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ALBUQUERQUE — The city of Farmington proved that when it comes to 4A boys' track and field, it can't be beat.

Piedra Vista won the state team title for the first time in school history with 76 points, finishing ahead of cross-town rival Farmington, which took second with 56 points on Saturday.

"These kids and these coaches have been working their tails off building a program that is designed for success," said PV head coach Mark Turner. "With coach Howell, coach Romero and coach Huff doing the strategic planning and the practices, and coach Pringle working on the pole vault with coach Richardson and coach Taylor working with the distance kids, it's tough to beat a staff like that. And the kids bought into the program. The kids bought into all of it not just the sprints, not just the distance, not just the throws or jumps they are buying into the whole program. That's what happened today. We finally got the program where it belongs."

The sprinters played a major role in the capturing the team title for the Panthers.

Zach Johnson set the 4A state record in the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.25 seconds and finished first in the 100-meter dash.

"It's huge. It's bigger than anything any one individual can do," Johnson said on winning the team title. "Coach Turner works his butt off. We have the best coaches, and it's great to finally get them where they need to be. I have nothing but good things to say about this program. It's great."

The Panther relay teams took two state titles, winning the 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relays.

Johnson along with Orion Kaminky, Ty Murphy and Wyatt Hardy ran the 4x100 for PV, while Hardy and Murphy teamed with Clark Otteson and Matthew Gonzales to claiming the 4x400 title.

"We just wanted to prove why we got the team title, and I think we did," Murphy said after winning the 4x400 to finish the meet.

PV's Beau Clafton won the javelin title with a throw of 179 feet, 4 inches.

Farmington High took second place in large part due to senior Jermey Klepac.

Klepac won the long jump and 300-meter hurdles title and was a member of the Scorpions' 4x200 meter relay team with Essiel Carrasco, Avery Rasher and Devin Hull.

"It's huge for Farmington," Klepac said. "We're just this small city, so anytime any athlete can do well, it's a big thing."

The FHS senior won the award for most individual points in the 4A boys meet.

The second-place trophy is the second in school history for FHS, said assistant coach Randy Jackson.

"PV just has a strong team, but we have a strong team, too," Jackson said.
Piedra Vista’s Beau Clafton throws the javelin during the 4A state track and field championship on Saturday in Albuquerque. Clafton won the state
Piedra Vista's Beau Clafton throws the javelin during the 4A state track and field championship on Saturday in Albuquerque. Clafton won the state title in the event. (Curtis Ray Benally/Special to The Daily Times)
"We have a lot of guys coming back, but the thing is we had great senior leadership. Essiel Carrasco, Jermey Klepac, Dallin Payne these guys led us all this time."

Jackson believes that a strong finish as a team this season was a good experience for the returning athletes.

"This is big for our younger kids. It's a good building block for us," he said.

Jackson wasn't surprised that the top two places went the Farmington schools and knows the strong competition that District 1-4A teams provide is key to their success.

"Every week, we all go to the same track meets, and we get to watch a state meet almost every weekend," he said. "You get to watch Zach Johnson run. You get to watch Jermey Klepac. You get to watch Sarah Root. You can't beat our district in track and field. As long as you've got competition that makes you compete, you'll compete at a higher level."

Christian Mackey added the shot put title for Kirtland Central to the discus title he won on Friday, helping the Broncos finish in 11th.

Aztec placed 13th as a team.

In 3A, Bloomfield finished 10th, with Adrian Vigil winning the only individual state championship for the Bobcats in the 300-meter hurdles.

Shiprock took 15th place.

 

Joshua Perry can be reached at jperry@daily-times.com; 505-564-4577. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.