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Already in a Class of Greatness

GREG SORBER/JOURNAL ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia Prep sophomore Krista Armstead has the top time in the metro area in four events, including the 300-meter hurdles.

Sandia Prep sophomore Krista Armstead has a ‘fabulous’ future


Stacey Price’s roster of protégès is long and rather distinguished. Maybe some of the names might ring a bell – Donita Harmon, Tressi Richardson, Jenna Glidden.


Curtis Beach.

But 38 years in as a coach of sprinters and hurdlers, the 56-year-old Price finds himself searching for the proper perspective on his latest star pupil.

“For anybody as young as Krista is,” he said, “she’s the best I’ve ever seen. And I’ve been doing this a long time.”

Learn the name: Krista Armstead. She’s a 15-year-old from Rio Rancho who is a sophomore at Sandia Prep.

And her bullet points are attention grabbers.

• Earlier this month, she was in Arlington, Texas, for the U.S. Youth Olympic Trials. She placed third in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles, and her time in that event is ninth best in the country this year.

• About a week later, she became the first athlete – boy or girl – to enter and win three individual running events at the all-star Marilyn Sepulveda Invitational. That included a meet record in the 200.

• Armstead holds the top time in the metro area (all inclusive) in four events: the 300 hurdles, the 100, the 200 and 400. And she’s posted the second-fastest time in the 100 high hurdles.

“I’m really blessed to have this gift,” said Armstead.

Price accepted that notion, but ratcheted it up a notch.

“I can see some fabulous things for her,” said Price, who is Armstead’s sprints/hurdles coach with the Sundevils. “National, fabulous things. She is that talented.”

Cleveland High’s loss certainly was Sandia Prep’s gain.

She is the second-oldest of five siblings, and two of her sisters also attend Sandia Prep. Armstead came rather late to track and field. Someone noticed how quick she was on a soccer pitch and suggested track.

“I knew I’d be good at it,” Armstead said, “but I didn’t know how far it would actually take me. I was always soccer, soccer, soccer. Then it shifted. I was made to do this.”

It took no time for Armstead to leave her imprint.

“The first time we saw her race,” Sandia Prep coach Janelle Johnson said, “She was running the third leg of the (400) relay. She got the baton, and I was like, `Oh … my … gosh. We’ve got something special.’ ”

Already, Armstead is the owner of school records in five events: 100, 200, both hurdles and the open 400.

Today, Armstead looks to claim the 300-meter hurdles title at the Albuquerque Metro Championships, which resume at 9 a.m. at Wilson Stadium. The meet was to end Friday, but was pushed back a day because of inclement weather Thursday.

Next month at state, Armstead will run the 100, 200 and both hurdles.

“I wouldn’t have thought last year that I would be doing all of this,” she said. “But it’s been great. And I hope it keeps getting better.”

Harmon, an outstanding sprinter for Eldorado a decade ago, and Richardson and Glidden, who excelled at sprints and hurdles, respectively, for Cibola in the mid-2000s, were three names Price dropped as he glowed about Armstead. Price also coached Beach, the Albuquerque Academy star now at Duke, in the hurdles.

“Krista, as it relates to sprints, is now where Donita was as a senior,” Price said. “She is really that good. That’s not hyperbole. Her times are justified.”

Price said her speed in the hurdles is comparable to any athlete of her age in the country. At her first meet for Sandia Prep, Armstead broke the school record in the 300 hurdles.

“She knows she’s very special,” Price said. “I’m certain of that.”