M-CHS boys track primed for season

Middle distance runners, throwers, highlight this season’s team

Freshman Elisha Vaquera practices the long jump on March 5. Enlargephoto

Cortez Journal/Ian MacLaren

Freshman Elisha Vaquera practices the long jump on March 5.

Entering his 38th season with the Montezuma-Cortez High School track team, Bob Archibeque is careful to temper his expectations.

Even so, the longtime head coach of the M-CHS boys’ track program is excited about the upcoming season.

“We have a lot of kids out,” said Archibeque. “We probably have between 40 and 45 boys.”

Figuring to serve as a strength on this year’s team is a solid group of middle distance runners led by junior Justice Ramos and freshman Josh Ramos.

Both runners figure to contribute in both individual and relay events.

“I would like to get to 50 seconds or under in the 400 (meters),” said Justice Ramos. “It would be nice to win some meets.”

Also likely to enjoy success for the Panthers is a talented group of discus throwers led by seniors Isaac Padilla and Briston Walker.

“I want to be the best that I can be,” said Padilla, discussing his goals for the upcoming season. “I try to bring a positive attitude and keep everybody going.”

The Panthers also look solid in the shot-put event with sophomore Victor Perez and junior Dante Dennison leading the way.

“Our throwers could be pretty strong this year,” said Archibeque.

Leading the way for M-CHS in the sprint events will be junior Randy Haley, who will also play baseball for the Panthers’ this spring.

Another baseball player likely to see some success this season is senior Keegan Ralstin, who will run relays and hurdles for the Panthers.

While qualifying individuals for the state meet is the Panthers’ ultimate goal, qualification is difficult given that only the top 18 individuals in each event qualify.

Seventy schools currently compete in track at the Class 4A level.

Even with the challenges that accompany reaching state however, Archibeque is confident entering the upcoming season.

“Our ultimate goal is to establish a baseline as far as where we’re at,” said the longtime coach. “Then we want to tap that potential as far as we can take it.”

The Panthers will open their season on March 8 at the Red Rock Invitational in Moab, Utah.