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May 17, 2007
SPORTS - TRACK & FIELD
Vixens bring home 7th state track title
FORT SUMNER, New Mexico (STPNS) -- ALBUQUERQUE ? For two months leading up to last weekend?s State Track Meet, veteran Cimarron veteran coach Joe Giglia had been telling anyone who would listen that the Fort Sumner Vixens were the favorites to win the 2007 Class 1A girls title.
Not his Lady Rams, who were the two-time defending state champions.
Not his team, which sported the fastest sprinter in the state and had posted the fastest times ? by a bunch ? in all four relays.
Not Cimarron, who the media had appointed as the team to win it?s third-straight.
Coach Giglia had it right.
With a 32-point boost from the field events and their fastest relay times of the year, the Vixens held off the Lady Rams 86-80 to win Fort Sumner?s first girls state track title since 2004 and the seventh overall.
It was a two-team race all weekend. Gateway Christian was a distant third with 38 and Animas was fourth with 37.
The Vixens did it winning just two events ? Rita Herrera in the shot and Bree?Anna Lucero in the high jump. Cimarron won three of four relays and had three individual champions, but it wasn?t enough.
?We though it would be very close and that we would have a chance if everyone stepped up,? said Cris Dimitroff, who teamed with Lisa McMath as the Vixens? co-head coaches. ?We told the girls not to leave the track with any regrets. If they gave all they had, it really didn?t matter how we finished and they did.?
?Realistically, Cimarron had to be favored because they had the top seeds in all the sprints and relays and some of the top-level performers in the 1600, the 800 and the triple jump,? said McMath. ?We knew their relays wouldn?t be as strong if they ran all the opens, but as the year progressed, they seemed to keep adding depth when we looked at their qualifying times.?
?We figured we were in the hunt, but we had to have people really step up,? McMath added. ?We had several PR times (personal record) the second day and the discus and shot people really stepped up.?
The Vixens were tied with Animas for the lead in the team standings after the first day of the meet with 20 points. Half of that came from a 3-4-5-6 finish in the discus by the Herrera and Luce sisters. Laurel Herrera was third with her best throw of the season, and Rita Herrera was fourth, also with a personal best. DeLisa and DeLane Luce were fifth and sixth.
Lucero?s win in the high jump added seven to the total and Katie Schade knocked almost nine seconds off her personal best in finishing fourth in the 1600 meters. Eighth-grader Victoria Aragon was just out of the money in the 1600, finishing seventh after clipping almost 10 seconds off her previous best.
Cimarron managed 11 points on the first day to trail by nine going into Saturday?s schedule, which included the finals in all running events except the 1600.
After the 100-meter hurdles, where Lucero was third and eighth-grader Candace Romero was fifth, the Vixens held a 15-point advantage over the Lady Rams in the team standings. It was 10 after freshman Justyne McMath and Schade went 2-4 in the 800. By the end of the 400 meters, Cimarron had pulled even with six events remaining.
But the Vixens regained a five-point margin, 60-55, when Lucero was third and Jerrica Gonzales placed sixth in the 300-meter hurdles. And when Rita Herrera won the shot and DeLane Luce finished fourth, Fort Sumner?s margin was 13 with three events left ? the 200, the 3200 and the 1600-meter relay.
In the 200, Cimarron?s Desi Varela won as expected, but Fort Sumner eighth-grader Masy Miller finished fifth. The five-point swing shaved Fort Sumner?s lead to 78-70. Neither team had an entrant in the 3200, leaving the final event ? the 1600-meter relay ? to determine the final outcome.
Dimitroff, who was the Vixens? co-head coach during the last state championship run in 2004, said the situation was similar. Back then, the Vixens held a seven-point advantage over Floyd in team standings and needed to finish within two places (four points in a relay) of the Lady Broncos for the title. Floyd was third in the relay and the Vixens were fifth and Fort Sumner won by three points.
This time Cimarron held off the Vixens to win the relay, but the second-place finish gave Fort Sumner the team title.
?Track is not usually considered a team sport, but it was for us,? said Dimitroff. ?Everyone of the kids we took to state scored for us or helped us qualify a relay that scored. Every single kid was a factor and that?s pretty unique.?
