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Aztec teams crack the top three in 85th annual event

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FARMINGTON – Just as they've done all year, the Piedra Vista girls and Farmington boys track and field teams overwhelmed the competition on Saturday at the 85th annual Bloomfield Invitational.

The Scorpions and Lady Panthers have both earned first at all but one meet this season, and both got in a fine district tuneup at Bobcat Stadium. PV's 160 points were 74.50 more than second-place Hope Christian, while Farmington scored 105 points, 22 more than runnerup Aztec.

Rounding out the girls side was third-place Aztec with 57.50 points, fifth-place Farmington with 27 points, sixth-place Bloomfield with 26 points and seventh-place Kirtland Central with 23.50 points.

PV assistant coach Adam Huff said the Lady Panthers just keep getting better and better.

"Everyone is pushing each other. We had a completely different 4x200-meter relay team qualify for state on top of the one we're already sending," Huff said. "We're improving times on both the girls and boys side."

Sophomore Haley Duran is realizing her potential according to Huff, and shined by claiming first in both the 100 and 300-meter hurdles events.

The PV boys were third on Saturday with 56.50 points, well behind Aztec. After Farmington, Aztec and PV, Kirtland Central's boys, helped out by a first-place finish by its 4x100-meter relay team, took fourth, while Bloomfield landed in sixth, just 2 points back of fifth-place Hope Christian.

It's been "a fun year" for Scorps coach Jeff Dalton, whose boys team stepped up in the absence of many upperclassmen who attended the prom at Farmington High School over the weekend.

Berrett Bentley qualified for state in the 110-meter hurdles, joining Branson Carter and Tanner Waite as the third Scorpion athlete to do so. Dalton said he's looking forward to some healthy competition among the three at the state meet.

"It's going to be great to see them competing against each other and seeing how many points we can get as a team," Dalton said. "We don't even know who's going to win. Tanner was kind of the leader, but Berrett and Branson have been right on his tail."

By earning top-three placements on both the girls and boys side, Aztec looks ready to roll into the District 1-5A meet, which it will host on Friday and Saturday. The girls high jump was a highlight for Aztec, as Lady Tigers Alycea Aviles and Kinsey Gomez took first and second, respectively. The boys 1,600-sprint medley team took first, and Lindsay Larabee was victorious in yet another pole vaulting event.

Bloomfield will be joining District 1-5A next season, so coach Robert Griego said it was good to see top-notch competition ahead of the reclassification.

"Going against these 5A schools prepares us for state, it prepares us for district and it prepares us for next year, and that's good," Griego said. "A lot of our kids showed up to compete (Saturday), and a lot of kids had personal records."

One of those who PRd at Bloomfield's home meet was Chelsie Hobbs, who did so in both the 100 and 200 meters.

The Shiprock squads were in Santa Fe on Saturday competing in the Santa Fe Indian School Invitational. Coach Alice Kinlichee's Lady Chieftains earned the most points out of the five schools, while Brian Paniagua's boys team placed second.

Shiprock sophomore Kylie McKinley qualified for state in the 300-meter hurdles with a qualifying time of 50.93 seconds.

Kinlichee said her team is finding its comfort zone at the right time.

"The girls are coming on strong, racking up the points," she said. "We're sprinkling in PRs here and there, and coming together. I can't complain about how we're looking right now."

Shiprock's boys and girls will see how they stack up against the rest of the district at Bronco Stadium in Kirtland Central this weekend for the District 1-4A meet.

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.

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