by David Tesitor
LAKEWOOD — At the 2012 State Track and Field Tournament at the Jefferson County track complex in Denver this past weekend, several area participants advanced past their preliminary rounds and into the finals. Members of both the John Mall Panthers and La Veta Redskins teams saw personal best times and performances recorded.
By the end of the tournament, the John Mall girls team, which had only four members participating in the tournament, finished fifteenth with 17 points. The Redskins finished thirty-fourth. The Redskin boys team finished the tournament in sixth place with 32 points.
John Mall Panther Natalie Neece ran in three events. She qualified for the finals in each of the preliminary heats for the 100, 200 and 400-meter dashes by placing among the best times. Neece almost did not qualify in the 400-meter dash. She equaled her personal best time of 1:01.01 in the qualifying heat, narrowly edging herself into the final heat as the eighth seed. She finished in the finals in seventh position.
In her final events, Neece broke two personal and school records in the 100 and 200M dashes. Neece finished second in the 100M dash in a photo finish, missing out on a state title by only 0.02 seconds. She completed the event in 12.92 seconds, a school record. She ran against Ashton Rinker of La Veta who was also in the finals. Rinker finished fifth with a time of 13.14 seconds.
Neece then went onto the 200M dash. She finished 2nd in her qualifying heat in a time of 26.64 seconds but would later break her own record in the finals with a time of 26.61 seconds. She finished fourth in that event. La Veta’s Jacey Day also ran the 200M but did not qualify for the finals. Her preliminary heat time of 12.75 seconds put her in 13th place at state.
The final event for Natalie Neece was the 400M dash. Her time of 1:01.10 put her in 7th position.
Myranda Trujillo of John Mall competed in the 3200M run and set a school record of 13:04.81. She finished the two-mile run in 11th position.
Josiah Christian of La Veta was the last of the individual competitors in the track events. Christian competed in the 300M hurdles. He ran his preliminary qualifying heat in 40.75 seconds, finishing 2nd. The finals saw some fast times and the competition was strong. Christian finished the event in 3rd place with a time of 41.23 seconds. There was virtually a three-way race for the finish line for third place as the three racers crossed the line within 0.02 seconds.
The La Veta boys relay team also gave strong performance. The team finished 3rd in the 4x400M relay with a time of 3:32.85. They bettered their personal qualifying record by almost four seconds.
La Veta also finished 6th in the 4X800M relay in a time of 8:40.00, again shattering their personal best time by ten seconds. They missed out on a third-place finish by 4.25 seconds. In their other events, they finished 12th in the 4X200M run. Their qualifying heat time was 1:35.51. They ran a personal best in this event also, but the cutoff for the finals was 1:34.88 seconds.
The Redskin girls team did not advance past the preliminary heats and finished in 18th place in both the 4X100M run and 4X800M runs. The team also competed in the 4X800 Sprint Medley and finished in 11th place with a time of 1:56.99, a personal best time for the year.
The field events also saw four area athletes shine. John Mall’s Angelica Souza finished 10th in the shot put with a throw of 32 feet 8.50 inches, a personal best. Teammate Krista Cordova finished 14th at 30 feet 10.00 inches. Of note, Cordova then made it back to Walsenburg in time for her performance in the school production of Phantom of the Opera.
La Veta’s Brandon Morgan, who went into the competition as the number-two seed in the long jump, finished in 4th place with a jump of 20 feet 7.00 inches.
The final qualifier from the area was Bradley Vigil of La Veta. Vigil finished 2nd in the state in the shot put with a toss of 45-6.50 inches. He missed his personal best by a half inch. The winner in that event won the competition with a throw of 58 feet 3.00 inches, missing the state 2A record by fourteen inches. Vigil also competed in the discus. His off-day throw of 117’ 2.00 inches put him in a tie for 13th place.
With the last of the athletic season behind them, the student athletes should all be proud of their accomplishments this season. The twenty area athletes who represented us at the state meet this past weekend were among the elite athletes in their field. Congratulations to them all.
Gary M. Vezzani was elected Walsenburg’s mayor in Tuesday’s special mayoral election/recall vote. Preliminary results announced Tuesday night show that both Nick Vigil in Ward