2022 Richard Harper Track & Field Invitational

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At the 2022 Richard Harper Memorial Track Meet on Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 23, Charger athletes had powerful showings against the best teams in the state. Highlights include a record-breaking performance, numerous top-three finishes, and state qualifying marks. The Academy boys placed fourth with 48.5 points behind first-place finisher V. Sue Cleveland High School (116 points). The Academy Girls placed sixth with 37 points, while Los Alamos High School won the girls title with 127.5 points.
Field events took center stage on day one, with multiple outstanding performances by Academy athletes. The highlight of the day was Junior Gigi Galles’ 37-foot-1-inch triple jump. Galles’ jump destroyed the previous school record of 36’ 6.25” set by Katarina Sacoman in 2018, and was enough to take the win and set a new state lead for this track season. Of her record Galles stated, “It was definitely a fight…but with the support of my teammates and Coach La Vern I came out on top and I’m honored to have the school record in triple jump.” Galles also placed first in long jump with a mark of 17 feet 4 inches over Los Alamos Sophomore Angelina Passalaqua’s 17’ 3.75”.
Academy athletes made moves on the boys side of the jumping pit as well. Max Chandler, ‘22, took second in triple jump with a 42 foot 8.25 inch mark, followed by Kane Demers, ‘22, with a mark of 42’ 7”. The two, along with Sophomore Jamal Witter, scored a combined ten points for the Chargers in this event. Demers also got third in the long jump with a 22-foot 5-inch jump, his second-best mark ever in the event.
Friday also included a stellar performance by Junior Franklin Rambo, whose Javelin throw of 154-feet-4-inches, a ten-foot personal best, earned him second place over West Mesa’s Josiah Escobedo. At the pole vault pit, Emerson Hickey, ‘22, took second by vaulting over a height of 12 feet, scoring five points for Academy. Additionally, Sam James, ‘24, state qualified in High Jump with a clearance of 5-feet-10-inches.
On the running side of things, Katie Patton, ‘23, placed fifth in the 3200m, scoring two points for the Chargers. Patton was followed by Addison Julian, ‘26, who ran a personal best and qualified for state in 12 minutes 13.33 seconds.
Running stole the focus on Saturday, with almost perfect conditions contributing to fast times for both sprint and distance events. In the 800m, Joaquin Deprez, ‘22, smoked his competition, winning and running an altitude personal best of 1 minute, 55.26 seconds. Any competition was far behind, with second-place finisher Issac Tucker Scott of Sandia High School finishing in 1:58.53. Of his race, Deprez said, “it’s an honor to win the first Harper 800 with the new track. I wanted to run a fast time to inaugurate it and I’m sure many [more fast times] will follow.” Will James, ‘22, also had a great performance in the 300m hurdles, qualifying for state with a time of 41.87 seconds.
On the girls side, Galles continued to dominate, becoming the lady Chargers’ top scorer with a fourth-place finish in the 200m in a personal best time of 26.15 seconds. Freshman Isabella Romero had an impressive showing in the 100m hurdles, placing third with a personal best of 17.35 seconds. Romero also set a personal best in the 100m dash.
One of the most exciting races on Saturday was the girl’s 1600m. The race went out fast, led by Albuquerque High’s freshman standout Daniela Figueroa. Challenging Figueroa were 2021 4A Cross Country Champion Delaney Ulrich of Los Alamos and her teammate Emma Montoya. It was a three-way battle to the finish, but Figueroa pulled ahead and defeated Ulrich in a time of 5 minutes 12.04 seconds. The fast race worked to the advantage of Academy runners Katie Patton, ‘23, and Anna Hastings, ‘26. Patton ran a personal best of 5:18.17, placing fifth to score two points for Academy, and Hastings also ran a personal best, qualifying for state as an eighth-grader in 5:31.68.
Rounding out the day was a long-awaited state qualification in the girls 1600m sprint medley relay. Patton, along with Jocelyn Garcia, ‘22, Aleea Bridges, ‘24, and Izzy Nguyen-Spiers, ‘23, ran a time of 4 minutes 25.6 seconds to take third in the event, destroying the qualifying mark of 4:33.00. After being close to qualifying on numerous occasions throughout the season, the qualification felt like a win for the entire girls team.
Following the Richard Harper Invite, the Academy track and field team will compete in two more meets before state: the APS Metro Championships on April 28 and 29 and the District 6-4A District Championships on May 7, hosted at Albuquerque Academy. The State Championships are scheduled for May 13 and 14 at the UNM Track and Field Complex. The team would love support at any of these meets, and especially at state, where they are contenders for the 4A title.