As with all small-school track teams in the area, it’s really too early to figure on what kind of athletes a coach will have in the spring until basketball season is over.
Carrizozo’s boys and girls basketball seasons have at least three more games left as of this writing, so asking boys coach Trampus Pierson to speculate on the spring is a little premature.
Whatever, we have a preview to publish, so we’re asking him anyway.
“I really don’t know what athletes we’ll have, although I’m sure Detrick Autrey is coming back,” Pierson said of the junior who brought home medals in discus and shot last season. “Jared Guevara is also back in the javelin, but our relays will be missing Garrison (Ventura), which will hurt us.”
Ventura closed out his senior year last season by bringing home medals in long jump, 200-meters, and as a member of the 4×100 and 4×200 teams.
There’s still talent that Pierson can draw from, assuming they decide to come out and compete as spring alights in Lincoln County.
“We have some speed and other athletes that will step up,” Pierson said. “Hopefully they’ll make up for losing our anchor leg, but we should still compete in all the relays.”
As with every sport this school year, the Carrizozo girls are plagued by youth and injuries, but their growth in basketball shows how hard the Grizzlies are willing to work to get better.
Freshman Katilyn Guevara will return after medaling in four running events at last year’s State meet, and she’ll be joined by a pair of eighth graders – Melissa Barela and Kelsie Guevara – whom Pierson has high hopes for.
“They’re very successful in track,” Pierson said of the young-but-able Grizzlies. “They’re young, but we have some speed out there.”
One Carrizozo athlete who won’t be hitting the track is freshman Joanna Vega, who had a string of hard-luck injuries that ended both her volleyball and basketball seasons almost before they began.
Since she’s still got three full years of eligibility, Pierson and Vega both agree it’s best for her to sit out this spring and heal properly.
As for how many athletes total he’ll have to coach, Pierson is still unsure.
“There are a bunch of kids doing things they haven’t done before,” Pierson said. “We’ve got the athletes, we just don’t know how they’ll do. We’ve got a bunch of new girls and we have to figure out where they’re going to excel.”
Carrizozo’s track season is set to start March 22 at the Magdalena Steer Stampede, plenty of time after the end of basketball.
“They need a little bit of time to recover after that long basketball season,” Pierson said. “I try to give the a week off to recuperate and ease into it. We won’t be at the top of our game in the first meet, but we want to peak right around district and State.”
That the Grizzlies might not have immediate success might be discouraging to a group of young athletes, but Pierson doesn’t think that will happen here.
“They’ve been successful in other things, and I think the problems they’ve faced have made them more likely to work hard and reap the rewards,” Pierson said. “They know what it’s like to be on the other side of that. They’ll be motivated to make themselves better.”