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St. Pius’ Martinez wins third Sepulveda high jump crown

At 6:30 Monday evening, a full 90 minutes after Taos High School junior Jonah Vigil had dazzled the fans and athletes at the University of New Mexico track and field complex, coaches were still abuzz.

“The performance of the week. Maybe the year,” Volcano Vista coach Shane Cleveland said.

That Vigil erased — actually, destroyed — the second-oldest boys record at the Marilyn Sepulveda Meet of Champions was one thing. And he did, pushing Highland’s Bobby Newcombe off the top line in the 400-meter dash.

But Vigil’s time of 46.99 seconds was not just a meet record. It is believed to be the first sub-47 second performance in New Mexico prep history. Newcombe’s meet record was 48.25 seconds, set in 1997. The overall state record is 47.43 seconds, set by Volcano Vista’s Abram Schaap in 2016.

Vigil’s is the fifth-fastest outdoor high school time in the country this year, according to MileSplit.com. There is no way of knowing if that list is entirely complete. But still, Vigil was impressed.

“That sounds amazing,” said Vigil. “Today was a very special day.”

The Sepulveda meet annually brings together many of the state’s best athletes across all classifications.

Vigil, arguably the most dynamic runner in New Mexico outside of Manzano’s Jordan Byrd, demolished the field of runners in the 400 field; Vigil, who competes for a Class 4A school, was the only non-6A athlete in the race.

“I wasn’t feeling it before the race, but I started thinking about the meet record,” Vigil said. “That was the goal for today.”

Vigil, who said Missouri and Michigan State were among the schools on his radar, was one of a handful of double champions Monday.

There were several from the metro area, including Byrd in the 100 and the 200; he outraced a game Vigil to the finish in the latter. Vigil also took first place in the long jump.

Byrd admitted that Vigil’s eye-popping performance in the 400 got his attention before the two squared off in the 200 less than an hour later. Byrd ran 10.80 seconds in the 100, winning easily. The gap between he and runner-up Vigil in the 200 was slim (22.29-22.56).

The metro’s top hurdling specialists, Noah Fay of Rio Rancho and Haley Rizek of St. Pius, both swept their two races.

Rizek, a senior, is trying to choose between New Mexico and Pennsylvania for college. She was especially strong in the 100-meter high hurdles, where she whipped the field by more than a second.

“I always say that this is one of my favorite meets of the season,” said Rizek, who has been battling a nagging left hamstring injury. She also placed third in the javelin Monday. “But I still wanted to run here, because it’s so fun.”

Fay, a Rio Rancho junior, ran an extremely clean race in the 110, and held off Robertson’s Arjay Ortiz in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles final.

“It’s a great opportunity to be here, and I’m grateful for it,” Fay said. “I think of it kind of the same as any meet. I know where the numbers are, and I know what other people are running.”

Tyler Gibson of Cottonwood Classical Prep struck a blow for the smaller schools, taking down the field in the 800 with a time of 1 minute, 58.75 seconds.

“It’s a good representation of our school,” Gibson said. “You can’t shy away from competition.”

Albuquerque Academy’s boys had winners in Teagun Glenn (javelin, with an outstanding throw of 189 feet, 5 inches) and Lucas Jepsen in the triple jump.

Clovis’ Burgin Foster outdueled Sandia’s Caleb Bulten in the pole vault.

n There were thrills on the girls’ side as well, including the 800-meter final where Cibola’s Nicole Lawrence — once more demonstrating a potent kick in the final 150 meters — upset Albuquerque High’s defending state champion, Alisa Meraz-Fishbein.

Lawrence posted the second-fastest time (2:15.27) in the meet’s history. It was a personal record by over two seconds.

“I knew I had a chance, if I could stay with her on the back stretch,” Lawrence said. “I was pretty sure I could beat her at the end.”

Other metro-area champions were Jayln Mitchell of Volcano Vista in the 400, Eldorado’s Jasmine Turtle-Morales (easily) in the 3,200 and St. Pius’ Ari Martinez in the high jump.

Martinez won her third Sepulveda high jump crown. Next month, she’ll chase her fourth consecutive state title.

“It would just be so great to know that for four years, I continued to get better, and held myself to that standard of getting to the top and staying there,” Martinez said.

Destiny Lawrence of Goddard captured the 100 and 200; Hobbs’ Ciara Mackey won the long jump and triple jump; Miyamura’s Ashley Thomas staged a dramatic win over Academy’s Zoe Hunter in the 1,600-meter final (5:19.78 for Thomas, 5:19.84 for Hunter).

Cleveland update

Although Volcano Vista’s Jericho Cleveland didn’t race Monday, he still had a great day.

The Hawks’ senior has been invited to the prestigious adidas Green Mile in Boston in mid-May. He already had been invited to Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle in June. Both are elite events for prep athletes in the mile.

Also, as a result of several terrific runs at the Chandler (Ariz.) meet two weeks ago, a whole slew of new suitors — including Oklahoma State, Boise State, Colorado, Colorado State and DePaul — have jumped on Cleveland’s recruiting trail.

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