By Dave Wagner: PNT sports writer
Coming off a solid overall performance in Lovington’s Ross Black Relays on Friday, Portales High’s track teams return to Lovington this Friday for the District 4-3A meet hoping to add to their lists of state qualifiers.
Boys coach Glenn Johnson knows the Rams probably won’t win the team title, but he’s hoping his state squad will be strong enough to eclipse the 15-point mark for the first time in his eight years as coach. Right now, the Rams have 11 boys qualified in nine events, including two relays, for the Class 3A state meet in Albuquerque May 12-13.
Senior Amador Lujan ran the second-fasted time in 3A in the 200 last week at 22.5, placing him second in the meet.
“At the district meet, with (first and second-place finishes) qualifying (for state), I think we’ll have the opportunity to qualify a few more kids,” Johnson said. “This year we’ve got some opportunities to score points (at state).”
Portales finished fourth in Friday’s competitive five-team meet in Lovington. The three-time defending state 3A champion Wildcats took the team title with 129 1/2 points, and should prevail this week over the Rams, Ruidoso and New Mexico Military.
“Lovington is probably the toughest team overall,” Johnson said. “They’re going to put some talented kids in just about every event.”
One of the areas where the Rams hope to add a qualifier or two is in the throws. Senior Alonzo Ontiveros has already qualified in javelin, and this week he’ll work on shot put and discus.
“I’ve got to focus up and just get it done, basically,” he said of the latter events. “I’ve done it plenty of times in practice.”
Ontiveros said the Rams have set their sites on scoring in as many events as they can.
“At the end of last year, I think we had a total of seven or eight guys qualified (for state),” he said. “This year, after the first three meets, I think we had eight or nine qualified.
“I think there’s a good chance we’ll get some points (at state) this year.”
Portales’ girls were also fourth last week at Lovington, although coach Ruth Chavez said they were doing some experimenting.
“We performed well,” she said. “We tried some different things to give some kids a chance at some open stuff.”
The Lady Rams have qualified all four of their relays, along with sophomore Kandace Bergseiker in the 200 and 400, sophomore Jordan Roehl in shot put and discus, senior Michaela Alexander in the 1,600 and sophomore Samantha Foshee in high jump.
Bergseiker has helped all of the relays qualify. This week, she’ll try to add the 100.
Chavez will be limited to putting her in five events in the state meet, but Bergseiker has set high standards for herself. She thinks the Lady Rams have their best chance to do well in the 1,600 relay, while she also has high hopes for the open 400 and the 800 relay.
“I want to finish first in all my running events,” Bergseiker said. “I want to get qualified (in the 100) and get all my times better for state.”