By Dave Wagner: CNJ staff writer
ALBUQUERQUE — Clovis’ Manuel Robles doesn’t handle himself like a freshman.
Sitting third with one jump to go, the Marshall Junior High student soared a personal-best 45 feet, one-half inch to take Class 5A boys state triple jump competition on Friday at the University of New Mexico.
Robles’ effort gave the Wildcats seven points on the first day of the two-day meet, putting them in sixth place after five events. Meantime, coach Darren Kelley was generally happy with what his team did to set itself up for a strong finish.
“The only thing that was negative today was Phillip (Williams) not making the 100 (finals),” Kelley said. “He just didn’t run very well in the middle of the race.
“But we got a lot of other things into the finals, and the kids are competing.”
Williams, who came into the 100 seeded second, finished ninth in 11.26 seconds. The senior later came back, though, to qualify fifth in the 200 in 22.43.
The Clovis girls, on the other hand, had the first-day lead with 14 1/2 points to 12 for Carlsbad and La Cueva on the strength of a 2-3 finish by freshman Ebony Bunton and junior Brittany Blackmon in high jump and a fourth-place effort by sophomore Kacee Escobar in shot.
Bunton and Blackmon went 5-4 in high jump, while freshman Jasmine McDonald cleared 5-0 and tied for fifth.
Escobar picked up three points in shot with a throw of 37-2 3/4.
The Lady Wildcats also qualified three of their four relays for Saturday’s finals, while junior Kim Perkins and sophomore Mahalia Molett posted the first and third-best times (46.98 and 47.74, respectively) in the 300 hurdles preliminaries.
“We’ll be able to compete (Saturday), with what we have in the hurdles,” CHS girls coach Darrel Ray said. “We also have several entries in discus.”
Robles, who did not clear the opening height of 6-0 in high jump earlier on Friday, went into the finals of triple jump second after going 42-9 3/4. He fell to third when Santa Fe senior Josh Shultz sprung a 44-2 1/2 effort on his second-to-last jump.
“I was nervous; I didn’t think I’d win it,” Robles admitted. “I just went for it.”
Robles, whose previous best was 43-10 in the Wildcat Relays, had what he thought was a good jump on his second attempt in the finals, but fouled by about half an inch.
“I thought it was over after that,” he said. “I didn’t think I could jump that far again.”
Kelly said Robles’ win gave the boys a big boost.
“Manuel’s just a great leaper,” Kelley said. “To be able to qualify for (state in) all three jumps as a freshman, and to win one of them, is great.
“He’s done a great job all year of being able to win on his last jump.”
Senior Damian Robinson had 5A’s top qualifying time in the 100 hurdles at 14.53. Sophomore Brian Mead finished eighth in 15.36 to also earn a spot the finals.
Freshman Deondre Hunter earned a spot in the 300 hurdles finals by posting the sixth-best time in Friday’s prelims at 41.60.
CHS advanced its 800 and medley relays for Saturday’s finals, while its 1,600 relay automatically moved on because there were fewer than nine teams entered. The 800 relay was fourth in prelims in 1:31.13 while the medley qualified seventh in 3:43.90.
The Cats’ 400 relay team did not qualify for the finals, finishing 11th in 44.43.
On the girls side, Ray said the 10 1/2 points the Lady Cats earned in high jump was about what they’d hoped to get.
“I really set my goal at 5-4,” said Blackmon, who matched her season’s best but said she’s been having trouble getting that mark lately. “I’d been stuck at 5-2 for a while, so I’m proud of what I did today.”
Bunton had a season’s best of 5-6 in an early-season meet at West Las Vegas, but said her goal on Friday was 5-8.
“It was fun,” she said. “I think I could’ve done a little better, but I’ll just work on it next year.”
Mayfield sophomore Carissa McGee took the title at 5-6, then missed on three attempts at 5-10 — which would have equaled the state record set by Jana Geisler of Los Alamos in 1991.
The Lady Cats also qualified three of their four relays, capped by the 1,600 relay when Molett filled in for an ailing Cassie Belford on the first leg. Anchor Vanessa O’Neal made up some ground late, and CHS finished sixth overall in a time of 4:10.90.
