When the Clovis High girls track team edged out Cibola on the final event last year to win the Class 5A track title, they had snuck up on the Cougars — and to some extent, themselves.
Last year, we were a solid second, I thought,” Clovis coach Darrel Ray said. “We knew we had to be near perfect to have a shot at first.”
Now, Ray says, “The shoe’s on the other foot,” as it is Clovis that is favored when it goes for a 5A track title repeat at the University of New Mexico.
Senior Meagan Baglein, who finished second in discus and third in shot last year, figures it will take a repeat of last year’s effort, where Wildcat athletes posted 30 points in a first day dominated by field events and got just enough for the win in running events.
“Field events are where we’re strongest, and that’s where we really need to score. In running events we’re good, but we just don’t have the numbers that other schools do.”
Ray thinks the balance is a little bit better than it was in 2008, and he would be pleased if the team can finish in the high 20s in points after the first day.
“If we have a good Friday,” Ray said, “it’s going to be very hard for anybody to beat us.”
From there, Clovis should get points from Caitlin Waters in the 800 meters and all four relay teams, which each have the second-best times in Class 5A.
Scoring the meet on paper, Ray said Clovis would finish with 70 points, about 12 ahead of Rio Rancho.
“We’ve got a little bit of a cushion there,” Ray said.
In boys action, coach Darren Kelley feels the cushion is significantly bigger for Highland and defending champion Cibola, which won last year’s state meet by 45 points.
“Highland and Cibola are the top two teams in the state and there isn’t anybody close to them,” Kelley said. “Highland’s probably the favorite between those two. They both could make mistakes and still be fine.”
The race is for third, Kelley said, and the Wildcats are in competition with Rio Rancho, La Cueva, and Eldorado.
Kelley said senior Moses Bibbs will have to have a good meet if Clovis is to win a trophy, and he’s confident Bibbs will do a little better than where he’s projected. Kelley reasoned that he doesn’t trust the times of other 100-meter runners in the state, because Bibbs beat all of them at the Wildcat Relays and a few weeks later about eight runners had better times than Bibbs.
Points must also come from defending shot put champ Richie Chavez in the shot and discus and from Izzy Miranda in the 1,600 and 3,200.
“Last year, I was there, and it was fun,” said Miranda, who’s won the 1,600 and 3,200 in several meets this season. “This year, I’m going to compete and I’m trying to win it.”
In relays, Kelley figures the Wildcats can get points from at least three of the relay teams and would be satisfied if the 1,600 relay team gets to the finals and has a chance for points if a favored team develops a small injury or makes a blunder.
“You never know what little things are going to happen,” Kelley said. “If you’re not in the finals, you can’t take advantage.”