CHS GIRLS STATE TRACK: Lady Cats eye repeat

CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle Senior Kacee Escobar leads a strong contingent of throwers representing Clovis High’s girls in the Class 5A state track meet, starting today in Albuquerque. Escobar will compete in shot put and discus this weekend.

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

Looking for back-to-back Class 5A girls state track titles, Clovis High coach Darrel Ray is playing it coy.

“We’ve got a plan,” Ray said of the two-day event beginning this morning at the University of New Mexico track facility in Albuquerque. “It’s just a matter of executing.”

Clovis posted its first state title in seven years last spring, scoring 79 points for an 11-point margin over runnerup Eldorado. This time, Ray said the Lady Wildcats are chasing La Cueva, which comes in with more athletes in more events.

If they’re going to win, the Lady Cats are banking on a strong showing from their relays — three of which come in ranked No. 1 while the other, the 1,600 medley, is No. 2 behind La Cueva.

Field events should also provide points, notably in the throwing events led by senior Kacee Escobar and the jumping events led by freshman Antiesha Brown.

“We’re going to have to work for it this year, because we’re outmanned by La Cueva,” Escobar said. “I’m real excited, but I’m also real nervous.”

Overall, CHS has nine entries ranked No. 3 or better.

“The kids know they have to perform well, but they also know if anybody’s going to beat La Cueva, it’s going to be us,” Ray said.

A strong showing in relays could go a long way toward trying to get the title, since those events are scored higher (10-8-6-4-2-1) than individual events (7-5-4-3-2-1).

Escobar comes in first in shot put with a school-record throw of 41-10. But she’s only a quarter of an inch better than Alamogordo senior Noel Cardon, who won the event last year with Escobar finishing second.

She’s also part of a CHS threesome chasing Cardon in discus. Senior Lorena Garza, Escobar and junior Megan Baglien are 3-4-5 in that event.

“I feel we have to step up in discus and shot,” Escobar said. “Since it’s my senior year and Noel beat me (last spring), I’m after her this year.”

Brown has the No. 2 triple jump (34-11) and the No. 5 long jump (17-2), while junior Jasmine McDonald’s leap of 5-5 has her seeded No. 1 in high jump. Sophomore Caitlin Waters is third in the 800 (2:20.47).

Ray said it may take some help from other teams for the Lady Cats to beat La Cueva, but he’s hoping a strong first day may put some pressure on the Bears.

“They’re not that far out that we’d need a lot of things to happen,” Ray said. “If they don’t have a good weekend and we do, we’ll be right there. If they make some mistakes (today), I think we’ll be a lot closer than they want us to be.”