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Prep track and field: Cloudcroft’s Hughes does it all, and superbly

Cloudcroft’s Ajia Hughes sails through the air in the long jump at Friday’s Class 2A state track-and-field meet. Hughes won this and four other events. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Ajia Hughes, once she gets home and lays her head on the pillow, might not wake up until Monday.

Perhaps no athlete at the Class 2A track and field meet was more deserving of catching some Z’s than Cloudcroft’s star.

“I am so tired,” a smiling but visibly exhausted Hughes said, her voice beginning to fail her. Her first name is pronounced like the band – or, if you prefer, the continent. “I need the rest.”

The Bears senior managed something Friday so remarkable, there was no way to immediately verify if it had ever been done before. Or, if it had, when?

Hughes won five individual events in a single-day state meet, scoring a perfect 35 points on a broiling afternoon at the University of New Mexico Track.

“It was just really compact, just running from event to event was really hectic, and I wish I would have had more time,” she said. “But it’s good to end it all quickly.”

Hughes swept the jumps as the No. 1 seed – long jump, then triple jump, then high jump – and also won both hurdles. State meets have been spread out over two days for decades, so there was no way to know if anyone else had won five finals in a single day.

“Awesome,” Hughes said, reflecting on her long day. “I was hoping to finish this year strong. I was hoping to break more records, but I’m grateful for what I have.”

The future Southern Utah University athlete’s 35 points were nearly half of Cloudcroft’s entire team total (73), which earned the Bears a third-place trophy.

Rehoboth Christian, which has enjoyed a terrific spring including a boys state basketball championship last month across the street at the Pit, had a 91-82 victory over runner-up ATC, or The Academy for Technology and the Classics, out of Santa Fe.

“Track doesn’t get enough credit for being a team sport,” Lynx coach Collier Kempton said after the school claimed its first blue trophy in girls track and field. “We have some phenomenal individual competitors, but in my opinion, the strength of our team comes from the community, and the solidarity that is fundamentally necessary, like the foundations of a relay event.”

The 200-meter final proved to be crucial toward the end of the meet, as Rehoboth Christian went 1-2-4 – led by champ Naomi Philips – for 15 points. ATC scored six points in the same race.

In the 400, Audrey and Anna Huizinga went 1-2 for the Lynx in another major swing event.

Kaylee Hickman of Cloudcroft won both the discus and the javelin. Josette Gurule of ATC won the 800 and later added a victory in the 1,600.

Hagerman’s José Jaramillo lets the discus fly during Friday’s New Mexico Class 2A track championships. Jaramillo won both the discus and the shot put. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

BOYS: Hagerman went 1-2-3 in both the shot put and discus with José Jaramillo, David Chacon and Julian Andavazo, and the Bobcats steamrolled the 2A field Friday.

The 32 points in those two events were over a quarter of Hagerman’s total of 127.5 points. Santa Rosa (75) and Pecos (47) also won trophies.

“It feels real sweet (to sweep both individually),” said Jaramillo, a senior.

Chacon won the javelin for Hagerman.

Like Jaramillo, Andres Martinez of McCurdy was a double state champion, taking the long jump and triple jump. Peñasco’s Gilbert Valdez captured the 800- and 1,600-meter finals and was a close second in the 3,200. Rolando Sandoval of Pecos was the premier sprinter, sweeping the 100 and 200, and also was runner-up in the long jump.

(Click here for Class 2A meet results.)

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