By Jesse Wolfersberger: CNJ staff writer
Clovis senior Tanner Fickling has never won a medal at the state track meet. This weekend will be his last chance.
“I’m hoping I can wrap one up in the 200,” Fickling said. “But it’s going to be a hard race. There are a bunch of guys who are close together, and they know how to run.”
Fickling will be competing with 17 other Clovis boys in the Class 5A state track meet today and Saturday at the University of New Mexico.
Fickling is one of only five seniors on the team.
“It’s different,” Fickling said. “Everybody is looking at you to be a leader. The coaches are counting on you to do everything right. It’s fun in a way.”
The senior has the state’s second best time in the 200 meters this year.
While Fickling is looking for his first medal, Clovis’ Manuel Robles won the state triple-jump title last season as a freshman.
“I really was not prepared to win last year,” Robles said. “But I hope to come out and do the same thing this year.”
Clovis coach Darren Kelley said winning last season can only be an advantage for his young jumper.
“They’re going to have to take that away from him,” Kelley said. “He’s jumping well right now. Realistically, he could compete for the top-point man if he has a good weekend.”
Kelley said Robles will compete for a state title in all three jumping events and is a key part of some of the Wildcats’ relay teams.
In the jumping events, Robles said he tries to play it safe at first then go full throttle in his final two attempts.
“What I want to do, basically, is just get a mark,” Robles said. “Hit the board on my first jump. Then the last two jumps go straight after it and do my best.”
Robles said he knows a jump will be good or bad from the moment he starts his sprint.
“You can feel it,” Robles said. “Your legs feel different.”
The Cats finished second at the District 4-5A meet last weekend, scoring 144 points. Carlsbad took the district title with 181.
“We ended up all right,” Fickling said. “Carlsbad had a stacked team this year. I think we did good.”
Kelley said he expects the Cats to be near the middle of the pack in the team competition, but he will be pleased if they give their best effort.
“I think we came a long way from where we started,” Kelley said. “I think every kid except one or two ran their best times last weekend. Our goal is to carry that over so we can compete this weekend.”
Also in the medal hunt will be junior Brian Mead in the 110-meter hurdles, sophomore Jordan Mendoza in the javelin,