A meet among friends

By Todd Fuqua

Photo by Todd Fuqua Carrizozo's Detrick Autrey throws the shot put, April 22, during the Capitan Invitational. Autrey won the event for the Grizzlies.

CAPITAN – When it gets down to the end of the regular season for a track and field team in New Mexico, the last few meets are all about one thing: qualifying for the State meet.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Capitan’s Kort Sparks runs to an eventual victory in the 800-meter run, April 22, during the Capitan Invitational.

That was certainly the goal for every athlete at this year’s Capitan Tiger Invitational, April 22.

One athlete who met that goal was Capitan’s Adrianna Romero, who’s leap of 4 feet, 10 inches was enough to win the event and get herself on the bus for State.

She was unable to clear five feet, though, even though she’s done it plenty of times in practice.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Capitan’s Adrianna Romero clears the bar in the high jump, April 22, at the Capitan Invitational. Romero eventually won the event – and qualified for State – with a leap of 4 feet, 10 inches.

“Today was a different meet, especially with the weather,” Romero said, referring to the 40-degree weather and overcast skies to start the meet. “Also, at Fort Sumner I bruised my heel triple jumping, but I just had to clear my head and try the best I could. I’d like to hit five foot, it just wasn’t there for me today.”

One thing’s for sure, Romero will have her hands full in the event when she competes at the District 4-3A meet at Tularosa next week.

“Probably the best four or five high jumpers in the state are in this district,” Romero said. “They’ve all qualified already, so it will be tough to compete.”

Another pair of girls that did well were the Brandenberger sisters of Corona. Senior Aubrey ran in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, still trying to get her rhythm down.

Photo by Todd Fuquqa Corona’s Aubrey Brandenberger had a little trouble with the 100-meter hurtles, but still did well in her heat in preparation for the 300-meter event.

“It was good, but I kept clipping the hurdles,” Aubrey said of the 100-meter race. “That was just my fifth race in the 100, so I mainly just do that to warm me up for the 300 hurdles. It’s a good beginning of the day race.

“Today was really slow,” she added, speaking about her 52.43 second time, just good enough for fourth place, but still fast enough to qualify for State. “You have your eye on the end in mind, so you can handle those races in between, trying to get better form and get in shape.”

Koelle, a freshman, was in the 200-meter dash for the first time in her life, and had to run with her sister’s borrowed shoes.

She may be the younger sister, but Aubrey’s shoes were actually too small for Koelle, and she couldn’t wait to get them off after winning her heat with a time of 32.86 seconds.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Corona’s Koelle Brandenberger easily won her heat in the 200-meters, April 22, at the Capitan Invitational. It was her first time ever running the event.

“I ran this when I was younger, but not since then,” Koelle said. “It was a little tiring, but the beginning of the race was good.”

Cable Cox and Luke Lueras were the only boys there, and they only competed in the discus and shot put.

Neither placed or qualified for State, but their distances are getting better.

“I’m really hoping I can take all five of my kids to State,” said Corona coach Trish Cox. “I’m hoping we can qualify all of them, there’s not many throwers in our district.”

Hondo had a couple of good finishes, as Simon Gonzalez took second in the 100-meter dash, while the medley relay team was also second with a time of 4:27.18.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, neither time was fast enough for a State berth.

The Cooper sisters of Hondo – Joyce Ann and Kate – were third and fifth in the 800-meter run for the best event the Lady Eagles had, but again, not fast enough for state.

“This was a good opportunity for the kids to come out and get some good competition under their belts,” said Hondo coach Alice Velasquez. “We’ve got the Carrizozo quad after this, with one more decision to make before district.”

Both Corona and Hondo are at the District 3-1A meet at Jal, April 29.

This Tiger Invite was an intimate one, with only seven schools entered, and five of them were from the immediate area.

Capitan boys coach Becky Huey said it was a relaxed vibe, booth because of how quickly things moved, and how well all the athletes know each other.

“I thought everything ran pretty good, and the weather turned out to be amazing,” Huey said, referring to the clearer and warmer weather by the meet’s end. “Some of the kids were telling me how calming this meet has been. They loved it because they were running with all of their friends. Everyone enjoyed it.”

2 Comments on A meet among friends

  1. Richard Purcella // April 27, 2017 at 9:05 am // Reply

    We drive all over the state to watch our granddaughter compete for Capitan HS. It is amazing to me how unorganized some of the schools are. For example, last Tuesday the field events started on time (3pm) at Carilzozo. We then had to sit for, probably, for an hour and a half until the running events started. We drive from LC and the late start puts us home around 11pm. Not good! Mentioned our disappointment to the starter, his reaction was “laughter “. Who’s in charge and who do we voice our concerns to?

    • Todd Fuqua // April 27, 2017 at 9:41 am // Reply

      I understand the concern, but the reality is these meets are usually run with the coaches’ and athlete’s convenience in mind. As a sportswriter, I’ve had to learn to budget my time and figure out exactly when events are running and where I need to place myself.
      FYI: At all these meets (excepting the State meet) the field events (jumping and throwing) start about an hour before the running events, always. Also, there’s a schedule of events available, usually where the scratch meeting takes place. Those are held about an hour before the field events.
      It’s crazy and hectic, but the coaches and meet officials are trying to get it done as fast as possible, which usually means there’s multiple events going at the same time all over the place. I know it’s not what you want to hear, but it’s just something you would have to work around and deal with, accepting the fact that late nights are inevitable, particularly with meets that start in the afternoon. Also, the more teams there are, the longer things will go. That’s why this Capitan meet was done so early – it started at 9 a.m. and had only seven schools.
      Track meets are unlike any other sport I’ve covered – excepting maybe wrestling tournaments. The variety of disciplines, amount of space needed for those disciplines and sheer numbers of athletes at these things makes for a very trying and long day. I understand your concern and frustration, but that’s just the reality when you have an athlete or interest in track and field.

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