High school track team says it was robbed of a first place finish

GRANTS, N.M. (KRQE) – Four Grants High School boys said they should have been state track champs, but a bad call by an official took it all away from them.

Now they want justice, but it seems there won’t be any.

This weekend, the Grants High track team finished first in the boy’s 16-hundred medley relay, but shortly after crossing the finish line they were told they had been disqualified.

They said they’ve been robbed and have evidence to back their claim.

Working your way to the championship, that’s just what four Grants High School seniors have been doing.

“They have a drive like no other,” said Grants High School Head Track Coach Jessica Thompson.

For the past two years, the boys have worked together running the medley relay race for a chance to take home first place medals their senior year.

“This year we have been getting lots of hand offs in and just trying to make sure every little thing was on point,” said Grants High School senior and runner Michael Anzures.

But all their hard work ended in a disqualification at the Track and Field State Championship on Saturday.

An official told them they had violated the exchange zone by handing off the baton too late, but the boys and Coach Thompson said that’s not true. In fact, a parent captured a video of the hand off, showing the runner within the exchange zone. Now, the kids are devastated.

“We should’ve won that. We did everything fair and square. It’s just a judgement call,” Anzures said.

It wasn’t until after the race the boys found out their first place finish was actually a scratch. The worst news of all though — the call cannot be challenged.

According to the New Mexico Activities Association, calls on the field stand and not even videos or photos can be used to appeal. As for the Grants seniors, they’re having to accept the fact that two years of hard work won’t be rewarded.

“We were heartbroken. We knew we should’ve won. The NMAA didn’t think so because there isn’t an appeal process,” Anzures said. “It’s something you grow up dreaming about and wanting, and being seniors we never won that before so we wanted it to be a happy ending for our last race ever.”

The NMAA said they do not see the need to change its appeals process, but the Grants seniors said they want that to change so other athletes will not experience a devastating loss like they have.

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