With realignment on the horizon, Taos may see its dominance in track and field challenged by a whole new batch of contenders: larger Class 5A schools who will drop down to combine with current 4A teams to set new competitive standards and rivalries in 2019.
Schools such as Albuquerque Academy and Los Alamos typically produce strong running teams and will be the teams to beat next year.
Coach Benny Mitchell will lead the reloaded Taos Tigers and Lady Tigers track teams, each poised to make a strong case for state crowns in their respective divisions. The boys have won the Class 4A title four years in a row and will have the bulk of last year's cast on hand as they vie for a fifth straight championship in May.
The girls have shown improvement in each of their appearances at the state meet in the last three years. In 2016, the team tied for eighth-place; however, the Lady Tigers placed fourth in 2017, missing the chance to bring home a team trophy by only one point.
Led by Jonah Vigil, the top point-getter in the state in 2017, the boys will be strong in the sprint events, hurdles, relays and (jumping) field events. Portales and Silver will be the teams to watch as potential challengers at state. Hope Christian could be a dark-horse who could surprise all three top contenders.
On the girl's side, Faith Powell will look to defend her individual high jump and long jump titles and possibly set state records in both events. The Lady Tigers have the top distance runners in the state, but will need to pick up points in the sprint and throwing events to pose a serious run at a team title.
The boys are off to a good start in 2018, winning their first meet of the season at the Bernalillo Invite March 10.