Hobbs returned to district track & field competition with a bang on Friday.
The Eagles owned the first District 4-5A track & field championship meet in two years, winning boys and girls titles on their home turf of Watson Memorial Stadium.
All fine and well. But Friday’s meet was only this season’s penultimate competition, with the big dance coming next weekend at the state meet in Albuquerque.
“Our kids worked super hard. I’m proud of these guys,” Hobbs boys head coach Tyler Wilson said. “But we still have one more track meet, that’s the one we really care about. District is just another meet for us. We love to win it, but I’ve been telling the guys, ‘The last one is the one that matters.’”
“I’m more focused on state right now,” Eagles senior sprinter Adonis Bryan said. “But it’s nice (to win district).”
“(District) was a good little speed bump to get to state,” Hobbs sophomore sprinter Kaden Trevino said. “It was great to win, but we’ve just got to make sure we get to state and do the same thing, win as well.”
Hobbs girls head coach Cricket Lopez also had eyes on the state meet Friday.
“We could get on the podium with what we’ve qualified,” Lopez said. “We have an opportunity to make some noise. We could make a really good run at it.”
Though looking ahead, The Lady Eagles’ coach was thrilled with the Lady Eagles’ district title.
“All season we chased Clovis,” she said. “But we beat them at the right time.”
“Everybody did a great job. I know everyone put a lot into it,” Hobbs sophomore distance runner Yisel Palacios said. “I’m proud of our team and I’m proud of who we are and what we’ve become.”
Palacios and her Lady Eagle teammates became district champions by having athletes step up in the right spots at the right moments on Friday, according to Lopez.
“We had places that we hadn’t scored in before,” Lopez said. “We asked our hurdlers, ‘We need you to get points.’ … The kids committed to making sure we got in the top six. And we had kids sacrifice and run five events in this heat. That takes commitment to take on an extra event. They’re tough girls. It’s probably the toughest group I’ve ever been around.”
Isaiah Lewis had a great day for the Eagles, winning the boys 400-meter dash (49.60) and the boys high jump (6 feet, 2 inches). He was also part of the first-place boys 4×100-meter (43.27) and boys 4×400-meter (3:30.87) relay teams. The 4×100 team also included Trevino, Diego Baeza and Bryan; the 4×400 squad was rounded out by Omar Argott, Alex Blanchard and Yahir Chacon.
Lewis was part of Hobbs’ dominance in the boys sprint events. Adonis Bryan won the boys 100-meter dash (11.10), and Trevino won the boys 200 (23.12).
Hobbs also swept the boys relays. Aside from the 4×100 and 4×400 teams, the 4×200 team of Caleb Hedrick, Baeza, Trevino and Bryan captured first place as well (1:32.73).
Palacios led the Lady Eagles, winning both the girls 1,600-meter (6:07.01) and 3,200-meter (14:12) runs.
“It was all because of my great coach, Coach (Nathan) Collier,” Palacios said. “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be running this well. He makes us feel confident. When I first started running I felt like I was in a shell. … I feel like I broke out of my shell because of my coach.”
Hobbs also did well in the shorter-distance events. Wisdom Anthony won the girls 100-meter dash (12.73); Azucena Carillo took first place in the girls 400 (1:01.06); and Bhret Clay won the girls 800-meter run (2:29.19).
And the Lady Eagles notched a couple of relay wins. The girls 4×100 team of Alexi Wright, Faith Vine, Danielle Rodriguez and Anthony took first place (50.72), as did the girls 4×400 team of Rodriguez, Jamiah Clay, Bhret Clay and Carillo (4:15.58).
Desiree Bosquez gave the Lady Eagles a victory in the field events, taking first place in the javelin (107 feet).
Hobbs’ second-place finishers were: Lewis in the boys 100-meter dash (11.13); Arien Kai Rice in the boys 200 (23.90); Chacon in the boys 400 (52.01); Adrian Villegas in the boys 3,200-meter run (11:18); the boys 4×800-meter relay team of Nathan Cereceres, Christopher Espino, Jamie Cano and Gabriel Palomino (10:00.46); Baeza in the boys pole vault (9 feet, 6 inches); Blanchard in the boys long jump (21 feet, 1 inch); Omar Argott in the boys javelin (129 feet, 9 inches); Vine in the girls 100-meter dash (12.84); Bhret Clay in the girls 400 (1:03.86); Palacios in the girls 800 (2:33.16); Daniel Jurado in the girls 3,200 (14:14); the girls 4×200-meter relay team of Wright, Vine, Rodriguez and Anthony (1:49.38); the girls 4×800-meter relay team of Elena Garcia, Victoria Villanueva, Ivory Rico and Janelle Ferrer (12:15.03); Anthony in the girls high jump (4 feet, 10 inches); Wright in the girls long jump (15 feet, 11 1/2 inches); and Ibree McCorvey in both the shot put (30 feet) and discus (94 feet, 1 1/2 inches).
Taking third for Hobbs were: Caelan Pando in the boys 800-meter run (2:08.88); Villegas in the boys 1,600 (5:02.72); Jair Cruz in the boys 3,200 (11:24); Mark Leyva in the boys 100-meter hurdles (18.31); Ryan Middleton in the boys 300-meter hurdles (45.32); the boys 1,600 sprint medley relay team of Izaiah Licon, Cereceres, Jeremaih Jaquez and Sebastian Martin (4:53.20); Larry Salcido in the boys high jump (5 feet, 4 inches); Aldo Argott in the boys discus (124 feet, 9 inches); Wright in the girls 100-meter dash (12.98); Vine in the girls 200 (27.74); Celeste Oxaca in the girls 800-meter run (2:35.47); Jurado in the girls 1,600 (6:14.41); Jamiah Clay in the girls high jump (4 feet, 8 inches); Leilani Clay in the girls triple jump (30 feet, 7 1/2 inches); and Verdainya Buendia in the girls javelin (84 feet, 9 inches).
Hobbs’ district title sweep was even more impressive considering that the early-afternoon temperatures were well into the 90s.
“We got used to it,” Trevino said. “We’ve been drinking water and running our best.”
Which they’ll have to do one more time next weekend. It will be an especially big deal for Bryan who, though a senior, will be making his first appearance at the University of New Mexico’s Track & Field Complex. He transferred to Hobbs from Texas for his junior year, but that track season was clipped by COVID.
“I think I might cry, just being there,” Bryan said. “But I think I’m going to hold my emotions, focus on winning.”
All the Hobbs boys have their sights on winning a state championship.
“It’d be awesome,” Trevino said. “That’s a goal that we all look forward to, so that’d be awesome.”
The Lady Eagles, too, will be striving to make their presence felt in Albuquerque.
“I think we’re going to do great,” Palacios said, “because the girls that I run with, they’re competitive and they give all they’ve got. … That’s what I like about my team, they’re determined.”