La Cueva girls win at Clovis

By Dave Wagner

CLOVIS — No one individual dominated the girls division of Friday’s Wildcat Relays at Leon Williams Stadium, and that suited La Cueva coach Jim Ciccarello just fine.
The Lady Bears spread the points around and had more than enough to successfully defend their team title, rolling up 104 1/2 points to 70 for runnerup Alamogordo.
“I think that’s the kind of team we’ve got this year, and that’s what we strive for,” Ciccarello said. “We haven’t quite showed the blue (ribbon) power that we’ll need at state, but we’re trying to qualify as many individuals and relays as we can right now.”
Competing without senior standout Monique Walker (knee), Clovis finished fifth with 43 1/2 points. The Lady Cats did not win any events, getting seconds from Kim Perkins (300 hurdles) and Tyisha Brown (shot put), who led a 2-3-5 showing in that event.
“What I was proud of was that all our young kids continue to cut time,” CHS girls coach Darrel Ray aid. “We’ll be OK. We’ve always been a late-blooming team, and we’re pretty close to being on the schedule we want.”
Portales didn’t score in the meet but did qualify its 400-meter relay team.
“We knew coming in it would be tough to score at this meet,” Portales coach Ruth Chavez said. “But we qualified our 400 relay and had lots of personal bests.
“This is going to be good for us running against good people.
There were no double winners in the 15-team competition. La Cueva picked up four firsts — Whitney Hughes in the 100, Alex Darling in the 300 hurdles, Lindsey Barr in the 3,200 and Brianna Paxton in shot put.
Paxton threw a season-best 38 feet in shot, beating out Brown by just over a foot. Her discus effort of 109-0 was about seven feet off her previous best and left her two inches behind Artesia’s Tami Williams.
Paxton, who was second in shot and third in discus at state last year, hopes to contend for state titles in both next month. She has a career best in shot put of 39-8, set at last year’s Academy Invitational.
“I got that one time,” she said. “My best throws last year were mostly around 38.”
Alamogordo made a strong showing behind junior Danielle Delone, who finished second in individual points with 17 1/2 to Highland’s Deanna Young (19).
Delone won the 100 hurdles easily, finished second in high jump, took third in the 200 and sixth in long jump, and ran a leg on the Lady Tigers’ fifth-place 800 relay.
“It just keeps me busy,” she said of her workload. “But I love track, and anything I can do to help my team, I’m happy to do.
“This was our toughest meet. We all had to step up, and I love the challenge.”
Rio Rancho won five events to hold off Highland for third place.
“I didn’t feel like anyone would totally dominate the meet,” Ray said. “La Cueva’s depth got a lot of points, and Alamo ran well. The team that showed me a lot was Highland; they have a lot of state-quality speed.
“With the exception of Eldorado and probably Cibola, I think you saw some of the best 5A teams in the state.”