Return of Tiger Relays a welcome sight for La Junta track and field

Ken Hamrick
LA Junta Tribune
La Junta High School's Zeke Rangel lets the discus fly at the Tiger Relays Friday at Tiger Stadium. Rangel won the event with a personal record of 127 feet, 6 inches.

After an absence last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tiger Relays returned to action Friday at La Junta High's Tiger Stadium.

It was the 72nd boys meet and the 46th for the girls.

"It was very nice to have it and it was a beautiful day," said LJ coach Bill Remick. "It was perfect for track and we got lucky. It's nice to have kids back."

It was one of the shortest meets in the event's history.

"We had less teams," Remick said. "We had 16 teams and that's the reason why it went quick. It's kind of nice not getting out of here at 9 or 10 at night."

TIGER WEIGHT MEN DO IT AGAIN

La Junta gained most of its boys points again from its top weight throwers — Zeke Rangel and Stone Mata.

More:La Junta boys track and field's Zeke Rangel, Stone Mata dominate boys weight events in opener

Rangel not only won the discus throw for the second straight week, he set a new personal record in the event. He had a toss of 127 feet, 6 inches, which was an improvement of eight feet from last week's Ray Headley Invitational.

"I got a PR of 127, which was better from my 119 the previous week," Rangel said. "Throwing in the afternoon seems to be better for me for some reason. Being on our home field definitely helps, too."

Rangel also had a Top 3 finish in the shot put. He had a throw of 40 feet, 1 inch for a third-place finish.

"It was definitely not what I was hoping for, but hopefully next week I can definitely do better."

Mata also had a pair of Top 3 finishes. He placed second in the shot put at 41 feet, 6 inches, and he took third in the discus with a heave of 119 feet.

"It was a nice day today," Mata said. "It was a little warm and my hands were sweaty. But overall, it was pretty nice. It was fun to see Zeke get a new PR in the discus as well. I PR'ed today with 119, so I'm happy."

"I'm very proud of Zeke and he's working really hard," Remick said. "His ultimate goal is to be a top placer at state and he's getting there. As for Stone, he's right behind him and every week, he's working just as hard. We're excited to have them."

OTHER TIGER MARKS

La Junta finished sixth in the boys standings with 64 points and eighth in the girls standings with 26.

Also placing for the La Junta boys were Miles Marshall, who was second in the 110-meter high hurdles in 16.83, and Ramon Cardenas, who was second in the high jump at 5 feet even. He was sixth in the 400-meter dash in 1:01.30.

The Tigers placed in two relays. They were third in the 4x100 in 50.47 seconds and they placed fourth in the 4x200 in 1:47.83.

Three La Junta girls placed in two events. Makenzee Pounds was fourth in the 100-meter hurdles in 19.95 seconds and seventh in the long jump at 13 feet, 9 inches. Jaylin Springer was fifth in the discus at 79 feet and seventh in the shot put at 28 feet, 10 inches. Megan Lofing was sixth in the 100-meter dash in 14.43 and she was sixth in the 400 meters in 1:11.83.

Nya Marshall placed seventh in the triple jump at 29 feet, 5 inches.

The Tigers were fourth in the 4x100-meter relay in 56.66 seconds.

More:Mistakes costly in La Junta baseball's loss to Kent Denver

Swink was 12th in the boys team standings with 10 points and 16th in the girls standings with three.

Cheraw was eighth in the boys meet with 36 points and 11th in the girls meet with 19.

Rocky Ford placed 13th in the boys team standings with nine points and it was 13th in the girls standings with 11.

Fowler was eighth in the girls standings with 26 points. It did not score in the boys meet.

Crowley County placed third in the boys meet with 71 points and fifth among the girls with 72 1/2.

Las Animas was ninth in the boys standings with 34 points and it was 10th in the girls meet with 23 1/2.

Kim/Branson was 11th in the boys meet with 11 points and 12th in the girls meet with 16.

Tribune-Democrat reporter Ken Hamrick can be reached by email atKHamrick1@gannett.com