Sprinters try to lead Farmington to new heights

Karl Schneider
  • The Scorps placed third at the 5A state track meet last season.
  • The Farmington boys track team won the FHS Early Bird meet by 42 points.
  • The Farmington girls placed third at the Early Bird meet, just 3.5 points behind Aztec.

FARMINGTON — The Farmington boys track team is chasing a 5A state title this season, and a big part of the Scorps' chances of capturing the blue trophy rests in their sprinters' hands.

From left, Axel Fowler, Kiara Quezada and Vincent Gomez poses for a portrait on Wednesday at Hutchison Stadium in Farmington.

In the first meet of the season, Saturday's FHS Early Bird meet at Hutchison Stadium, the Scorps blew out the competition with 134 team points. The closest team to Farmington was Aztec, which scored 92 points.

A good chunk of Farmington's points came from the shorter distances and relays. The Scorps swept the 100- and 400-meter races, placed first and third in the 200, swept the 110 hurdles, and won the 4x100 and 4x200 relays.

"We've had a lot of great sprint depth, but to be competitive for the state title, we need to have depth everywhere," Farmington coach Jeff Dalton said. "We talk a lot about how we have so many sprinters, some of them have to be willing to go to other events. Only a couple of guys can score the big points at the state and district meets."

Two of the Scorps who can score those big points are senior Vincent Gomez and junior Axel Fowler.

Gomez has had success on the relay teams since his freshman year and said it surprises him every year that the Scorps keep putting out top-level performances despite losing great runners every year.

"It's been crazy. It's been a lot of fun. Every year, it seems like we lose so many important people, but we're always able to fill those voids," Gomez said. "Every year, there's someone stepping up to fill the positions and achieve."

Fowler exemplifies the team's ability to produce top-level sprinters. He broke onto the scene last season, placing second in the 200 and fifth in the 100 at the state meet last spring.

But while Gomez has been grooming himself to be one of the team's leaders, watching previous team leaders and emulating them so he'd be ready when it was his turn to take charge, Fowler said his leadership skills are still a work in progress, and he's learning more every day.

"I think I'm fitting into the (leadership) role pretty well. I'm helping as much as I can with technique and form and all of that," Fowler said. "But I'm still figuring it out."

On the girls side, the Lady Scorps are poised for a renaissance of sorts this season.

Farmington was one of the top teams in the state in the early 2000s and won the team title in 2004. But over the past few years, the team has suffered a bit of a drop off and saw rival Aztec become the premiere team in the area and state, winning state titles in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

But this year's squad is ready to make a change.

At the Early Bird meet, the Lady Scorps finished third with 61 points, just 3.5 points behind Aztec in second place.

Helping lead the resurgence of the girls program is Kiara Quezada.

"Kiara has really brought a spark, and there's a good nucleus around her. They're a super-young team, but they're probably the fastest team we've had in six or seven years," Dalton said. "Scorpion female track was super dominant in the early 2000s, and it's taken a while, but I think they're going to put themselves back on the map this year."

Quezada, a freshman, said she's fitting in with the rest of the team well this season, and the friendship she has with the upperclassmen on the team has led to healthy competition among the Lady Scorps that she hopes will push them to new heights this season.

"I feel like we push each other a lot," Quezada said. "There's definitely healthy competition between us. For us, it's not really about winning, it's more about pushing each other."

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.