CIBOLA ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
April 7-12, 2008
Boys: Daniel Gooris and Brent Jorgensen, Track & Field
April 11, 2008
Thinking back to August, 2007, I felt that our nineteen sports teams at Cibola High School had a legitimate chance to produce as many as five state championships during the current school year. My hopes were sky-high, but my fingers were crossed and my optimism was guarded. Here’s how my math added up to five in our chase for those elusive blue trophies. Football and boys cross country were my picks for top-billing in the fall. I considered volleyball a long shot. Our harriers came so close and only a sudden illness by one of our top runners kept us from standing tall on the awards stand. Football gave it their best shot and lost to perennial power, Mayfield. So, it was close, but no cigar in the fall.
I felt like either of our basketball teams could bring home the bacon during the cold winter months. I knew wrestling would be a contender, but, like anyone who knew anything about wrestling, I knew that Rio Rancho would again be the prevailing favorite. As advertised, they were crowned champions. Girls basketball earned their second consecutive district banner, but stubbed their collective toes at The Pit, and the boys were starting to flex their muscles late in the season before their title hopes were derailed by the mighty Clovis Wildcats.
The season I trusted the most was warm and windy spring. After steamrolling through the field in May, 2007 with a team loaded with mostly sophomores, I figured our softball team had a decent chance to repeat this spring. This team is off to a 17-0 start. They are hitting their stride and appear to be a prohibitive favorite to win the whole shooting match again. My mom always told me to never count those chickens until they were hatched, so, I’ll hold my prediction on this one for now.
All of a sudden, the diamond girls have company at the top of their mountain. It comes in the form of their female counterparts in track and field and the enormously talented boys thinclads, as well.
We all knew the boys would be considered a pre-season favorite to challenge for top billing. These dudes can run. They can jump, and they can also throw. In other words, they have all the ingredients to do something our school has never, and I mean never, done before. Yes, I’m talking about winning a state championship in the sport of boys track and field. A year ago they started to establish themselves as a team that needed to be taken seriously when they won the district title (that too, was a first in school history) and finished third at state.
Now, that success from last spring has made this team the engine that not only thought they could, but is determined that they will. Anything short of a state championship would be disappointing for their coach, Ken Henry, his hard-working assistant coaches, and his dedicated student athletes that make this such a formidable squad.
The architect for this talented group is the aforementioned Ken Henry. After taking the helm five years ago, this mild-mannered mentor has built an average program into one of the most feared and respected programs in The Land of Enchantment. Henry has parlayed his track and field knowledge with an uncanny ability to motivate his aspiring athletes. The proof is in the proverbial pudding as this team has gotten better and better since the arrival of this former La Cueva and LSU star.
There do not seem to be any weaknesses on this team. As stated earlier, these cats have speed, they are strong in the field events, they have undeniable depth, and most importantly—they believe. This team is blessed with a cavalcade of outstanding athletes. Three of the top athletes in the city have qualified for the state meet in five events. Arguably the best athlete this school has ever produced in track and field is Daniel Gooris. The Northern Iowa bound senior is a specialist in the 300 hurdles, the 110 hurdles, the long jump, a member of the 4X100 relay team and the numero uno high school pole vaulter in New Mexico. He has broken his Cibola pole vault record (now at a height of 16’6”) several times and currently has the second best vault in the USA. His distance in the long jump is also a state best at this time. Daniel’s all-around athletic ability will allow him to pursue his Olympic dreams as a decathlete at UNI. Overall, his exploits in this sport are material for the formation of a human highlight DVD.
The versatile and talented Brent Jorgensen is a member of three state qualifying relay teams; is second in state in the 400 meters and 3rd in state in the 200. Kid can fly. You might also remember this speed burner as QB Jon Mader’s favorite deep target on the gridiron last fall.
Now there’s more speed on this team than CHS is accustomed to. There’s lots of company in the fast lane these days in Cougarville. Long known for their lack of speed in this sport, suddenly the Cougars have speed to burn. One of the bright spots is the sudden emergence of sophomore, Matthew Valenzeuela. Henry’s eyes light up when this speedster’s name is mentioned. This is one high-speed sophomore. In only his first season of high school track, Valenzuela has already established a new school record in the 400 meter dash at 48.75. That, along with his personal best in the 200 has him atop the state’s best in both events. He too is qualified in five events. Senior, Eddie Eubanks has also established himself as one of the premiere sprinters in the Albququerque area. In addition to state qualifying times in the 100 meters and the 4 X 100 relay team, Eddie can also boast of being 4th in the City in the long jump.
On the other end of the running spectrum, Cibola can boast of twins Vincent and Chris Montoya to do their usual yeoman like work in the distance races. Vince earned All-State honors at the state cross country meet in the fall and it is likely his brother would have done likewise had it not been for his late-season illness. Each of these long-distance racers is making a vital contribution to the overall success of this highly regarded team.
There’s more. As stated, these guys can not only run; they have kangaroo-like jumping skills and bionic arms for tossing the javelin, discus and shot put.
Let’s take a look. Mycah Huitron, Sam Potter, Brandon Simpson, Corey Roybal, and Daniel Fiaseau are fast becoming Cibola track and field household names for their all-around skills. Huitron, after a short sabbatical following the basketball season qualified for state in his first and only competition with a state best leap over the bar in the high jump. He’s also a top five long jumper. Simpson, another high-flyer from the hardwood, can compete in the high jump (# 3 in state rankings) and triple jump at state, while Potter is second in the state in the pole vault and Roybal is tops in state in the shot put. Fiaseu has qualified for the state meet in the javelin event.
With the district meet only three weeks away followed by the state meet a week later, I am ready to boldy predict that this 2008 version of Cibola track and field will enter UNM Stadium as the odds on favorite to take home the blue trophy.