CHS BOYS STATE TRACK: Cats look for big points from Robles

CNJ staff photo: Rick White Clovis High junior Manuel Robles, shown in the 400 relay in last weekend’s District 4-5A meet at Leon Williams Stadium, is hoping to have a big weekend for the Wildcats in the Class 5A state track meet today and Saturday in Albuquerque.

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

Clovis High boys track coach Darren Kelley knows that for the Wildcats to have a strong showing in state Class 5A competition, junior Manuel Robles needs a big weekend.

Robles expects as much from himself.

“I feel pretty confident,” he said. “I’m just hoping I come out and perform pretty good, and hope for the best.”

Robles is in five events, including the 400 relay and the 200 meter. He’s the two-time defending 5A champion in triple jump, and ranks first in long jump and second in high jump this season.

The high jump is set for 9 a.m. and long jump at 11 a.m. today, while triple jump is at 1 p.m. Saturday at the University of New Mexico track facility in Albuquerque.

The Cats bring a solid-but-not-deep team to the state meet, with several individuals in contention for titles. If all goes well, they could challenge for a team trophy (top-three finish), Kelley said, with Alamogordo coming in as a solid favorite.

“Realistically, we’re a top-five team,” Kelley said. “We should score around 40-45 points.

“Alamo’s going to be head-and-shoulders above everybody else. The rest of the teams will be fighting for those next two trophies.”

Among other teams contending for trophy finishes, Kelley said, are Eldorado, defending champ La Cueva, Highland and Rio Rancho.

Robles should help the Cats’ 400 relay team score. The 200 is an event he’s been running this season only since the Wildcat Relays in mid-April, and he comes in ranked ninth.

“I want to just try to get to the finals,” he said of the 200. “Team-wise, I think we’ll do all right. We have a goal to at least finish third.”

Robles’ season-best of 48-1 1/4 in triple jump is more than two feet better than second-ranked Carlos De La Cruz of Alamogordo. His 23-3 best matches junior Morrecis Franklin of Hobbs for the No. 1 effort in long jump, while his top mark of 6-9 in high jump trails only junior Marcus Williams (6-11) of Rio Rancho.

In addition to Robles, the Cats come in with the No. 1 javelin thrower in junior Jordan Mendoza, the second-ranked 110 hurdler in senior Brian Mead and the No. 3 and No. 4 entrants in shot put in senior Michael Cohen and junior Taylor Muse.

“We’re going in with more No. 1s than we’ve ever gone in with,” Kelley said. “We just don’t have a lot of ‘extra’ things.

“We’ve got a chance to score some points. It’s just a matter of (performing) at the right time.”