race.
"I didn't save a lot," said Roberts, who before the 3,200, finished fifth in the 1,600 and a seventh in the 800.
Roberts wasn't the lone winner from Logan, whose boys also won the 800 relay in 1:33.96.
The Longhorns finished sixth with 28 points. Cimarron took the team title with 71 points, with Cliff second and Mountainair third.
On the girls side, Marissa Miller of Logan notched third- and fourth-place finishes respectively in the 100 and 200 meters, and helped the 400 relay to a second-place showing, behind Fort Sumner.
In field events, Baylee Hines cleared 8 feet for second place in pole vault.
The Lady Longhorns tied Desert Academy for seventh with 24 points, well behind district foe Fort Sumner, which won its seventh straight title with 95 points.
There were few momentous occasions for San Jon, House and Tucumcari the rest of the meet.
- The Tucumcari boys won a thrilling 400-meter relay in 44.63 to beat New Mexico Military Institute (44.77) in Class 2A, and came in second to Laguna Acoma in the 800 relay.
- Jacob Benally of San Jon finished in 12.22 seconds, good for second behind Escalante's Adam Gurule in the boys A 100 meters.
The Tucumcari boys finished tied for eighth with 23 points — Texico edged Laguna Acoma 53 to 48 for the 2A title.
The Tucumcari girls tied for sixth with 23 points. Santa Rosa snagged with title with 45 points.