Mia Roy is part of an exceptional crop of New Mexico 300 hurdlers coming back this spring.
In terms of population, New Mexico ranks 36th in the nation--a little ahead of Nebraska in 37th, but still a long way back from Kansas in 35th. As such, you're not going to find as many high school track and field meets with events brimming over with top-tier talent the way you would in, say, neighboring Texas. There just isn't the population base to support that kind of phenomenon.
That's not, however, to say there aren't nice pockets of talent to be found around the Land of Enchantment. And that's what this article is about--those nice pockets of talent. Where they're found varies some from year to year, depending on several factors. None of those factors, however, are more important than the presence of two or three exceptional athletes who create their a rising tide to float a few boats in addition their own (please forgive the use of a maritime example in a land-locked state :-) ).
There is, however, at least one event where New Mexico is perennially strong. In a nation where on 18 states--and precious few of them states in the upper half of population--sanction the javelin, New Mexico's javelin presence is almost always felt.
New Mexico's top male javelin thrower stands alone in a crowd. Teagun Glenn nipped at the edges of 200 feet last spring and should surpass it this spring. Behind him are a cluster of 160-somethings, led by Clovis's Jaylen Mason at 166-3. Altogether, though, seven guys who should be back this year threw somewhere between 160 and 170 last year.
Not all of them will make the next step up this spring, but probably a handful will. And they will be fun to watch. Stay tuned to see who that will be.
On the girls side, the leader board belongs to Kaylee Hickman of small-school Cloudcroft. Hickman figures to be back for more this spring. But, she'll have competition from Sterling Glenn and Nia Johnson of Albuquerque Academy, Ajia Hughes (also) of Cloudcroft, and Serena Rodriquez of Carlsbad. There are also several not far behind the leaders, raising the spectre of a banner year for girls javelin if things go well.
Girls High Jump
Didn't we just mention Ajia Hughes? Well, she's the top-ranked returner in the high jump this year at 5-6. That's two inches ahead of second, but we know that the fortunes of the high jump vary some from week to week. A blowout at a meet one week may come back the next week at a different meet with a very tight contest between largely the same competitors. But, Hughes is definitely a top-flight high jumper and figures to lift the prospects for the rest of the field by her presence. She figures to be a bona fide presence at any meet where she is high jumping.
One trouble here is that, owing to the geographic spread of these athletes and disparate classifications, they may not see a whole lot of one another this spring. And that's a shame, because a little synergy could help things along here.
There is, however, a small flotilla of athletes who hit 5-2 last year. Their combined presence may help to stir the synergistic embers.
Jordan Byrd aside, New Mexico isn't always known for being deep in the 100. This year, however, could be different.
Connor O'Toole comes back with a 10.70 under his belt. Not only is that fast, but it was wind legal, too. He's the somewhat prohibitive favorite to rule the roost again this spring. But, Ceazer Chavez of Deming and Andrue Garcia of Los Lunas also come back with times under 11 seconds. Garcia's time was also wind legal. Chavez's mark had no wind reading, so we can only guess.
That gives us a critical mass of very fast characters. There's another wave not far behind. And they were all juniors last year, so they have one more year of speed development under their belts this year. You may not want to be caught blinking when they fire the gun for the boys 100.
Boys Triple Jump
Yes, the triple jump is an event where wind readings matter. But, it's hard to fool anyone in the triple jump, even if there is a big wind blowing behind you. One, if the big wind is blowing, it's likely to blow you right on over the line. Two, if you can't triple jump well in the first place, wind doesn't help matters any.
So, to some degree at least, you can largely dismiss wind readings from high school triple jump discussions.
Brad Thomas of La Cueva comes back this year with a 46-4 best mark from last year. Doesn't matter who you are, that's a good mark.
Kayden Gonzalez of Farmington is the only other one coming back with a triple in excess of 45 feet last spring. Thomas and Gonzalez, unfortunately, don't figure to see a lot of each other this spring. The match-up would be fun to watch.
But, Lucas Aspen All-Stier (Albuquerque Academy) and Harlen Gilbert (Alamogordo) should also both be back at over 44 feet. Five more come back at over 43 feet. All that gives us a lot to look forward to in the triple jump this spring.
Girls 300 Hurdles
The highly competitive end of this event may not go beyond three deep, but it should be exciting even so even if it does go only three deep. All three are Albuquerque-area athletes and all three come back off of years that saw them dip into the 44s. Why not 42s and 43s this year?
The athletes in question are Hannah Kiess of Cleveland, Mia Roy of Sandia, and Sevilla Duran of Sandia Prep. We can hope for a three-way match-up or two this spring. Should those match-ups come together, we may have to throw some water down to cool the track.
Someday, high school track will go to 400 meter hurdles, but this will be a good year for 300 hurdles even so.
Before I leave here for the week, it's worth noting that this weekend is the first weekend of the season of actual meets within the borders of New Mexico. A very large share of the state's track and field programs will be in action. Let me take this opportunity to invite you to take and send photos. We're aiming for photos in a horizontal format, in action, and in school uniform. Send those to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, with crediting instructions and it just may happen your photo could be featured on one of next week's articles.