Balanced scoring earns Tigers third at Aztec Top Gun Invitational, Taos dominates dashes

Lady Tigers acquire 14 top-10 finishes and four state qualifiers, top all other Class 4A teams


The Taos Tigers boys and girls track teams traveled to the Four Corners region to participate in the Aztec “Top Gun Invitational” March 29. The Tigers boys team finished third of nine total teams, beating all other Class 4A teams handily and three other Class 5A teams. The Lady Tigers came in fourth.

Taos had 16 individuals finish in the top 10 to go along with two relay wins, scoring 70 points in the process. The boys qualified two relay teams for state, and a few individuals picked up personal and season records in this meet alone.

The top performer for the Tigers was Jonah Vigil, who earned three first-place finishes and added 21 points to the team total. Vigil garnered first in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.18 seconds, a first in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.33 seconds and a first in the long jump with a distance of 22 feet, 11 inches. The two dash times are season records for Vigil and  stand as the top qualifying times in Class 4A. His long jump is a personal record and is the only qualifying distance listed on the event entry thus far.

Other athletes finding success in Aztec include: John Olivas, who earned fifth in the 100 and 200-meter dashes; John Esquibel, who finished second in the 400-meter dash; Adrian Rodriguez, who was third in the 400-meter dash; Abdul Khweiss, who garnered seventh in the 400-meter dash; Alejandro Gonzales, who finished eighth in the 400-meter dash; Alejandro Salazar, who came in eighth in the 110-meter hurdles; and Derrick Chacon who finished ninth in the 110-meter hurdles and sixth in the 300-meter hurdles.

In the field events, Dominic Lopez and Brian Moraga were ninth and tenth, respectively, in the 12-pound shot put. Justin Good was fourth in the discus, and Darren Abeyta came in fifth in the long jump.

Taos’ 4x200 relay team of Vigil, Jonathan Garcia, Nathaniel Martinez and Olivas claimed the top spot with a time of 1:32.71, earning the top qualifying time in the state. The same can be said of the boys’ 4x400 relay team of Salazar, Vigil, Garcia and Esquibel, who dominated the race with a time of 3:31.92.

The team results were as follows: Bloomfield (90.5 points), Farmington (77.5), Taos (70), Kirtland Central (62), Piedra Vista (55.5), Aztec (53.5), Hope Christian (27.5), Shiprock (12.5) and Navajo Prep (4).

Lady Tigers

The Lady Tigers also produced similar outcomes with balanced efforts on the track and in field events to earn their fourth-place finish. Taos ended the day with 14 top-10 performers and four state qualifiers.

Faith Powell racked up a pile of individual points with a win in the high jump with a leap of 5 feet, 4 inches, and a first-place in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:00.87. Powell also placed second in the long jump with a distance of 16 feet, 11.5 inches, and fifth in the 200-meter dash with a time of 27.54 seconds for the day’s final tally of 23 points.

Taos was strong in the distance events with Cora Cannedy grabbing third place in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:47.28 and a first-place in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 12:06.32.

For the second week in a row, Abigail “Abby” Gunther had an outstanding meet and pumped valuable points into the Lady Tigers’ till. Gunther gained a second place in the pole vault with a jump of 8 feet, 6 inches and a first-place in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 48.54 seconds.

Other noteworthy performances included: Emily Cordova, who placed fifth in the javelin; Ella Katz who came in third overall in the 3,200-meter run; Kelly Tonrey and Cassandra Ruiz, who finished sixth and ninth, respectively, in the 1,600-meter run; and Madelynn Quintana, who ended the day with two top-10s – coming in ninth in the 300-meter hurdles and ninth in the high jump.

The team results for the girls were as follows: Cleveland (115 points), Piedra Vista (65), Aztec (60.5), Taos (58.5), Hope Christian (50), Bloomfield (39), Kirtland Central (28), Farmington (26), Shiprock (11) and Navajo Prep (1).

The Tigers and Lady Tigers traveled to the Golden Spike Classic at Santa Fe High School after this section went to press April 3-4.

Next, the teams travel to Capital High School (Santa Fe) for the Jaguar Invite April 7.