Peñasco runners shine at A-3A state track

By Sheila Miller
sports@taosnews.com
Posted 5/16/19

The Peñasco Panthers brought eight athletes to the A-3A state track meet on Friday and Saturday (May 10-11), held at the University of New Mexico Track and …

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Peñasco runners shine at A-3A state track

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The Peñasco Panthers brought eight athletes to the A-3A state track meet on Friday and Saturday (May 10-11), held at the University of New Mexico Track and Soccer complex in Albuquerque.

It was a great weekend for the Peñasco girls, with season-best race times.

Freshman Maricela MacAuley ran a spectacular 3200-meter race on Saturday (May 11). She kept with the leaders' pack for the first mile and, as the pack thinned, she pushed herself to stay with them. She and Mistidawn Roybal of Pecos ran almost pace for pace, occasionally adjusting position, but neither able to shake the other. In the final stretch, MacAuley hung with Roybal, finishing just on her heels, winning sixth place, a state medal and a spot on the podium.

With the winged-feet of the other athletes to propel her, MacAuley beat her district meet finishing time of 14:09.84 by an astonishing 1:14.45. That's over 37 seconds off each mile. Her time at state was 12:55.39.

MacAuley and Carly Gonzales ran in the 1600-meter on Friday (May 10). Both girls qualified at districts: Gonzales with a 6:19.94 and MacAuley with a 6:20.04. At state, both girls took an impressive 14 seconds off of their times at districts. Gonzales finished in 6:05.91 for eighth place and MacAuley right behind her with a time of 6:06.38 for ninth.

Gonzales also qualified in the 800-meter run. In the 800, she ran a 2:42.12 - over seven seconds faster than her 2:49.34 time at districts. She placed 14th overall.

The girls' sprint medley relay, composed of Jennifer Aguilar, Ariana MacAuley, Alexandria Sandoval and Adrianna Tafoya, ran a 5:12.01. While it wasn't their best time of the season, every runner on the relay time is a junior, and they'll likely have another shot next year.

Juaquine Fernandez competed in the high jump, where the starting height was 5 feet 6 inches, and in the 400-meter dash, both on Friday (May 10).

Freshman Gilbert 'Gilly' Valdez ran a 10:34.16 in the 3200-meter race on Friday (May 10). In the very fast heat, the first and second place runners, Galvin Curley of Navajo Pine and Martin Flores of Hagerman, both broke Isaiah Rodarte of Peñasco's 2016 record of 9:49.52. Their times were, respectively, 9:37.84 and 9:38.42. Valdez won himself a state medal in the race, finishing sixth place in the sixteen-person final. Like MacAuley, he took over 1:13 off his time at districts, which was an 11:47.34.

At the district meet, Valdez also qualified for the state in the 800-meter run. His time there was 2:11.14. He took 3.5 seconds off at the state race, finishing eighth of 16 with a time of 2:07.68.

In the 1600-meter race on Saturday (May 11), it was clear by the second lap that Valdez was hurting. He finished the race 13th of 18 with a respectable 5:04.62, ten seconds away from his qualifying time of 4:54.44 at the Northern Río Grande. Still, he wasn't pleased. "I just had a bad race," he shrugged. "Next time."

Senior Dalton Breault of Mora gave him a hug of congratulations, saying, "I'm proud of you, Gilly. Remember, you've got a few more years of this."

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