Socorro High track & field teams quick out of the blocks


Socorro High School’s track and field teams are off to a fast start. Between the boys and the girls, the Warriors are already qualified for the state meet in 13 events, and coaches say there are more to come.

“We’re running fast right now, but we’ll be running faster in May,” said boys coach Cody Lee.

One of the fastest is sprinter Dylan Gallegos. Not surprisingly, he was the first boy from a Class 3A school to qualify in the 200-meter dash. The same is true of the 400, where he posted a blazing time of 51.95 at the first meet of the year two weeks ago.

Lee said the junior got a head start on everyone else.

“Dylan ran in four indoor meets; he’s already 13 weeks into his training. He’s in great shape,” the coach said.

Gallegos will run on relay teams, as well, and has been trying out the hurdles.

Senior Ray Vaiza has yet to qualify in running events, but he’s heading back to state in the long jump, an event he placed third in at last year’s state meet.

In other field events, junior Kendal Pyke is qualified in the pole vault, having cleared 11 feet, and senior David Robinson is state bound in both the discus and javelin.

Robinson is a two-time defending state champ in the discus. At last Saturday’s Zimmerly Relays in Socorro, he threw the disc 142 feet, 2 inches — about a foot short of the mark he won state with a year ago.

Coach Lee said he expects to have more state qualifiers after the Warriors compete in their next meet March 24 at West Las Vegas.

“We’ll start stacking our relays in the next couple of weeks. We’ll try to qualify our 4 by 100 and medley teams at the next meet,” he said.

The coach is thrilled that Ibrahim Maiga decided to forego baseball his senior season and compete in track and field for the first time.

“He got that football scholarship (at Eastern New Mexico University) and wanted to come out to stay sharp,” Lee said. “We’re a different program with him here.”

Lee said Maiga will run the 400, 800 and have a spot on the 800 relay team. He also will try some other events.

“We’ll experiment with him in the jumps and javelin. He’s a kid that can do pretty much anything,” Lee said.

A member of the Warriors’ basketball team, Maiga got off to a late start, as did other hoop players.

“For the basketball players, this is only their second week,” the coach said during Thursday’s practice. “They’re still a ways out. They’re trying to get their legs under them.”

Lady Warriors

Senior Zoe Howell emerged as the girls team’s top athlete last year, and she’s proving it again. The senior has already qualified for state in four events — the 100, 200, 400 and 800.

“And she’s ranked number one in all of them,” noted SHS girls coach Dianna Jameson. “If she wants to be the high-point scorer at state, she’ll have to run those.”

Howell will have some competition from Pojoaque Valley’s Amanda Babicke, whose qualifying time is just one-hundredth of second behind Howell in the 100. Babicke is also just .39 seconds behind Howell in the 200.

Howell is more than one second ahead of her nearest challenger in the 400, according to what’s been posted on the NMAA website. She’s the only girl to have qualified in the 800 so far.

“With Zoe qualifying in that many events, we’ll have to pick up some other girls for the relays,” Jameson said.

Howell has anchored relay teams in the past, so Jameson is looking for a replacement. She may have found one in Maddie Chavez, who’s only a freshman.

Chavez anchored the 800-meter relay team that qualified for state last Saturday with a 3A-best time of 1:49.27. Kierra Schauer led off the race, handing off to Tamera Chavez, who passed the baton to Angelina Stanzione.

The girls 400-meter relay team is also qualified. That team was made up of Schauer, Chavez, Dezirae Armijo and Howell, though Jameson said adjustments are likely to be made before they make it to state.

Armijo, who placed sixth at state in the long jump, assured herself a return trip in that event with a leap of 16-04 at the season-opening meet. A standout soccer player, Armijo missed last Saturday’s meet to compete in a soccer tournament and will miss a few more meets for the same reason, the coach said.

Jameson said she has a group of throwers who could get themselves qualified for state. The group is led by senior Michelle Rivera, who won the shot put and discus at last week’s meet. Marrissa Sarate was the winner of the javelin, and Mariah Anaya scored points for the team in discus and javelin.

“Those girls started off as freshmen and kept it up,” Jameson said.


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