By Dave Wagner: PNT sports writer
Portales High sophomore Jordan Roehl finished sixth in Class 3A state girls shot put as an eighth-grader. She was sixth again last year, even though she threw better.
“There was just a lot more competition my ninth-grade year,” she said.
On paper, Roehl is one of the Lady Rams’ top hopes for a high finish in this year’s get-together today and Saturday at the University of New Mexico track facility in Albuquerque. She comes in ranked third in shot put and fourth in discus.
“Hopefully, I’ll do well,” said Roehl, scheduled to compete in shot at 2 p.m. today and in discus at 5 p.m. on Saturday. “You just never know what the other girls are going to do.”
Portales is taking nine girls in 11 events, including all four relays, to the state large-schools event (Classes 3A-5A). PHS’ boys have qualified nine people in five individual events and two relays.
Roehl has marks of 36 feet, 1 inch in shot put and 113-4 in discus. She’s only three inches down to Grants senior Sheena Meech in shot, but more than five feet behind the leader, Bloomfield senior Deidra Brown (41-5).
“I actually feel pretty confident this year,” Roehl said. “I really want to challenge Diedra Brown, but hopefully I can just do the best I can.”
PHS girls coach Ruth Chavez said Roehl has been consistent this season.
“Jordan has thrown in the 35s and 36s the last few meets,” she noted.
Senior Amador Lujan (200) and sophomore Jacob Brady (discus) have the best rankings for the PHS boys, both coming in sixth.
Like Roehl, Lujan is a state veteran. He placed second in the 200 and fifth in the 100 two years ago, and was fifth in the 200 and ran on two sixth-place relay teams last year despite being slowed by a hernia early in the season.
“I’m healthy this year,” he said. “The competition is pretty good. I just have to go out there and run my race.”
Lujan anchors the Rams’ 400 relay, which is ranked eighth coming in, and said today’s goal is to advance.
“If we just focus on making it to the finals, we can go from there,” he said. “We’re just right in it, but I feel pretty confident.”
Rams coach Glenn Johnson said his team will have to prepare well in this weekend’s meet.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us,” he said. “It’s going to be a very competitive meet, which a state meet should be.
“For us to accomplish what we want to accomplish, we’ve got to make sure we take care of the little things.”
Meantime, Chavez said her squad has a chance to score in most events.
“I think everybody in an open (individual) event will have a shot to place in the top six,” she said. “We have more individual events going in this year than usual, with some good times and good throws.”
Portales is ranked 3-6 in the 400 with sophomore Kandace Bergsieker and freshman Tara Johnson, and the Lady Rams are also in the top six in the 1,600 and 800 relays. All but three of their entrants are rated eighth or better.
Bergsieker has times of 1:01.96 in the 400 and 26.94 in the 200, where she comes in eighth.
“We’re going to shoot for 15 or 20 points,” Chavez said. “I’d like to have a state champion. I think if Kandace will perform, she’ll have a shot.”