Manzano High School’s senior sprinter finally caught the record he’d been chasing for four years. Byrd raced through a slight headwind and equaled Bobby Newcombe’s state record in the 100-meter dash during the Class 4A-6A State Track and Field Championships at the University of New Mexico complex.
It was the fourth consecutive 100-meter title for Byrd, but this one brought an extra bright smile.
“That’s a lot of pressure off my back,” Byrd said. “For four years people have been asking me, ‘Are you gonna get the record?’ It feels good, but I’m really glad it’s over.”
The record-setting run was a bit confusing as the stadium scoreboard initially posted his 100 time at 10.40 seconds – a full tenth better than Newcombe’s mark set in 1997. But the official meet timers soon informed Byrd that his actual time was 10.50, equaling Newcombe’s overall state standard.
“That’s OK,” Byrd said. “It’s still the record.”
It was part of a dazzling day for Byrd, who has signed to play football at San Diego State. He also overcame a big deficit down the stretch to help Manzano win the 4×200 relay, helped the Monarchs edge Clovis in the 4×100 relay and won his third career 200-meter title going away in 22.21 seconds.
It was not all good news for Byrd, however.
“Seriously, someone stole my shoes today – my flats,” he said. “My mom had to go get me some new ones. Crazy.”
Byrd was hardly the only big story in the boys meet, however. Here are some of Saturday’s other highlights.
CLASS 6A: Volcano Vista’s Jericho Cleveland pulled off the distance trifecta, adding 800- and 3,200-meter titles to the 1,600 championship he won Friday and taking high-point individual honors. Cleveland said the strong track finish helped him shake off a “disappointing” cross-country season.
“It’s so great to be able to do this,” he said. “By the 3,200 I was really just content to race for the win, no records or anything. I’m satisfied.”
Rio Rancho hurdler Noah Fay dominated both the 110- and 300-meter distances. His 110 time (14.57 seconds) was nearly a half-second better than that of runner-up Samuel Kress of Volcano Vista.
Michael Honigmann of Hobbs also secured two gold medals, winning the discus and shot put competitions.
Manzano’s Isaac Cole prevailed in the 400 meters and ran legs of his team’s winning 4×100 and 4×200 relays, helping the Monarchs to a sixth-place finish.
But Cleveland High School capitalized on an impressive pack approach to win its third straight team title and six in seven years. Garrett Wade’s win in the javelin was the Storm’s only individual title, but Cleveland racked up enough placement points to outdistance second-place Volcano Vista 89-58.
CLASS 5A: No one had a better individual day than Artesia’s Kale Mauritsen, who earned victories in the pole vault, 110- and 300-meter hurdles and ran a leg in his team’s victorious 4×200 relay. The junior also finished fourth in the 200 to take high-point honors with 26.5.
Mauritsen had three top-five event finishes in 2017 but did not capture a title. Still, his stellar 2018 performance did not exceed Mauritsen’s expectations.
“Not really,” he said. “I’ve worked really hard, especially on pole vault and the 300, so I thought I could do well. I’m probably happiest about the 300 (a winning time of 38.28 seconds), though. I was close to my season-best time (38.20), and I ran really well.”
Academy grabbed its fourth consecutive boys title and 12th since 2002. Lucas Jepsen added a triple-jump crown to the long-jump title he won Friday, Teagun Glenn won a javelin championship and the Chargers capped the meet in style with a win in the 4×400 relay. Jepsen ran the anchor leg.
“(Jepsen) told me he didn’t know if he could do it because his hamstrings were sore,” Academy senior Tomas Lujan said. “I told him I had faith in him and would do my best to help get him a lead. That’s what we did and it was awesome. I love these guys.”
CLASS 4A: Taos junior Jonah Vigil capped his remarkable meet with wins in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter sprints to go along with a 4×100 relay victory. Vigil also won the long jump Friday, but he watched nervously as his teammates wrapped up the team title by edging second-place Silver in the 4×400 relay – the meet’s final race.
“I was dying in the 400,” said Vigil, the meet’s high-point male scorer with 30.6 points. “But I was up on my toes watching that last relay. That was tough, but what a great day.”
Taos rode its talented sprint corps to a fifth straight team championship with 81 points, while Silver finished with 75.
Hope Christian’s Vince Quezada earned one of the closest victories of the day, edging Robertson’s Arjay Ortiz by three-hundredths of a second in the 110-meter hurdles. Ortiz got redemption later by winning the 300-meter hurdles.