Cody Small only felt slow Friday night.
After he failed to close the gap in the 110-meter hurdles, however, the Portales senior discovered he had never been faster.
“In my mind, it helped seeing that type of competition, especially in the 110 hurdles,” said Small, who improved his school record with a time of 14.63 seconds for third place.
Moral victories were the theme for Portales in a Wildcat Relays field dominated by Class 5A — none moreso than defending 5A champion Cibola, which took first place with 123 points.
Cibola, which blew out the field at last year’s state meet, pulled out a 16.8-point win over Rio Rancho Friday with superior depth.
“Our strength lies in having kids compete in every spot,” Cougar coach Kenny Henry said.
Henry singled out the contributions of Daniel Fiaseu, who won the javelin with a throw of 164-0, then took second in long jump, fourth in discus and sixth in the triple jump for 16 points.
Clovis, which finished fourth with 53.2 points, got wins from Moses Bibbs in the 100 meters, Izzy Miranda in the 1,600 and Richie Chavez in the shot but mostly struggled.
“We struggled in some places, but we ran good when we ran,” said Bibbs, who had a personal best of 10.61 in the 100. “I felt really good today. It was a good day.”
Kelley said Miranda, Bibbs and Stefan Mills had some bright spots, but a meet like Friday magnifies mistakes.
“This is a good meet for our guys,” Kelley said. “We need to get faster and work on some stuff.”
Highland was third with 74 points, followed by Clovis, Alamogordo (49.4), Lovington, (14.2), Hobbs (14) and Portales.
The Rams scored 10 points with a smattering of thirds, fourths and fifths. But coach Glen Johnson said getting the 400 and 1600 relays qualified for state was a benefit that came from racing 5A squads.
“This is a great opportunity for us because we get to face good, fast competition that’s going to push us,” Johnson said.
As Small caught his breath on the turf surface at Leon Williams Stadium, he couldn’t argue.
“Coach gave us high expectations,” said Small. “I think we did our best.”
The meet was pretty tough for the 5A athletes, as well.
“It was mind blowing,” Bibbs said. “You had to move, you have to get up and go. A lot of adrenaline was going.”