By Kevin Wilson
For the Portales High track teams, it’s a matter of athletes being an inch away from Albuquerque, a second removed from the state track meet in May.
The teams are preparing for Friday’s meet in Lovington, the final meet before the District 4-3A championship (also in Lovington, May 7).
Portales track members can qualify for the state meet May 13-15 by placing in the top two in the district meet. Boys track coach Glen Johnson would prefer his athletes earn a trip to state this weekend, through qualifying marks.
“We would want to qualify by our times on Friday,” Johnson said. “Friday’s our last meet before district, so we’d like to qualify so there’s not that added pressure to get qualified at district.”
The boys have two qualified so far — Dustin Bare in the shot and Amador Lujan in the 100 and 200 meters. The Rams finished eighth in Tuesday’s meet at Hobbs, scoring 22 points.
Junior Bo Gabriel won the high jump with a leap of 5-10.
Qualifying more athletes could be a close call. Johnson said the Rams are .5 seconds from qualifying the 400-meter relay (45.7) and a second away in the 800-meter relay (1:36).
“We’ve consistently gotten better with our throws and times throughout the semester,” Johnson said, “and we’re really pleased with that.”
The girls are in the same situation, with a few going to state and several others close to a qualifying mark. Portales scored 33 points, good for fifth place in Tuesday’s meet at Hobbs.
“So far, we’ve qualified our 400 relay and 800 relay,” girls coach Ruth Chavez said. “We’re closing in on a lot of other things.”
Suzanne Cox qualified in the 400 meters and placed third Tuesday at Hobbs.
Chavez said the team has two athletes who are close in the 100, two close in the 200, and a few in the 800 along with the mile and medley relays.
The Lady Rams have not placed well in recent meets, but Chavez keeps a frame of mind that Portales isn’t competing against 4A and 5A clubs. Instead, they’re competing with 3A qualifying marks for now.
“When we run against 3A teams, we try to beat them,” Chavez said. “Our goal is to get better times every week and get closer and closer to qualifying.”
Tennis teams sweep Goddard
The Portales girls went 4-2 in singles flights and 2-1 in doubles flights en route to a 6-3 victory at Goddard Tuesday.
The boys, meanwhile, edged the host Rockets 5-4 after taking two of three doubles flights.
Travis Holt was the only Ram player to go undefeated in the singles and doubles flights for Portales (14-5). Holt scored a 6-3, 6-2 win over Brynn Naylor in No. 3 singles, and teamed up with Logan Brown in No. 3 doubles for a 6-4, 6-4 win over Kelsey Nelson and Matt Fisher.
The girls improved to 17-2 on the season as Kaycee Quick and Bethany Self totaled three victories. Quick and Self won the No. 5 and No. 6 singles sets, respectively, then teamed up in No. 3 doubles for a 6-1, 6-3 win over Jacquelyn Townsend and Heather Gersiner.
The teams resume play today at home against Roswell High.
District standings unaltered
A protest by New Mexico Military Institute was denied, meaning that Lovington stays on top in the District 4-3A standings.
With Ruidoso (6-15, 0-12) done with district play, the district race will come down to a pair of doubleheaders over the next six days. Lovington (14-7-1, 7-1) hosts Portales (15-7, 7-3) Saturday, then travels to NMMI (13-11, 6-4) Tuesday night.
Nine possibilities exist, depending on splits and/or sweeps in each of the doubleheaders. Three situations would result in a tie of some sort:
• Portales sweeps Lovington, which sweeps NMMI: Portales and Lovington will qualify for the two playoff spots and will have a playoff game to determine first place.
• Lovington sweeps Portales, then splits with NMMI: Lovington would win the district, with NMMI and Portales in a playoff game for second place.
• Portales and Lovington split, NMMI sweeps Lovington: All three teams are tied at 8-4 in district. A three-way coin flip would set up a two-tier playoff system. Teams A and B would play each other, with the winner playing team C for the district title.