What do you do when your track and field boys and girls teams become the first to win back-to-back Desert Valley League titles.
You win it one more time for good measure.
With a defeat of rival Palm Desert on the road Thursday afternoon, both boys and girls La Quinta teams did just that, and in dominating fashion, as the boys downed the Aztecs 99-28 and the girls took a 106-21 victory.
In that span, neither team has lost a single DVL meet, for good measure.
Talk about a dynasty. Not two separate “dynasties”, but one cohesive program. Senior jumper Nirie Boglino, who joined the team as a freshman, has been happy to see what winning has done to bring the two teams together as one.
“I’ve noticed a lot of times, people pay more attention to the boys team, but now we have the boys and the girls winning,” she said. “Everyone notices the team as a whole. We are one big team instead of separately boys and girls.”
The Blackhawks boast a school and a program larger than any in the area, and with that usually comes depth, but the number of student-athletes you put on the start line will only take you so far.
Over the past three or more years, girls coach Ryan Flores and boys coach Brian Ansley have been able to turn that large influx of participants into elite talent.
“With getting the numbers out, the amount of depth we have is incredible. Most events, we’re three deep or even four deep all the time,” Flores said.
“It comes down to depth when you want to have a great program. Obviously, a lot of schools in the Valley have elite athletes, but we’ve been able to keep that depth, and that’s the secret to our success,” Ansley said. “Once you get a winning program started, more people want to be a part of that.”
In seven of the individual events Thursday, the La Quinta girls team swept the point-securing first, second and third-place positions, while the boys did it three times.
And arguably no part of the Blackhawks’ program has displayed more depth and domination than the boys throwers, the “Big Four” according to senior thrower Omar Valenzuela, who’s been a key member of La Quinta’s team for three years.
With Valenzuela as the clear-cut top performer, fellow seniors Charles Hays, Brandon Sedlaczek and Westley Siebdrath have given the boys team a secure 18 points coming into every meet this season. As a group, they’ve swept first through third place each meet this season.
“Those 18 points are a safety net. Every week is a sigh of relief, knowing that you have 18 points, and the other team knows they’re going to lose 18 points,” Ansley said. “It’s a headwind for the other team, and we’re riding the coattails of our throwers coming into each meet.”
But when winning becomes second nature, how do you keep teenagers with short attention spans focused on every meet? Senior sprinter Chris Toribio, who has been on the team all four years of his high school career, said the La Quinta coaches have become more focused on peak individual performaces from each of their athletes, knowing that if each runner, thrower and jumper has their eyes on a personal mark to hit, winning as a team will take care of itself.
“Our coaches sit us down at the beginning of the year, and we talk about personal goals, and throughout the year, our coaches expect us to hit that,” Toribio said. “And if we do, they’ll tell us to hit it again or better it. Our goal is to improve every week, and if we don’t we’re letting our team down or our coaches down. That really motivates us.”
Through the team’s success, La Quinta’s elite athletes, including Valenzuela and Boglino have garnered attention at the college level. Next year, Valenzuela will head to UC Irvine on scholarship to compete in throwing the discus, and Boglino will be farther north at Sacramento State to compete as a jumper in three events.
“With the elite level athletes, kids are seeing them getting college scholarships and going to elite meets, and they’re placing and being recognized in the state and nationally,” he said. “That’s the carrot for the kids to go after.”
4×100 relay: Palm Desert (Shandrica Jackson, Jhada Wilson, Seline Schinke, Hailey Murdica), 50.28 – breaking their own school record of 51.22
1600: Marisa Rodriguez (La Quinta), 5:13.00
100 hurdles: Kira Leggat (Palm Desert), 17.36
400: Marisa Rodriguez (La Quinta), 1:03.84
100: Alana Wilson (La Quinta), 12.49
800: Sandra Flores (La Quinta), 2:25.92
300 hurdles: Kiara Jackson (La Quinta), 50.27
200: Alana Wilson (La Quinta), 25.61
3200: Sandra Flores (La Quinta), 12:44.87
4×400 relay: La Quinta (Vanesa Ramirez, Alejandra Guerrero, Kiara Jackson, Alana Wilson), 4:24.85
Discus: Ajah Wilson (La Quinta), 105-6
Shot put: Ajah Wilson (La Quinta), 34.5
High jump: Nirie Boglino (La Quinta), 5-2
Long jump: Nirie Boglino (La Quinta), 15-8.75
Triple jump: Nirie Boglino (La Quinta), 37-8.75
4×100 relay: La Quinta (Alphonso Nelson, Chris Toribio, Logan Shirley, Estevan Rodriguez), 44.78
1600: Casey Cruz (La Quinta), 4:44.34
110 hurdles: Galen Swearingen (La Quinta), 15.96
400: Justin Mahaffey (La Quinta), 52.51
100: Chris Toribio (La Quinta), 11.22
800: Garrett Ferguson (La Quinta), 2:05.06
300 hurdles: Galen Swearingen (La Quinta), 40.74
200: Logan Shirley (La Quinta), 22.72
3200: Ivan Esquivel (La Quinta), 10:38.74
4×400 relay: La Quinta (Logan Shirley, Justin Mahaffey, Galen Swearingen, Casey Cruz), 3:37.6
Discus: Omar Valenzuela (La Quinta), 170-6.5
Shot put: Omar Valenzuela (La Quinta), 53-11
High jump: Wes Coffey (Palm Desert), 6-0
Long jump: Chris Toribio (La Quinta), 20-7
Triple jump: Noel Hawkins (Palm Desert), 39-10.75