Published: 12:01 am, Sun. Apr. 17th, 2016Updated: 1:11 am
In terms of team placements, the Bulldog and Lady Bulldog tracksters were well behind the pack Friday at the Wildcat Relays in Clovis.
But that wasn’t what the squads were there to accomplish. Looking to add some state qualifications to their tally as they head into the home stretch, the Lady Bulldogs were able to pick up a pair and the ‘Dogs one amidst solid performances versus enormous fields.
“We did the things we needed to do,” head coach Rex Henderson said Saturday. “I thought we competed better than we did in Las Cruces the week before, and we picked up some good qualifications in some key areas.
“So we did most of the things we’ve been wanting to do, it’s just such a big meet with a lot of 6A teams.”
Topping the meet on both sides was Cleveland High, followed by Alamogordo in second. Also in attendance were Clovis, Rio Rancho, Hobbs, Cibola, Carlsbad, Lovington, St. Pius, Goddard, Roswell, Atrisco Heritage, Portales and Hope Christian, Bovina, Texas, on the boys’ side and Melrose and Texico on the girls’.
The Bulldogs finished ninth overall on the evening and the Lady Bulldogs 13th.
The Lady ‘Dogs added their second running event of the season to date to their state list, courtesy of junior Raina Wesson in the 400-meter dash with a second-place time of 1:00.86. Also qualifying for the first time Friday were freshman Paityn Houghtaling in the girls’ javelin with a fifth-place throw of 113’6” and freshman Kale Mauritsen in the boys’ pole vault with a fifth-place height of 12’3”.
Seniors Justin Houghtaling and Christian Lopez both re-qualified in the boys’ javelin with respective second- and fourth-place marks of 159’8” and 155’8”, and Elliot Harrison did the same in the girls’ high jump with a sixth-place height of 5’.
Rounding out the boys’ points performances in Clovis were sophomore Eliazar Granillo with a sixth-place finish in the 3200-meter run (10:38.89), Mauritsen in sixth in the 300 hurdles (42.00), and Caleb Brewer in fifth and sixth respectively in the long jump and triple jump (20’9.5” and 41’2”).
For the Lady Bulldogs, the 1600-meter relay team of Cameron Keese, Wesson, Harrison and Jailyn Ruiz came in sixth with a time of 4:25.91, Madilynn Moon was fifth in the pole vault (8’), and Wesson took sixth in the long jump (16’1”).
“I think we’re coming along like we need to,” Henderson said. “We’re a pretty young team overall, so I think we’ve gotten where we’re performing more consistently. We just need to get everybody there at the same time, which always seems to be our struggle.
“As we get down to the end of the year, I think we’ll be able to put some things together and compete well as a team moving toward district and state, and that we’ll be in good shape when we get there. We’re seeing steady progress in all the events we want to be seeing it in, and I feel like, as coaches, we’re all pretty pleased with the progress we’ve made to this point.”
The Artesia teams will now prepare to host the annual Artesia Invitational at 3 p.m. Friday at Bulldog Bowl and Morris Field. Following that outing, they’ll travel to Lovington April 29 for the Ross Black Relays before heading back to Wildcat Country May 6 for the District 4-AAAAA Meet.