ALBUQUERQUE — The Piedra Vista girls track team found its way onto the 6A podium with a finish that was eerily similar to and just as dramatic as the conclusion of last year's state track championships.
Last season, PV won its first state title, edging Los Alamos in the final event of the meet, and today, the Lady Panthers topped Volcano Vista in the final event to finish third in 6A.
The Lady Panthers trailed Volcano by a half point heading into the final event, the 4x400 relay, and needed to beat the Lady Hawks in the race to get on the podium.
It wasn't an easy task, as the Lady Panthers qualified in the eighth and final spot in the event, but they blistered around the track in 4:03.03 to place fourth in the race and catapult the team onto the podium.
"Last year, we came down to the same predicament, and we came into the race knowing we had to run better than yesterday. It was more about the team and the trust we have with each other," said PV senior Sam Dewees, who ran as part of the 4x400 team. "As a senior, I went into that race with the mindset that I wouldn't let Volcano Vista or anyone beat me. We all went in with the mentality that we would die before we let our teammates down."
PV finished with 38 points, 2.5 ahead of Volcano Vista.
PV coach Mark Turner said he was thrilled with the Lady Panthers' performance, marveling at the way the girls always seem to provide their best in the biggest situations.
"We talked about it at the beginning of the year — if we do things right, we can get back on the podium, and it took down to the last race to get it right. That's what makes them special," Turner said. "They worked at it all year long. They worked hard, and I heard no complaints, no griping."
Piedra Vista's Hannah Sayyeau, Cydnie Stock and Bailey Rasmussen turned in great performances to help the Lady Panthers reach the podium.
Rasmussen, an eighth-grader, placed third in the pole vault, clearing 9 feet, 6 inches.
Sayyeau placed first in the javelin by a wide margin. The PV junior threw 125 feet 6 inches, beating the next closest throw by more than 15 feet.
"The jump from 5A to 6A was really different. 5A is strong, but 6A is really strong. Winning javelin in 6A is probably the best feeling in my life," Sayyeau said. "Coming up from the little group to the best of the best feels good."
Stock finished fourth in the 100 hurdles and third in the 300 hurdles, smashing her previous personal record in the 300 hurdles with a time of 45.33.
"I just really wanted to (establish a personal record), and that's what I did. Even though I finished higher up, I'm just glad I ran my hardest, and I know I did," Stock said.
In 5A, Aztec placed 11th with 12.5 points, followed by Kirtland Central and Artesia in 12th with 11. Farmington was 14th with 10 points. Bloomfield finished 16th with 5 points.
Navajo Prep finished ninth with 15 points in 4A. Shiprock was 13th with 10 points.
On the boys side, Farmington placed sixth in 5A with 26 points. Kirtland Central tied with Roswell for seventh with 24 points. Aztec was ninth with 19 and Bloomfield was 20th with 2 points.
In the sprint medley relay, Farmington won the title, followed by Aztec in second and KC in third.
In 4A, Shiprock placed 14th with 9 points and brought home a state title with Adrian Gibson winning the 110 hurdles in a time of 15.5 seconds.
Navajo Prep tied for 15th with Sandia Prep, scoring 4 points.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.