Socorro’s Lola Apodaca, left and Tamra Fowler head for the finish of the 100-meter dash, taking fifth and eighth respectively Saturday at the 1A-3A state track and field championships in Albuquerque.
Glen Rosales photos for El Defensor Chieftain

ALBUQUERQUE – It has been quite some time since Socorro could add a track-and-field trophy to its trophy cases, but thanks to some outstanding all-around efforts, the boys brought home third-place honors and the girls were just a few points from snagging one themselves.

“Collectively, this year, we had more success, on both sides,” said coach Cody Lee. “It’s two programs, but we do everything together as one track team. And we had more individual state champions than we ever had before.”

The total was seven individual state champs between the boys and girls, a mark Socorro has not reached in quite some time.

The boys finished with 56 points, one point behind Cottonwood Classical for second and within sniffing distance of three-time champion St. Michael’s at 69¼ points.

Senior Gavin Spitz led the Warriors efforts, scoring 15 points to finish as the third-best in the individual high-point competition while sophomore Braden Mounyo scored in four of his five events to pick up 13 points, and senior Jordan Armijo won the 100-meter dash moments after helping Socorro win the 4X100, overall earning 11½ points.

“Anytime I come into a race, I’m not worrying about who I’m running against or where I’m seeded. I’m just trying to PR (personal record),” Armijo said. “I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t PR, but it’s always nice to win first. I was 2/10 of a second off. Not too bad but not where I’d like to be.”

Still, his accomplishment was quite significant, Lee said.

“He won two state championships within a half hour, the 4X100 and 20 minutes later coming back and winning the 100,” Lee said. “He worked his butt off all year so this was huge for him to win two.”

Spitz won the high jump, going 6-feet 4-inches and is just starting to scratch his potential, Lee said.

“He popped in a really good one,” the coach said. “He led the state the entire year. He’s a competitor. I believe he could jump somewhere at the next level. I believe he could.”

While the individual and relay championships were nice, what the Warriors learned was that having athletes reach the podium in event after event helps the points add up and helps the team build toward the trophy podium when the meet is over.

Socorro sprinter Jordan Armijo, right, cruises past Dexter’s Juan Fuen￾tes in the Class 3A 100-meter dash en route to a state championship in a time of 11.17 seconds Saturday as the Warriors took third at the 1A-3A state track and field championships in Albuquerque.

Mounyo was a perfect example of that, Lee said.

“He’s our utility man,” he said. “He won the pole vault and scored in four of his five events. That’s what it’s all about. This year, we were blessed to have competitors at the top, which is seven points and which is huge. But year in and year out, you’re not always going to be blessed. But the kids learned that as long as they’re on the podium and get fifth place, they get two points. And those two points are huge.”

On the girls side of the ledger, Mounyo’s sister, senior Kilee Mounyo pulled down 19½ points and best buddy, fellow senior Elise Madril added 11.

The two helped the Warriors score 46 points, good for fifth, but they were just 5½ points behind runner-up Santa Fe Prep.

Mounyo and Madrill helped the 4X100 team take second, then Mounyo won the 100-meter hurdles. Madril then won the 400, blasting through as the only runner under one minute at 59.27 seconds.

“Last year, I was seeded first and I was ready to win and I got beat,” Madril said. “So this year, I came back with a vengeance, ready to get back what I should have had last year. And honestly, when I stepped on the track (Friday) I hoped to break a minute and I did, and when I stepped on the track (Saturday), I hoped to break that minute and I did. So it feels really good. Senior year, going out with a bang.”

And it was particularly special to be succeeding alongside Mounyo, Madril said.

“She’s the best,” Madril said of Mounyo. “She deserves everything she gets. She’s so good. Me and Kilee have been in the same class forever. My mom used to baby sit her as a kid so we were really close. Just to see her achieve all her goals and to graduate high school with her is something. She shows up to practice every day and works hard.”

And that the Warriors came so close to a trophy was almost unthinkable, Madril said.

“We don’t really go for it as a team because we’ve never really been good enough to go for it as a team,” she said. “But senior year, I think everybody was just kind of ready to give it their all. We’re actually going out with a bang, class of 2022.”

But Lee said this is just the beginning for the track program.

“We had a bunch of young kids getting exposed to track and the field events and that helps set that foundation and moves us forward. They deserve to be successful. I knew that they were capable of competing like they did, all day long for two days and now they’ve learned it.”

Glen Rosales for El Defensor Chieftain