By Mickey Winfield: PNT staff writer
It’s been 10 years since Portales witnessed their Rams and Lady Rams run, jump and throw on their home track, but that silence will be broken this afternoon at the Portales High School track.
Portales is hosting district foes Lovington and Dexter today, with track events scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m.
“It’s going to be really fun,” Ram junior Jacob Brady said. “We’re really looking forward to it and since it’s at our place, we’re a little bit more comfortable and relaxed so it’s going to be really exciting and a lot of fun.”
Brady and Ram head coach Glenn Johnson also believe the home meet will allow for faster times and better scores meaning more Portales state qualifiers.
“They know it better, they’ve worked out here. They know the distances that they need to throw, jump or run time-wise,” Brady said. “I think it’ll be a lot faster and a lot better than we’ve seen so far.”
“Things seem to come together a little bit better and the kids are that much more excited about performing well in front of the home crowd,” Johnson said. “We’re looking forward to it being a pretty good day for us as far as qualifying.”
The Rams will have their work cut out for them in qualifying for the state sprint relays. Portales sophomore Stephen Heckert, who is a key sprinter for Portales, injured his right knee playing soccer on Saturday, and according to Johnson, the injury could be severe.
“We’ll get a final confirmation from the doctor (today), but he’s gone for the next couple of meets anyway.”
Portales junior Jordan Roehl has already qualified for the state meet in the shot-put and discus, while the 800 meter and 1600 meter medley relay squads have also qualified.
On the boys side, Brady has qualified for discus, while fellow junior Tyler Anderson has qualified for the 300 meter hurdles and senior Hunter Rackler qualified in the high jump.
Lady Ram head coach Ruth Chavez said the home meet means a lot the Portales track team.
“Unlike other sports, people don’t ever get to see these kids compete,” Chavez said. “And they are so excited for the community and their friends to actually see what they do.
“What excites me the most is that the kids are just overjoyed to be able to run here in front of their family and friends,” Johnson said. “They’re just overly excited about it.”
Portales gets back on the road Friday at Artesia’s Bulldog Bowl in the Artesia Invitational before traveling to Texico April 24.