Sara Lee of House finished as the meet?s high-point athlete, scoring 24 points. She won the pole vault and the 300-meter hurdles, finished second in the 100-meter hurdles, fourth in the long jump and fourth in the triple jump.
It was the final meet for five Vixen seniors; Laurel Herrera, Kaylynn Johnson, Lainy Schade, DeLane Luce and Carrie Cortese. With no juniors in the program, the Vixens return six sophomores (Rita Herrera, Lucero, Gonzales, DeLisa Luce, Katie Schade and Courtney Kyle), two freshmen (Katelyn Gunn and McMath) and four eighth-graders (Romero, Aragon, Miller and Sarah Stinnett) that qualified for the state meet.
Cimarron is young as well. The Lady Rams had 22 qualifiers, but just three seniors. They lose Varela, but virtually all of their top performers are underclassmen.
Here is an event-by-event recap of the Vixens? state performances:
? 400-meter relay ? The team of Masy Miller, Courtney Kyle, Carrie Cortese and Sarah Stinnett ran their fasts time of the year in the prelims, qualifying third at 53.50. Cliff, which had qualified second, false-started and was disqualified in the finals.
The Vixens were third coming into the final exchange in the finals, but Cortese and Stinnett had a perfect handoff and the Vixens finished second behind Cimarron.
? 100-meter hurdles ? The Vixens narrowly missed having three runners in the finals after Jerrica Gonzales fell in the prelims. But Lucero and Romero qualified in the 4th and 5th slots. Lucero moved up and finished third in the finals, while Romero was fifth.
? 100 meters ? Stinnett qualified eighth, then finished seventh in the finals, just out of the money.
? 1600 meters ? Katie Schade battled Cimarron?s Whitley Coca down the stretch to finish fourth in a personal best time of 5:56.27. Aragon ran 6:07.08 to finish seventh, her best time by almost 10 seconds.
? 800-meter relay ? The foursome of Kyle, Lainy Schade, Lucero and Miller knocked two seconds off Fort Sumner?s best time of the year with a 1:53.19 to finish second behind Cimarron.
? 300-meter hurdles ? Lucero ran her best of the year ? 49.70 in the finals to finish just eight-one hundreths behind race winner Sara Lee of House. Gonzales bounced back from her disappointment in the 100 hurdles to finish sixth.
? 1600-meter medley relay ? The Vixens ran five seconds under their best time of the year to finish third in medley relay in 4:39.24. Kyle, Cortese, Lainy Schade and Aragon made up the team that ran in the finals. Gateway Christian won the race, followed by Cimarron.
? 200 meters ? Miller qualified fourth and finished fifth in the 200, helping the Vixens shave the effects of Varela?s first-place finish for Cimarron.
? 1600-meter relay ? The Vixens trimmed three seconds off their best time of the year in the final event of the weekend to finish second behind Cimarron and clinched the team title. Miller, Lainy Schade, Lucero and McMath made up the team that ran in the finals, with McMath nearly overtaking Cimarron anchor Brooke Knox down the stretch.
? Discus ? Laurel and Rita Herrera had personal bests in the discus; Laurel by inches and Rita by more than eight feet, to finish 3-4. The Luce girls finished off the 10-point Fort Sumner surge by finishing fifth and sixth.
? High Jump ? Lucero came in tied for the best mark in the state with two other contestants at 5-0. She cleared 4-9 on her first attempt, taking time off for the 300-meter hurdle prelims, then watched as the other contenders all missed. Four other eventually made 4-9, but Lucero was the champion on fewer misses.
? Javelin ? Laurel Herrera had thrown the state?s best distance at mid-season and had not been close since. And after scratches on her first two throws, she had to have a huge effort on her last attempt just to make the finals.
Herrera fired off a 102-footer to make the finals, then managed a 107-11 in the finals to finish second for the second-straight year. Melrose?s Lauren Graham had a personal best of 117-3 to win the event.
? Shot put ? Rita Herrera had thrown her season?s best of 33-11 in her first meet of the season. But at state, she went over 34 feet twice in the preliminaries to take, the lead, then powered off a 36-5 effort to take home the gold medal.
DeLane Luce equaled her season?s best of 30-10 to finish fourth and give the Vixens 10 key points in the event.
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