It’s going to take a strong performance for Clovis High’s girls to maintain their remarkable streak of the past few years in Class 5A state track.
The Lady Wildcats have five consecutive top-four finishes — winning championships in 2006, 2008 and 2009, finishing second in 2007 and placing fourth last year.
“Numbers-wise, we haven’t been as deep the last two years as we were before,” Clovis girls coach Mike Hankins said.
State large-schools competition (Classes 3A-5A) begins this morning and runs through Saturday night at the University of New Mexico track facility in Albuquerque.
In order to finish near the top, the Lady Cats will need good showings from their three relay teams and from junior thrower Marivel Garza, who is qualified in shot put, javelin and discus and ranks in the top five in 5A in all three.
Garza is the defending 5A shot put champion and finished third in discus last year, both on the first day, which helped Clovis to the team lead after Friday’s competition. A disqualification in the 1,600 relay prelims on Friday night, though, was a setback that proved hard for the Lady Cats to overcome.
This year, CHS ranks second in the 800 relay and fifth in the 400 and 1,600 relays, but Hankins thinks they could do better.
“The choice this year is do we go after individual events or relays,” Hankins said. “This year, we’re going for the relays.
“Time-wise, we’re right in the thick of the relays, and Marivel sits good in all three of the throws. I think most all of our individual events are good enough to get to the finals.”
The Clovis boys, who tied for seventh last year, have entries in 14 events but not necessarily a lot of overall depth. The Wildcats have three entries in shot put and two in discus, including junior Kenny Betts and senior Carlos Garza in both, but no other event with more than one.
“If we can be in the top five or six (in team standings), that would be good,” Cats coach Darren Kelley said.
Betts should do well in shot and discus, Kelley said, particularly the former. Then-CHS senior Richie Chavez won both events at state last year.
“Kenny is definitely the favorite in the shot; he could go anywhere from first to third,” Kelley said. “Both Kenny and Carlos have a chance in discus to be anywhere from third to fifth.”
The Cats are qualified in all four relays, but have high hopes for the 800 and 1,600 relays.
“Our big goal is to win the mile (1,600) relay,” Kelley said. “That’s the one (track) event we have a realistic chance of winning.”
Several other field event entries could score well, he said, while on the track freshman Traivon Sopila (200), senior Lincoln Nora (400) and senior Colton Dant (3,200) are potential high finishers.
The Cibola boys and Highland girls are the defending champions.