Clovis dominates at district track meet
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Clovis High sophomore Kane Bender needed a new pole after breaking his during pole vault practice earlier this week.
Suffice it to say, the new one — actually an old one found by CHS assistant coach Casey Pack — worked wonders.
Bender soared 1 1/2 feet above his previous best, going 12 feet, 6 inches to edge teammate Hector Flores on fewer misses for the win in Friday's District 4-5A track meet at Leon Williams Stadium. He also qualified for state competition next week at Albuquerque.
CMI staff photo: Tony Bullocks
Clovis junior Kamal Cass on second attempt in the long jump during Friday's District 4-5A track meet at Leon Williams Stadium in Clovis. Cass won the event with a mark of 21 feet, 1 1/4 inches.
"I just had to trust my coach to get on that pole and do what I had to do," Bender said, referring to Pack. "I just tried not to think about it too much."
Flores also went a personal best as the Wildcats thoroughly dominated the three-team meet, winning 12 events and piling up 113 points to 69 for Hobbs and 31 for Carlsbad.
The Clovis girls were even more dominant, with 17 event wins and 129 points to 60 for Hobbs and 24 for Carlsbad.
Bender and Flores got a bit of a break as Hobbs junior Dakota Jones, who has gone 13 feet, sat out nursing a minor injury. That left the two Cats battling it out for the top spot.
"We were trying to push each other," Bender said of Torres. "Having homefield advantage was good for us."
The Cats could do little wrong in the meet, taking three of the four relays while getting three individual wins from junior Kamal Cass (200, long jump, high jump), who also ran on two of the relays. Meantime, junior Darian Whiting led a 1-2-3 Clovis finish in the 400, and in the events they didn't win the Cats were either second or second and third in five of them.
"We performed like we're capable of performing," CHS boys coach Darren Kelley said. "We just put everything together, and the kids did a good job of competing.
"We got all the points we expected to get and then some."
Kelley said he thought senior Chase Beausoleil would need to keep Hobbs from dominating the distance races. It turned out not to be the case, but Beauseleil had a good day anyway with second-place showings behind Hobbs standout Seraiah Pineda in the 3,200 and 1,600, including a personal-best time of 9:56.54 in the former.
"To get under 10 was my goal from the beginning of the season," said Beausoleil, who will run at Eastern New Mexico University next year. "It's been a mental thing for me, but I just said, 'Let's go for it.'"
The girls, meantime, had been edged out by Hobbs for the district title each of the past two years. Suffice it to say there was no such drama this time.
Senior Jenna Sievers, juniors Sasha Smith-Pollard and Rebekah Gallop and sophomores Ajaycia Brown and Shelby Jones all won two individual events, and the Lady Cats swept all four relays.
The two events they didn't win? Jones led a 2-3-4 Clovis finish behind Hobbs' Marissa Triplet in discus, while junior Shea Mahan was second in the 400 to the Lady Eagles' Kaylyn Felicetti.
"It's hard to single anyone out because everyone's performed so well," Lady Cats coach Mike Hankins said. "You expect points from Jenna and Sasha and Shelby, but all the other points, that's really something."
Gallop, who had already qualified for state in the 800 and 3,200 and may run on the Lady Cats' 1,600 medley relay team next week, fell just short of the qualifying time of 5:30 in the 1,600 (5:31.67), but qualified by winning the race.
"It's only my fourth time running it this year," said Gallop, one of the Lady Cats' top runners in cross country but someone who prefers the shorter distance races. "Cross country is more laid back; track is really intense, and you're being watched all the time (by spectators).
"This season has been really something. I'm happy how it's turned out."