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Boys track and field: Byrd, Morris three-peat; Cleveland rallies in 6A

Jordan Byrd didn’t get everything he wanted at the Class 4A-6A boys state high school state track meet Saturday, but he sure came close.

Byrd, the junior speedster from Manzano High School, put on dazzling performances in winning the 6A 100- and 200-meter sprints. He also helped the Monarchs win the 800-meter relay and finish second in the 400 relay.

The only thing missing? A state record.

Thanks at least in part to a gusty headwind, Byrd fell narrowly short of the Class 6A marks in his individual races. In winning his third consecutive 100 championship, he finished in 10.58 seconds, just off Highland’s Bobby Newcombe’s 10.50 from 1997. Byrd then blazed to a time of 21.31 in the 200, narrowly missing Alejandro Goldston’s 21.19 time set last year for Volcano Vista.

“I feel good about it,” Byrd said of his performance. “You can’t beat the wind. God didn’t want me to break a record today. Maybe next year.”

Byrd grabbed individual high-point honors, but Cleveland grabbed the team championship trophy in dramatic style.

Cleveland’s Daniel Johnson, right, races Rio Rancho’s Josh Foley during Johnson’s 6A narrow victory in the 110 meter hurdles. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

The Storm stood in 10th place at Saturday’s intermission and was third going into the final event, the 4×400 relay. Cleveland won that event, while Volcano Vista and Eldorado finished fifth and seventh, respectively. As a result, the Storm finished with 59 points to the Hawks’ 57 and the Eagles’ 50.

“We knew we had to win (the relay) and get some help with Volcano,” said Cleveland’s Veto Virgin, who ran a leg in the relay.”We were talking up Clovis, trying to get them to help us out. What a crazy race, but it feels great to come out on top.”

Virgin also won the 300-meter hurdles for Cleveland, which earned its second straight boys team title and fifth in six years.

Abram Schaap repeated as 400-meter champ for Volcano Vista, which won a team title in 2015. The Hawks’ Jericho Cleveland also backed Friday’s 1,600-meter victory with a win in the 3,200 on Saturday.

Class 5A

Academy’s Jackson Morris wrapped up his superb career in style, completing his third consecutive three-peat in throwing events and adding a state record to his résumé. Morris set a state record in the shot put Saturday with a throw of 58 feet, 6 inches. He also won the javelin after taking the discus on Friday and took high-point honors in 5A.

Morris also got to enjoy a team title as the Chargers rolled up 86 points. Alamogordo (56) and Artesia (52) were second and third, respectively. It was cademy’s third straight team title.

“We had a great group of senior leaders and scored points where other people couldn’t,” Chargers coach Adam Kedge said. “Jackson has just been phenomenal with nine state titles. Jordan Lesansee and Aric Kedge came up big for us, too.”

Lesansee completed a distance sweep, winning the 3,200 Saturday to go with Friday’s 1,600 title. Aric Kedge won the 800.

Los Lunas’ O’maury Samuels also had a big meet, winning the 100 meters, helping his team to 400- and 800-meter relay titles, and finishing third in the 200.

Taos’ Jonah Vigil spent Saturday battling through one close finish after another. He won the 100 by .002 of a second over Ruidoso’s LeVaughn Smooth, finished a painfully close second to Smooth in the 200, but finished the day with an exclamation point.

Vigil anchored the Tigers’ dominating 4×400-meter relay victory and got to leave with both team and individual high-point honors. Taos won its fourth straight team championship with 67 points, topping second-place Portales (50) and third-place Silver (49).

Vigil’s win in the 100 could not have been much closer. He crossed the finish line in 11.373 seconds to Smooth’s 11.375.

Click here for team scores, event results.

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