Warriors on track for successful state meet


The Socorro Warriors keep adding to their list of qualifiers for the Class 3A state high school track and field meet. They were hoping to add even more on Friday when the team traveled to Ruidoso to compete in the Therman Jordan Relays.

At last week’s Stockyard Relays in Magdalena, the Socorro boys added two more to their list when Sam Hale won the shot put and Adam Paz came out the winner in the triple jump.

Coach Cody Lee couldn’t have been much prouder.

“Adam wants to be so good. All he does is work,” he said of Paz, a junior. “Out of all of the guys on the team this year, he’s been the biggest surprise.”

Paz busted out a hop, skip and jump of 40 feet, 10 1/2 inches in Magdalena. That mark currently ranks second among 3A athletes in the triple jump.

Hale, a senior, qualified in the shot put last year at the district meet, where the top two placers earn a trip to state. In Magdalena, his throw of 45-1 1/2 beat the qualifying standard of 44 feet.

Two days later, three Socorro boys earned a special invitation to the Rio Rancho Invitational, which was actually held at the University of New Mexico Track and Field Complex in conjunction with a college meet.

Senior Ray Vaiza turned in his best performance of the year in two events at that meet. A third-pace finisher at last year’s state meet in the long jump, Vaiza is now ranked first in the event among 3A athletes after registering a mark of 20-8 1/4 last Saturday. He then recorded a time of 52.04 in the 400, currently sixth best in 3A.

Among the guys he’s behind in the 400 rankings is teammate Dylan Gallegos, whose time of 50.90 ranks second in the class.

Vaiza and Gallegos are both qualified in the 200 as well, with near identical times — Gallegos at 22.94 and Vaiza at 22.98.

“By the end of the year, I think we can get four kids in the 400 and four kids in the 200,” Lee said.

Other candidates include Dominic Baca, Raymond Chavez and Ibrahim Maiga. All of them in some shape or form contribute to the relay teams. Right now, the Socorro boys only have its 800-meter realy qualified for state, but Lee expects to add others.

“We’ll see what happens,” he said.

The Warriors have two other athletes qualified for state in field events. David Robinson is already a two-time state champion in the discus, but right now his best mark this season, 142-2, ranks third in 3A. The senior will also be competing in the javelin at state.

Kendal Pyke will also be making a return trip to the state meet. Once again he’s qualified in the pole vault.

Lady Warriors

Socorro also sent three girls to last Saturday’s Rio Rancho Invite — Dezirae Armijo, Tamara Chavez and Zoe Howell.

Though already state-qualified in the event, Chavez and Howell were able to improve their times in the 100-meter dash.

Howell clocked in at 12.70 seconds, while Chavez was close behind at 12.79.

Howell, a senior who will be shooting for the high-point honor at state, will also run the 200 and 400. She currently ranks second in the 800 (2:28.12), third in the 400 (58.9) and fourth in the 100.

Howell is used to anchoring relay events but SHS girls coach Dianna Jameson said she may have to find a replacement, since Howell is running so many other events. Socorro already has three girls relay teams in the state meet. The only one they’re lacking is the 1600-meter medley relay.

The Warriors have a third girl also assured of a spot in the state 100 preliminaries, to go along with Howell and Chavez. JeriAna Contreras ranks seventh with a time of 12.99. She is also qualified in the 100 hurdles with the fourth best time recorded so far, 17.23, and the high jump, having cleared the qualifying height of 4-10.

Armijo is also qualified in three events. Aside from the 100, she’ll run the 200 and compete in the long jump. Her leap of 16-4 in the long jump is third in 3A and just five inches short of the top mark, recorded by Hope Christian’s Kearney Moss last week at the Rio Rancho meet.

“We don’t have anyone in the throwing events yet, but we’re getting close,” said Jameson.

Among the throwers are Michelle Rivera and Marissa Sarate in the javelin and shot put and Mariah Anaya in the discus.

Jameson said other girls close to qualifying for state are Kierra Schauer in the 100 and high jump and Julie Aster in the pole vault.

If not Ruidoso, Socorro athletes will have a good chance to earn their ticket to the state meet when they compete in their third and final home meet on Thursday, April 26.


-- Email the author at tslast@dchieftain.com.