The good news for Carrizozo is that their basketball teams made it into the Class 1A State playoffs.
The bad news is, their track program will take a little longer to get started as a result.
Of course, none of the players – and certainly not coach Trampus Pierson – were concerned with track as they prepared for their first-round basketball games.
However, basketball season is nearing an end, the track season starts March 23 at the Magdalena Steer Stampede, and there are some truly talented track athletes at Carrizozo.
“We’ve got some really good kids coming back,” Pierson said. “We’ll strive more toward individual events, but who knows.”
Carrizozo has had enrollment issues for some time – there’s only 46 kids in the high school right now. But Pierson said 30 of those are boys, so there’s at least an outside possibility the Grizzlies could challenge for a team trophy or two this season.
There’s certainly talent coming back. Senior Riley Pierson was tied for second in pole vault with a final height of 11 feet, six inches at State, while fellow senior Garrison Ventura took third in long jump.
Also, all the relay team members are back except one. The 4×200 team was second in state behind District 2-1A foe Reserve, which set a state record in the event.
On the girls side, things are more geared toward the individual, with coach Pierson looking to a number of younger girls to help out.
That’s certainly nothing new this school year, as both the volleyball and girls basketball teams got a lot of playing time from eighth graders Suntana Zamora, Joanna Vega and Kaitlyn Guevara.
However, Vega is still sidelined with a knee injury.
Still, there’s senior Hannah Ventura, who will look to better her State record throw in the shot put from last season. It should go without saying that she also won a state title.
“That’s one of the things that make it worthwhile to be a coach,” Pierson said of Ventura’s accomplishment. “She’s a really good person, a good athlete, and does really well.”
As for the rest, Pierson will work to see where the younger kids can fill in, where their talents are the best.
“We’ll just have to adjust some things,” Pierson said. “We’ll replace some of the girls we lost from last year and see where we can go with it.”
UPDATE: Obviously, with both the boys and girls falling in the first round of the state basketball tournament, track and field is back on the front burner for the Grizzlies. They start their season March 23 at the Magdalena Steer Stampede.