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NM stars face national luminaries at Great Southwest meet

There was no burning reason for Jordan Byrd to show up and run in the elite 100-meter dash in Saturday’s 43rd Annual Great Southwest Track and Field Classic Saturday at the University of New Mexico complex.

Except competitive spirit.

Just weeks away from his first day of football practice for San Diego State, Byrd said he wanted to have some fun. “Especially this being my last meet,” he said.

Byrd, who helped Manzano win a state football title in the fall and capped a brilliant track and field career with a state-record winning time in the 100 meters in the spring, finished third overall in 10.50 seconds. That was the same time he ran in taking the Class 6A state title last month.

Kirtland Central’s Kambree Pierro clears the last hurdle in the 100-meter high hurdles final Saturday. (Jim Thompson/Journal)

Byrd nearly matched his second-place time at this meet from a year ago (10.47), although he wasn’t particularly pleased with what could be his swan song.

Byrd’s focus is football, but he would be interested in continuing a track and field career on the collegiate level. Unfortunately, San Diego State does not have an outdoor track and field team.

“Things happen, and you can have good days and you may have bad days,” Byrd said after stepping off the podium. “I think I came out of the blocks last … I tried to make it up.”

Byrd showed his explosive mid-race acceleration to place in the top three, but no one was catching 2018 national leader Anthony Schwartz of Florida.

Schwartz crossed the finish line in 10.09 seconds, a new wind-legal meet record. Schwartz’s time is also the fourth-fastest all-time mark in the high school ranks.

Byrd had a perfect view of Schwartz from about five meters back. “It was pretty cool,” he said.

One of the golden boys of this past year’s New Mexico state track and field meet, Jonah Vigil of Taos, made his foray into national elite competition in his specialty race, the 400-meter dash.

Seeded among the top six, Vigil, a senior-to-be, was considered a dark horse amongst a field that included Sean Burrell of Louisiana, the third-ranked runner in the country.

Vigil did not display his typical full-race consistency, and he struggled over the final 60 meters, finishing fourth in 47.97 seconds – over a second above his previous-best time.

Before taking the podium for the awards, Vigil slumped to the ground and was down for 15 minutes as on-site medical personnel attended to him.

After taking fluids, Vigil sat up, and eventually walked off the track under his own power. Scheduled to run on New Mexico’s 1,600-meter relay later in the evening, Vigil was ruled out of any further competition.

MEET RECORDS: Albuquerque Academy’s state champion javelin thrower, Teagun Glenn, ran into some stiff competition in the first scored event of the day Saturday morning.

The top three finishers all eclipsed the 200-foot mark including a meet-record 229-feet, 8-inch heave by 2018 national leader Tzuriel Pedigo of Louisiana.

Pedigo already had the top spot locked up when he closed his meet with a record toss. It broke the previous record by exactly eight feet, set eight years ago by Texas’ Devin Bogert.

Glenn placed seventh with a throw of 178 feet, 6 inches.

KC Lightfoot of Missouri established a meet record in the pole vault, breaking fellow Show-Me-State resident Christopher Nilsen’s two-year-old mark. Lightfoot cleared 18 feet, 3¾ inches, just three-quarters of an inch above Nilsen’s previous mark.

NM’S BEST OF THE REST: Jackson Kinney of Hobbs, the 6A state champion, claimed the only individual New Mexico field event title on Saturday. Kinney cleared 6 feet, 9¾ inches in the high jump to edge Chris Banks of Oklahoma. … Piedra Vista graduate and recent New Mexico Highlands University scholarship signee, Hannah Sayyeau, finished a solid second in the girls’ javelin. Sayyeau’s runner-up toss reached 130 feet, 3 inches. … Eldorado 2018 graduate Peter Keller made a late-race push in the 800 meters, finishing second in 1:56.93 seconds.

TOP PERFORMANCES: Texas representative Emily Sloan doubled up in the hurdles for the second straight year, winning the 100- and 300-meter hurdles in 13.54 and 41.10 seconds, respectively. … Arria Minor of Denver, Colo., arguably the top 400-meter sprinter in the country, repeated her winning performance from a season ago, finishing in 52.50 seconds. Minor let up at the finish line, otherwise, she may have bested her meet-record time of 52.38 seconds set a season ago.

Click here for meet results.

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