Perhaps what New Mexico women’s basketball coach Mike Bradbury doesn’t know is a good thing.
Friday, one of his prize recruits, Volcano Vista senior Jaelyn Bates, was throwing herself across the UNM Track & Soccer Complex – within sight of her soon-to-be-home at the Pit – with reckless abandon in the Class 4A-5A state track and field championships.
Bates won the Class 5A long jump state championship in something of an upset, sailing 18 feet, 4 inches to surpass pre-meet favorite Yvonne Stinson by nearly 10 inches.
She also was the top qualifier in the 200-meter dash and the second qualifier in the 300 hurdles.
“I’ve always loved long jump,” Bates said. “I did it my freshman year. I made it to state but I only got seventh. This year was like a good comeback and I finally got first.”
Although track initially was a good way to stay fit outside of basketball season, it turned into something more.
“It keeps me in shape. I normally do track just to have fun,” she said. “I usually do a lot of running stuff for basketball anyways, so it’s just like a fun thing to do something else. Once I saw that I was a lot better than I thought I would be, I honestly took it a little more seriously. I used to train a lot, and I did a lot of jumping and mobility stuff with my ankles. So I feel like that really prepared me for this.”
Not that she was too fired up to tell her new coach.
“Ah, no. I talked to him about my first track meets but I don’t think I mentioned I made state,” Bates said with a smile.
As for other notable performances, the Los Alamos girls 4×200 team erased one of the state’s older records, going 1 minute, 43.49 seconds in preliminaries, just ahead of Lovington’s 1984 mark of 1:43.79.
“I saw the time on the little (clock),” anchor runner Angelina Passalacqua said. “I was looking at it and I looked at the finish line and I was like, ‘Oh, it’s going to be so close.’ So I just started to go faster.”
The day’s only other record went to Cleveland’s Leah Futey, who finished the Class 5A 3,200 run in 11:00.15, almost a full second ahead of the 11:01.10 Albuquerque Academy’s Julia Foster put up in 2010.
“It wasn’t even on my mind,” Futey said of the mark. “I just went into the race trying to relax. Try to keep my cool because I feel like I run worse when I stress myself out too much. So I was just trying to relax and have fun. It’s pretty amazing.”
In the boys 1,600 run – the only other of two running finals Friday – 4A winner Rendon Kuykendall of Hope Christian and 5A champion Bahozhoni Church of Albuquerque High set personal bests with their winning times of 4:18.65 and 4:17.55, respectively.
Kuykendall had recovered from a mysterious ailment that hampered his training in midseason.
“I got sick earlier in the season so it’s been a tough recovery the whole time back, but it felt easy and felt controlled. Excited to run fast now,” he said. “We’re really not sure what it was, did every test possible and don’t know what it was. Respiratory and coughing issues for like two weeks afterward. So it might have been the flu is what we’re thinking. So it knocked me out of training for a bit.”
Church had to battle with frequent foe Steven West of Sandia, nearly conceding the race in the final lap.
“Steven started to pull away starting about 300 meters to go and for a split second I thought second place isn’t too bad,” he said. “But then, with 150 to go I had to snap out of it and just make a kick. I knew I had the energy and the legs to do it because I’ve trained for it. And I’ve trained to get that last kick and it just came into play.”
(Click here for access to individual results and team scores.)
STATE TRACK AND FIELD
Friday, UNM Track and FIeld Complex
Class 5A Boys
Through four events
1. Sue Cleveland 15; 2. Eldorado 9; 3. Alamogoro 8.5; 4. (tie) Sandia 8, Albuquerque High 8; 6. (tie) La Cueva 7, Farmington 7, Cibola 7; 9. Organ Mountain 5; 10. (tie) Volcano Vista 4, Rio Rancho 4; 12. Clovis 3. 13. Mayfield 2.50.
Class 5 A Girls
Through five events
1. (tie) Sue Cleveland 14, Rio Rancho 14; 3. Alamogordo 12; 4. Volcano Vista 9; 5. (tie) Carlsbad 8, Piedra Vista 8; 7. (tie) Clovis 7, Centennial 7; 9. (tie) Albuquerque High 6, Las Cruces 6; 11. Farmington 5; 12. Eldorado 4; 13. (tie) Santa Fe 3, La Cueva 3, Roswell 3; 16. Mayfield 1
Class 4A Boys
Through five events
1. ABQ Academy 25; 2. Los Alamos 21; 3. Hope Christian 19. 4. Artesia 15; 5. (tie) Ruidoso 5, Espanola Valley 5; 7. (tie) Aztec 4, Lovington 4, Miyamura 4; 10. Portales 3; 11. Pojoaque Valley 2; 12 (tie) Goddard 1, Valencia, Santa Teresa 1.
Class 4A Girls
Through four events
1. Los Alamos 26.50; 2. Albuquerque Academy 16; 3. Portales 10; 4. Silver 7; 5. Hope Christian 6.50; 6. Kirtland Central 5; 7. Goddard 4; 8. (tie) Valencia 3, Belen 3; 10. (tie) Highland 2, Bloomfield 2; 12. (tie) Valley 1, Artesia 2, St. Pius 2.