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Lady Cats expect stiff test from Eldorado

Clovis High girls track coach Darrel Ray sees a two-team battle for the District 4-5A championship this weekend at Leon Williams Stadium.

And since the Lady Wildcats have already qualified most of what they want for next week’s Class 5A state meet in Albuquerque, he said they’re more focused on defending their district title.

“This meet features what I consider two of the best four teams in 5A running against each other,” Ray said, referring to the Lady Cats and Eldorado.

Field events and track preliminaries begin at 4 p.m. Friday. Competition resumes at 9 a.m. on Saturday with track finals and the remaining two field events for boys and girls.

Clovis will count on senior standout Monique Walker for big points, but Ray said the two teams neutralize each other enough that it may come down to which side can squeak out a few more fourths and fifths.

“You’re going to see (Eldorado) score well in the distance events, you’re going to see us score in the field events,” Ray said. “Relays and sprints are pretty much a wash. Whoever can get the one or two ‘pick-up’ points will win the meet.”

Walker hyperextended her right knee during long jump competition in an invitational at Moriarty on April 8, and has been brought along slowly. She was scheduled to run five events in last Friday’s Carlsbad qualifier, but got only three in when the meet was suspended by rain.

At Carlsbad, she won the 100 and 200 and finished second in long jump despite making only one attempt.

“She’s ready to go,” Ray said. “She’s had two pretty good weeks of work. She ran with high confidence at Carlsbad. Her 100-meter dash was a good as I’ve seen run.”

This week, Walker will run the 100 and 200, compete in long jump and run anchor on the 400 and 800 relays, although there’s a possibility she could exchange one event to do the 1,600 relay.

“It’s exciting because we’re the defending district champions,” Walker said. “We want to win it again — that’s what every senior wants.”

She said her knee feels fine, although she admits she was a little apprehensive doing long jump last week and wasn’t disappointed to get only one jump.

“I was really nervous,” she said. “I was ‘flashbacking’ to how I felt (at Moriarty).”

Walker has set a goal of simply scoring as many points as she can in each event.

“Hopefully, I can win all of them,” she said. “I want to stay in front of Eldorado as much as I can and beat them. We’re not worried about trying to hold somebody back. We’re just out to try to win the meet.”

Ray said the Lady Eagles should get good scoring from Vanessa Frangos in discus and shot put, Caitlin Demarest in the 400 and relays and Melanie Velarde and Anna Petrov in the distance events.

“They’re a team that has a big advantage on us, and that’s their distance competitors,” Ray said. “They’ve got two or three kids that’ll score in the mile (1,600), the 32 (3,200) and the 8 (800).”