ALBUQUERQUE – It may not have been the way she’d have liked to end her high school years – standing second on the podium instead of first – but Corona’s Aubrey Brandenberger wasn’t going to complain.
“It’s where God wanted me,” Brandenberger said after finishing second in the 300-meter hurdles, May 6, at the Class 1A State meet. “I had a stutter step on that hurdle, that’s where I lost it. Last track, last blocks, last set of hurdles.”
Brandenberger started out with a lead, but couldn’t hold off the hard charging Landry Widner of Melrose, who caught her on the turn and powered home.
Even so, Brandenberger gave it all she had, the strain showing on her face once Widner had passed her.
“When she hit that hurdle on the back side, she clipped her knee pretty good,” said Corona coach Trish Cox. “But I was proud of her keeping it together, and I thought it was a solid second place finish for her.”
With Brandenberger graduating, it’s up to freshman sister Koelle to carry on the family tradition. She qualified for State in the 800-meter run.
That was two of the five total athletes that represented the Cardinals in Albuquerque – including Cabel Cox in shot put, Conner Cox in javelin, and Luke Lueras in javelin and discus.
Coach Cox said the entire weekend was a learning experience for everyone.
“For such a young team, I thought they performed well,” Cox said. “Their distances and times were about what they had been doing all year, and it gives us a lot of room to grow.”
For the Hondo Lady Eagles, junior Joyce Ann Cooper scored 10½ of her team’s 14 points over the two days, finishing fourth in the 1,600-meters and high jump, third in the 800-meter and part of the 4×100 and 4×200 teams that finished sixth.
More than her points, Cooper was important to her team with her leadership. There’s a ton of young talent in need of that kind of guidance, according co Hondo co-coach Tim Harris.
“We’ve got a great athletic future here, we’re young, and these kids love to compete,” Harris said. “You’ve got to love coaching kids that love to compete.
Senior Simon Gonzales had the best finish of any Eagle athlete, taking second in the 100-meters with a time of 11.91 seconds to earn half his team’s points. Fellow senior Antonio Vazquez was third in the 1,600.
“I tell you what, I’m proud of these boys, we had some guys with great finishes,” Harris said. “Simon was part of a group that set a State record in the 100-meters in the preliminaries, then finished second. They get out there and they don’t think they can lose. It’s really fun to coach these kids.”