ALBUQUERQUE – Ruidoso track and field coach Kief Johnson wasn’t the only busy Johnson at the University of New Mexico track and field complex, May 11-12.
His daughter, senior Morgan Johnson, earned State championships in the 100 and 200-meter dashes, scoring 22 of her team’s 25½ points at the Class 4A State meet.
“We were expecting the best from her, she was right in the running for all of them coming in,” said coach Johnson. “She just came ready to compete.”
In the 100, Johnson’s 12.9 seconds in the finals was just enough to beat out Silver’s Denali Burke, with whom she’d been battling at meets throughout the season.
In the 200, she took off like a shot and was never seriously challenged en route to a 26.45-second time, besting Faith Powell of Taos in second place.
Morgan was also fourth in the 400-meter dash at 1:00.72, and took second in long jump, leaping 16-11¾.
“She almost hit that 17-foot mark, and she had to check out and run in the 400-prelims on Friday,” said coach Johnson. “Right after that, she hit her best mark ever. It was the best jump of her career, and State was the place to do it.”
Nallely Gomez was able to compliment Johnson’s points with a third-place tie in pole vault at 8-feet-6. It was the first time she’d been able to clear that height and she did it on her first try.
At one point, she later cleared nine feet, but her pole knocked off the bar on the way down.
“We felt the wind pushed it in, but it was a judgement call and they said she didn’t push the pole far enough away,” said coach Johnson. “But it was a good effort and she did her best.”
Macai Garcia and Tyler McClendon had superior days throwing over the two days. Garcia started off with a second-place finish in discus early Friday, throwing it 142 feet, 6 inches.
He was also second in shot put with a throw of 48 feet even, second only to McClendon, who broke the 50-foot barrier with a throw of 50-1½.
“We knew Macai would be right up there in discus, but in shot put, those guys have gone back and forth all year. Macai beat Tyler in district last week,” said coach Johnson. “Tyler really came on and finally got one over the 50-foot mark. Competition breeds success, and both these guys were competing with each other and pushed each other to work hard. We’ll miss all these seniors.”
Among those seniors the Warriors will miss is Josh Romero, who just missed the podium in long jump, and Aldo Cardenas, who competed in the 400-meter dash.
“All these guys really gave their all,” Johnson said.