ALBUQUERQUE — Clovis senior Richie Chavez got set to leave for the team bus, but stopped after looking at the red straps he was carrying.
“This ain’t my bag,” he said with a laugh, before trading it for the silver sack that he brought to the University of New Mexico. While the red Nike accessory he left behind wasn’t his bag, the discus certainly was.
Chavez’ win in the event, with a school-record throw of 176 feet, 9 inches, was a positive start to Clovis High’s run through the first day of the Class 5A meet. The girls, meanwhile, ended their day with a tinge of disappointment. A disqualification in the mile relay for running outside of the lane on an exchange, likely wiped out chances at a third-straight 5A title.
“We’re going to go into tomorrow in the lead, but midday, we’ll be done,” Clovis coach Darrel Ray said of the Lady Wildcats, who hold a 21-18 lead over Rio Rancho going into Saturday. “If we get that last relay, we’d be able to defend ourselves a little bit.”
Clovis’ chances at points Saturday will be from Antiesha Brown in the triple jump, the 400 and 800 relays and Shatia Phillips in the 100.
Brown finished second in the long jump, while throwers Marivel Garza and Francesca Cabrera also scored points. Garza, a sophomore, won shot with a toss of 37-4 1 /2 and was third in javelin at 119-5 Garza said she was happy because she threw personal records in both events, and she hopes the field points can help push Clovis to a trophy.
“Not the one we wanted,” Garza said, “but (we can be) up there.”
Cabrera finished fourth in the discus and fifth in the shot.
Clovis boys coach Darren Kelley said Chavez’ win should give him extra motivation for Saturday, when he goes for a third-straight shot put title at noon.
“It was nice to see Richie win the discus, and set a school record at the same time,” Kelley said.
Chavez said he simply, “didn’t want to lose,” and his second throw easily bested the field. There was concern from his coaches, since Willie Pounds of Eldorado threw 178 feet at the Wildcat Relays earlier this year.
“That was his only throw over 170 all year,” Chavez said of Pounds, who finished second at 153-6, “so I wasn’t too worried.”
Clovis has eight and a half points, as freshman D.J. Blackmon tied for fifth in the high jump. Rio Rancho leads the field with 21, with Onate (15) and Highland (14) close behind and Sandia (11.5) and Cibola (11) in striking distance.
In addition to the Chavez in the shot, the Wildcats have chances to score Saturday in the javelin, the 300 hurdles, 400 and the 800 and mile relays.