Sophomore Lauren McDaniel helped Clovis win its heat and qualify for the finals in the 800-meter relay Friday at the University of New Mexico. (Staff photo: Jesse Wolfersberger)
ALBUQUERQUE —The Clovis Lady Wildcats are positioned to win their first state track title in seven years.
Led by sophomore Ebony Bunton’s win in the high jump, Clovis scored 19 points in field events Friday to take the lead after the first of two days at the Class 5A state track meet at the University of New Mexico.
Co-favorites Highland and Cibola are tied for second after day one with 13 points.
Bunton and Cibola’s Hilary Overmyer both cleared 5 feet, 4 inches with Bunton winning on fewer misses.
Bunton finished second last year, which she said served as motivation.
“This year I was more excited to get out there,” said the 5-foot-9 Bunton. “I wanted to jump out of the stadium.”
Bunton said she had her sights set on 5-8.
“At practice, I cleared 5-8, but I’m happy I won,” Bunton said. “I still have two more years to get it, so it doesn’t matter.
“What matters is I got first place today.”
Clovis senior Brittany Blackmon added a fourth in high jump.
Other Lady Wildcats scoring on the day included Kaycee Escobar, second in the shot, Vanessa O’Neal fourth in the long jump, and Kanisha Beachum sixth in the shot.
“The girls in the field events have come up with what they’ve come to do, and that’s give us the lead,” seventh-year Clovis coach Darrel Ray said.
Clovis also advanced all four of its relays to today’s final, including the top time in the medley.
“Overall, everyone has run well,” Ray said. “We’ve run our best times in every relay today. That’s what you want to do, peak at the right time and be competitive.”
Clovis will look to senior hurdler and long jumper Kim Perkins for a big performance today.
Other first-day winners included:
• Highland’s Deanna Young in the long jump,
• Eldorado’s Julie Brasher in the 1,600 meters,
• and Alamogordo’s Noel Cardon in the shot.