All that changed on May 21 when senior Austin Wagner took one giant step, one powerful hop, and a lengthy leap on his way to a first-place finish in the triple jump in Colorado’s Class 3A division.
For Wagner, the mark of 44 feet, 9 inches, capped off an impressive season that featured several individual victories and career best marks. In addition to his first-place finish in the triple jump, the M-CHS senior also finished 11th overall in the long jump (20 feet, 5 inches).
“It was kind of like a movie or storybook finish for him,” said M-CHS boys coach Bob Archibeque. “It came down to one jump, and he nailed one and he won by an inch.”
Also climbing high onto the podium for the Panthers was senior Josh Ramos, whose career-best time of 1:55.62 placed him second in Class 3A behind Alamosa High School’s Oscar Martinez (1:55.12) and set a new school record. Ramos also placed 10th in the 400-meter dash with a time of 50.79.
“Josh broke his brother’s (Justice) school record (1:55.74), and that was a feather in his cap,” Archibeque said. “Josh is one of those workers that all coaches dream of. He’s a great leader and his work ethic is unbelievable.”
Justice Ramos ran a season best time of 1:51.23 in the 800-meter run during his freshman year at the University of Colorado Boulder while competing in the Pac-12 Championships.
Other seniors representing M-CHS at the state meet included Coby Baer, who finished seventh in the long jump (20 feet, 10 inches) and 14th in the triple jump (41 feet), and Skylar Yarbrough, who placed 16th in the 300-meter hurdles (43.65).
Competing in the 4x400-meter relay with a team made up of Elisha Vacquera, Sonny Boren, Yarbrough and Ramos, the Panthers finished sixth overall (3:27.50), while in the 4x800-meter relay, a team made up of Jesus Ruiz, Boren, Ramos and Vaquera also placed sixth overall (8:18.15).
In the 4x200-meter relay, Trey Yarbrough, Skylar Yarbrough, Micah Hightower and Cael McHenry placed 16th overall (1:36.45) and as a team, the M-CHS boys placed 10th in Class 3A.
“The kids performed well in a lot of ways,” Archibeque said. “A lot of times, when you get to state, you’re just happy to be there. We had a lot of kids do more than just get there. When they got there, they performed very well.”
The Lady Panthers were led by Aryelle Wright, who placed second in the 400-meter dash (58.28) and set a new school record, according to Archibeque. Wright made the podium three times. In addition to her second-place finish in the 400 meters, she finished sixth in the 200 meters (26.18). She finished fourth in the 800-meter sprint medley (1:53.08) with M-CHS teammates Ashley Wood, Regina Schuster and Megan Short, and 10th in the 4x400 relays. Wright qualified for the 4x200 relays but was allowed to participate in just four events.
The school record for the 400 meter run apparently will stay in the Wright family. Although previous track records at Montezuma-Cortez were unavailable, and some were lost during the move to the new high school, The Journal’s archives revealed that Wright’s mother, Amber Cunningham Wright, held the school record of 58.6 seconds since 1990.
Short came in 13th in the long jump (15 feet, 9 ½ inches) and fourth in the 800-meter sprint medley.
In the 4x400-meter relay, Emma Thissen, Short, Schuster and Wright finished 10th (4:13.99). In the 4x200-meter relay, Anna Bullock, Kaeleen Boggs, Wood and Short came in 16th (1:52.21).
As a team, the M-CHS girls finished 14th overall in a meet that was delayed for two days because of the weather.
Because of the delay, triple jump state champion Austin Wagner was traveling back from the meet and not available for an interview at press time. A full story of Wagner’s accomplishments, as well as an interview with the champion will appear in an upcoming edition of The Journal.
This article was reposted on Wednesday, May 27, to clarify conflicting information about Montezuma-Cortez High School’s previous records for the girls 400-meter run.