Clovis had the top time in the medley relay (4:18.56) and qualified fifth in the 400 relay (49.74).
Sophomore Heather Malloy also reached the finals in the 100, clocking the sixth-best prelim time in 5A at 12.89.
Ray said the only disappointment of the day was not getting Perkins through in the 200. She finished ninth on Friday in a time of 26.44.
“It was a pretty good day with the exception of that,” he said. “Everything else was probably above our expectations.”
1,600 meters — 1, Nicholas Arguellas, Highland, 4:20.83. 2, Matt Tebo, Eldorado, 4:22.27. 3, Kevin McNally, Eldorado, 4:26.66. 4, Michael Eads, La Cueva, 4:27.59. 5, Matthew Everett, La Cueva, 4:30.36. 6, Matt Cash, Los Lunas, 4:31.19.
High Jump — 1, Chris Williams, Rio Rancho, 6-8. 2, Josh Cosio, Manzano, 6-6. 3, Frank Borden, Gadsden, 6-4. 4, Marcus Williams, Rio Rancho, 6-4 5, Will Bynmum, Alamogordo, 6-2. 6, Andy Konash, La Cueva, 6-0.
Pole Vault — 1, Caleb McKean, Carlsbad, 13-6. 2, Jonathan Woodward, La Cueva, 12-6. 3, Brad Carlsen, Carlsbad, 12-6. 4, (tie) Jake Farmer, Carlsbad, 12-0; Kyle Walker, Rio Rancho, 12-0; Bryon Tribble, Alamogordo, 12-0.
Discus — 1, Aaron Lewis, La Cueva, 179-0. 2, Phillip Harrison, Highland, 171-5. 3, Erik Cook, Cibola, 170-4. 4, Anthony Fairbanks, Highland, 150-0. 5, Matt Nulk, La Cueva, 143-6. 6, Bryan Rowland, Rio Rancho, 142-10.
Triple Jump — 1, Manuel Robles, Clovis, 45-0 1/2. 2, Josh Shultz, Santa Fe, 44-2 1/4. 3, Stephen Adams, Highland, 43-5 1/2. 4, Rheushawn Dixon, Carlsbad, 42-7 1/2. 5, Joseph Gherardi, La Cueva, 42-6 1/4. 6, Carlos De La Cruz, Alamogordo, 41-10 1/2.
Long Jump — 1, Olivia Ndyabayge, Sandia, 17-7 3/4. 2, Alexandra Darling, La Cueva, 17-4 3/4. 3, Christina Zarrells, Rio Rancho, 17-2 1/2. 4, Deanna Young, Highland, 16-11 3/4. 5, Bailey Bennett, Eldorado, 16-8 1/2. 6, Danielle Delone, Alamogordo, 15-8 1/2.
Shot Put — 1, Briana Paxton, La Cueva, 41-5. 2, Ashley Burns, Carlsbad, 39-10. 3, Tiffanie Phillips, Los Lunas, 37-6. 4, Kacee Escobar, Clovis, 37-2 3/4. 5, Alyssa Hernandez, Alamogordo, 36-10 1/2. 6, Noel Cardon, Alamogordo, 36-4 1/4.
High Jump — 1, Carissa McGee, Mayfield, 5-6. 2, Ebony Bunton, Clovis, 5-4. 3, Brittany Blackmon, Clovis, 5-4. 4, Kim Frenz, Rio Rancho, 5-2. 5, (tie) Jasmine McDonald, Clovis, 5-0 and Hilary Overmyer, Cibola, 5-0.
3,200 meters — 1, Vanessa Ortiz, Cibola, 11:27.26. 2, Carollan Ehn, Albuquerque High, 11:37.71. 3, Brittany Castillo, Carlsbad, 11:41.54. 4, Brandy Castillo, Carlsbad, 11:55.21. 5, Rachel Velarde, Eldorado, 11:59.23. 6, Geneva Torres, Rio Rancho, 12;12.78.