Making a ‘state-ment’

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Socorro’s boys and girls track teams have raced out of the blocks in 2012 and have set their collective sights on state meet silverware.

Though the season is still fairly young, Cody Lee’s Warriors and Diana Jameson’s Lady Warriors have already qualified more than a dozen athletes for state and are on track to send even more.

The Warriors – paced by junior Dylan Gallegos and senior David Robinson – have run rampant in their opening competitions, qualifying four for state in the team’s first two outings.

On the Lady Warriors’ side, senior sprinter Zoe Howell leads a talented crew of Socorro standouts who have already raced their way in to the state showcase. The four-time defending district champs are hoping to relay their early season success into the post-season.

Early season indications are that Socorro’s thinclads are ready to run away with several honors as the season progresses.

Warriors Field Talented Team

Despite losing eight seniors from his 2011 squad, Cody Lee boasts a bounty of talented and seasoned veterans on his Warriors track team.

While Socorro finished as runners-up to Silver City in 2011 and sixth overall in the state, this year’s Warriors have their eyes on an even bigger prize – district and state gold.

Leading the Socorro charge on the 2012 return leg are seniors Chandler Benavidez, Sam Hale, Ray Vaiza, Ibrahim Maiga, David Robinson and Dominic Baca, juniors Dylan Gallegos, Adam Paz and James Howell, among others.

While he values their experience and leadership potential, coach Lee said he is looking primarily to Benavidez to help inspire the Warriors to great heights.

“Chandler is our leader on the track,” Lee said. “His attitude and his work ethic are fantastic.”

Among those coach Lee and Benavidez will look to for results on the track are Vaiza, Gallegos, Maiga, Paz, Baca, Aaron McDaniel and Brian Melanson.

Vaiza is among the team’s workhorses, competing in all sprint competitions, the team’s talented 4 x 400 relay and also competes in the long jump.

The talented senior, who finished the 2011 campaign as the state’s third best long jumper, has already ensured himself a spot at the big show and is hoping to leave the competition eating his dirt.

Joining Vaiza on the 4 x 400 relay are speedsters Dylan Gallegos, Ibrahim Maiga and Dominic Baca.

Gallegos, who’s known for his sprinting prowess, will also join Vaiza at state having already made the proverbial grade in both the 200- and 400-meter races. Lee said he expects Gallegos to qualify for the 300- and 400-meter hurdles as the season progresses.

Maiga will look to pace himself as he endeavors to secure state berths in the 400m, 800m and 800-meter relays. Baca is hoping to join his relay teammates at state in the individual sprints as well.

Also expected to challenge for honors on the running side of the team are Howell (800m, 1600m), Sierra Cahall (middle- to long-distance), McDaniel (110m, 330m hurdles) and Melanson (110m hurdles, 330m hurdles).

Topic of  ‘Discus-sion’

While Socorro’s boys have made a lot of noise on the track, they are turning heads in the field events as well.

One name on every AAA team’s mind this year is David Robinson.

Socorro’s talented senior is the two-time defending state champion in the discus and has already signaled his intentions to three-peat after qualifying for state last week.

Robinson will also represent the Warriors at state in the javelin as well.

Raising the bar is no problem for Socorro’s Kendal Pyke. The junior pole-vaulter cleared 11 feet last week to earn a spot in the state championships.

Warriors Sam Hale (shot), Paz (triple jump and long jump), Maiga (triple jump and long jump), Raymond Chavez (pole vault), Zach Robinson (javelin) are also making their mark during early season competitions.

Coach Lee said he is hoping his team will continue to post competitive times throughout the season; he’s keeping an eye toward peaking in May.

“If we can continue to run fast and perform well on the field, we should do pretty well,” he said. “We want to be fast in March, but we want to be devastatingly fast in May.”

With a talented crew assembled around him, Lee knows that his charges must continue to improve and work hard if they are to reach their full potential in time to make a major “statement.”

(The Socorro girls track preview will be in the Saturday, March 24 edition of El Defensor Chieftain.)