Ruidoso’s track and field team made the long trip to Lubbock over the weekend to compete in the Lubbock Invitational in Texas, where they were the only New Mexico school in attendance.
Running in the second division, Ruidoso actually did fairly well, with both the boys and girls finishing fourth as a team.
“It was a two-day meet, so the kids got to experience prelims on Friday and finals on Saturday, which is how it’s going to be at the State meet,” said Ruidoso coach Kief Johnson. “It was a great experience with more than 1,300 athletes competing.
“It was great to see other schools and programs outside of New Mexico.”
In fact, Shalom Keller proved to be the fastest girl at the meet, bar none, when she ran the 100 meter dash in 12.25 seconds in the preliminaries on Friday. She wasn’t as fast in Saturday’s final, but her 12.42 time was more than enough to best Lindsey Menton of Lubbock Estacado.
Keller wasn’t quite as fast in the 200, as Kaitlyn Matthews of Big Spring was quicker, but it was still very close.
“That was a great race, it was neck and neck,” Johnson said of the 200 final. “That was a highlight.”
Both of Keller’s times in those events were fast enough to re-qualify her for State.
Also re-qualifying in their events were Jessi Midkiff – second in 100-meter hurdles at 17.18 – and Bailey Johnes with a 33 foot, 11½ leap in triple jump to take second.
“We had numerous kids get personal records and better times,” Johnson said.
On the boys side, the internal competition between Tyler McClendon and Lane Ryen Continued, as McClendon took second overall with a State-qualifying score of 44-3½. Ryen finished fourth at 43-3.
“That’s a great competition between the two of them. They’ve been back and forth all season,” Johnson said.
While he didn’t get a qualifying time, Tyler Davis still ran well enough in the 3,200 meter run to take second overall, and was fifth in the 1,600 meter run.
LaVaughn Smooth finished fourth in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
This weekend is the George/Love Invitational in Portales at ENMU’s Greyhound Stadium on Feb. 7, then things start gearing up for the Warrior Invite at RHS on April 13.
“We’ve got right at 12 teams coming to our meet,” Johnson said. “I’m a little nervous, since we don’t have lights over there. But if we get things run smoothly, we should be able to get it done fast.”