The last you saw of Sarah Root in Albuquerque, she was tearing things up at state track and Great Southwest. It's that time again. Photo by Blake Wood.
If you like track and field, there is a whole bunch of it headed your way Saturday night. Of course, it's mostly track, as the field event types aren't quite yet in full gear.
With the Great Southwest Classic Indoor moved safely into January out out of harm's way with respect to the NMAA outdoor season, participation has taken a big spike. But it's not all coming from New Mexico...
Substantial contingents are coming from Durango, Alamosa, and Broomfield, Colorado, along with scatterings of entries from other parts of the Centennial State as well.
And, speaking of Centennial, the crew from the high school by that name in Nevada is coming into town as well. Also filling up hotel space from points west are the groups from Chandler and Arizona Dynamite. And, another substantial group is making their way up out of Brownwood, Texas.
And, that's just the groups! The individuals coming are beyond counting.
A quick glance over the highlights of the meet upcoming reveals the following:
- a whopping 51 entries in the girls 200, several of whom are capable of running in the 25s. Could we see a 24-something? Very possibly so! In fact, three of the entries from Teekay Track Club out of Los Angeles are seeded as 24-somethings. It might be good to lay down a layer of fire retardant on the Mondo before things get going.
- We've already mentioned the Centennial club out of Las Vegas, but club member Jackson Carter is seeded at 1:54.6 for the 800. He maybe doesn't hit that mark at this early stage in the season, but it's a fast track and an atmosphere sure to be flowing with adrenaline, so who knows?
- Maddy Price is coming in out of Menlo, California, for the 400. She's a certified sub-55 quarter miler.
- There are 36 boys entered in the 1600, including a 4:25-at-altitude entry from Colorado in the person of Ethan Gonzales. There will be plenty of fast guys coming in to push the pace for the more local stars.
- Dajour Braxton's (photo, right, by Alan Versaw) 9:22 3200 time just dares anyone in the field to go out with him early.
- Megan Goettl and Sydney Badger come into the girls 1600 looking for something under 5-flat
- Zane Vanderberg brings a current-season indoor mark of 48.88 into the 400.
- Justin Marcum and Matthew Gomez make for a pair of 14-foot pole vaulters to trade off marks during the evening.
- Shannon Maloney brings down an 800 time with a little bite to it from Durango.
And, of course, there will be plenty of early looks at many of New Mexico's top track and field athletes as well. It would take a long time to list them all, but here are just a few:
- Aztec's Sarah Root will be setting up for the 60 meter hurdles, long jump, and triple jump. She figures to take up space on the back seat and sleep well on the way home.
- Onate's Meghan Aguilera starts out her 2014 campaign with an 800.
- Mark Haywood of Alamogordo takes on a certified-fast fields in the 60 and 200.
- Michaiah Chock will be taking her usual 400 meter race down to 200 meters for the start of the season.
- Among the guys taking on Ethan Gonzales in the 1600 will be Brett Fenton and Colin Hemez. Hemez figures to own a little name-and-face recognition coming into this one on account of his recent recognition as the Gatorade runner of the year for New Mexico, 2014.
- Carisma Lovato and Noel Prandoni has the look of a very nice season-opening matchup in the 3200.
- And, finally, Volcano Vista high jumper Lindsey Larsen figures to raise the bar at the high jump venue.
All the action can be found Saturday evening at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Bib pickup starts at 3 PM and meet action at 6 PM. At one time, there were indications the meet might be over by 9 PM, but that's not looking so likely right now. With the number of heats that will have to be run in some of these events, you may be getting a whole lot more for the price of a ticket that you were anticipating.