ALBUQUERQUE — A lot of great individual performances are required to win four of six team 4A trophies and the track and field athletes of San Juan County did just that on Saturday.
Eighteen kids from the four District 1-4A schools combined to win 20 of the 38 individual titles in the 4A state track and field meet, while Bloomfield won three individual titles in the 3A meet.
The Piedra Vista boys' team claimed five state titles on its way to the first team title in school history.
Zach Johnson finished first in the 100-meter dash, ran the anchor leg for the PV 4x100 meter relay title and set the state record in the 200-meter dash with time of 21.53 seconds.
The 200-meter state record was especially important to Johnson after he false started in the event at state in 2012.
“With false starting last year, it's not just losing. It's not being able to compete. Just to be able to comeback the next year, set the state record, and win first place — it's unbelievable,” Johnson said.
Ty Murphy, Wyatt Hardy and Orion Kaminky joined Johnson in winning the 4x100 meter relay for the Panthers.
PV was the top team in 4A throughout the season in the event and the runners came through when it mattered the most.
“The team effort is the best. We worked hard in practice,” Kaminky said. “The coaches pushed us harder and harder in practice and that made the meets feel easier.”
Murphy and Hardy also teamed up with Clark Otteson and Matthew Gonzales to win the 4x400 meter relay ahead of Farmington High in the final event of the state meet.
“That was the most amazing way to finish my senior year. We wanted this more than anything,” Hardy said. “We took third last year with a group similar to this. I'm so proud of my teammates.”
Beau Clafton added to PV's title haul by taking down the javelin title.
“It was just a part of what we've been building for. I just feel like I'm a part of a big team effort,” Clafton said.
Farmington High finished second in the boys team standing behind the Panthers, but Jermey Klepac, Devin Hull, Essiel Carrasco and Avery Rasher combined to edge out PV for the 4x200 meter relay title.
“We came out and we executed our handoffs just like we practiced this time. It all came together,” Hull said.
Klepac also won two other titles — the long jump and 300-meter hurdles — on his way to winning the award as the high point scorer in 4A.
Christian Mackey won a pair of titles for Kirtland Central, adding the shot put title on Saturday to the discus title he won on Friday.
“It couldn't have finished any better. I'm excited and ready to prepare and chase that state title again next year,” Mackey said.
On the girls' side, Aztec won six individual titles led by Sarah Root who claimed the triple jump and 100-meter hurdles events which helped her win the girls' high point scorer award in 4A.
Root was the defending champion in the triple jump event.
“Just to come out and do it twice in a row is amazing,” Root said on winning the event for a second consecutive year.
Root was joined by Kayli Farmer in winning two individual titles for Aztec.
Farmer won the high jump on Friday, then set a personal best in the javelin with a toss of 132 feet to win the event on Saturday.
“I was really excited that I threw 132 and PR'd. The state title is just the cherry on top,” Farmer said.
The field events were Aztec's strong point throughout the meet.
Morgan Smith added a title to Aztec's collection by winning the pole vault event.
Smith had been close to winning the event the prior two years, finishing in second in 2011 as a freshman and fourth in 2012 as a sophomore.
“I've been working for it since I was a freshman,” said Smith, who will have a chance to defend the title next season in her senior year.
Sierra Martinez also won a title for the Lady Tigers in the long jump on Friday.
PV finished in third place as a team in the girls' meet thanks in large part to Zhianna Flores.
The Lady Panther junior responded to false starting in the 100-meter dash by setting the state record in the 200-meter with a time of 25.11 seconds.
“I enjoyed it,” said Flores, who also won the 300-meter hurdles title for PV.
Flores joined Katie Hegarty with two titles for the Lady Panthers after Hegarty won the discus and shot put events on Friday.
In 3A, Bloomfield's Marissa Alcon set the state record in pole vault with a height of 10 feet, 3 inches.
“I'm speechless. I've always been inspired by a previous pole vaulter at Bloomfield named Sunni Baird,” Alcon said. “She had the previous record until last year. I always looked up to her and my goal was to be as good as her."
Alcon's title was Bloomfield's second of the meet after Jaimie Kosea won the shot put event on Friday.
Adrian Vigil won the 300-meter hurdles for the Bobcats, giving them their lone title on the boys' side.
“I worked all year for this. I feels great that it all paid off,” Vigil. “We worked our butts off all season and I knew if I worked hard, I could accomplish what I wanted.”
In total, 21 athletes played a part in winning 23 individual titles.
“That says a lot about track and field in San Juan County,” said PV head coach Mark Turner. “Track and field is alive and well and if anybody in the state wants to come up and run, we'll put on a meet and show them what we've got. We run against some of the best in the state every weekend.”
Joshua Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4577. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.