by David Tesitor
HOEHNE, LAMAR — The John Mall track team has been active the past three weeks and has competed in the second meet of the season with speedster Natalie Neece continuing her dominance in the shorter distance events. Several members of the team who qualified for state in 2011 and who returned this season are working to improve their best times.
The first meet of the season was the Hoehne Invitational. Ten teams competed in this warm-up meet, and as expected, the Lady Panthers had a strong showing. The events were divided into sectional heats where the athletes competed against their section based on their best times.
For the 100 meter dash, John Mall’s Destinee Summers finished third in her section with a time of 18.81 while Natalie Neece finished third in her section in 13.62. Neece also finished first in the 200M in a time of 27.53. Also running in her heat was Adaina Martinez (31.53). Michaella Trujillo finished first in her section (31.34). Neece also took first in the 400M dash in 1:03:16 and Trujillo came in fourth in 1:34:41.
The Panther’s long distance runner, Myranda Trujillo finished third in the 800M (2:50:23) and second in the 1600M (6:21:06). In the field events, we saw that Neece can run fast but she can jump too. She finished first in the long jump with a distance of 13 feet, 7.25 inches.
In other events, Angelica Souza, who competed at state last year in the shot, finished first in the shot put, throwing the ball a dominating 32’4″. Sarah Pineda came in at second with a throw of 26’2″, Deborah Aguirre threw at 25 feet, and Becky Bressan finished at seventh at 20’2.50″. Pineda also fin-ished second in the discus, hurling the discus 70’2″.
The boys seemed to struggle, not placing any athletes in the short distances, but Conor Orr placed sixth in the 800M run in 3:17.91 and sixteenth in the 1600M (7:27.10). In the field events, Dominic Velarde came in second in the shot (31’03”) in the first section and Isaiah Vigil first in the second section with a throw of 38’9.50″.
The following week, the competition was tougher at the Lamar Invitational as twenty-seven teams from 2A-4A competed. Preliminary qualifying events were held with the top eight making the finals. In the 100M dash, Neece beat her best time (13.37) to qualify. She finished first in the finals in a time of 13.09. Neece went on to take first in the 200 meter (27.76.). She completed the trifecta, winning the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:02:40. Myranda Trujillo took second in the 800M run in 2:41.57, missing first by 1.70 seconds, a mere two steps. Trujillo finished third in the 1600M in a time of 6:03.07 seconds, only nine seconds off first. No other Panthers placed in any other events.
The team was able to keep it together physically and emotionally, despite the recent accidental shooting of their assistant coach. They went out and competed the following Saturday. The girls won the Hoehne tournament. According to coach Lee Vigil, “We’re all a team right now and we are going to be competitive.”
The Panthers will be in Center this weekend, hoping to improve their best times.
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