KC’s Yazzie comes back from injury, improves performance

Navajo Times | Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi 
After a rough couple of seasons filled with injuries, Kirtland Central sophomore LaKyla Yazzie is making a comeback in the distance running events in the track and field season. Yazzie is seconds away from qualifying for her third track and field state championships.


KIRTLAND

When LaKyla Yazzie started competing as a high school runner she couldn’t be stopped.

As an eighth grade cross-country and track-and-field runner she was bumped up to the varsity teams and lit a fire under her older competitors.

She was young, fast, and had lots of time to get even better, but her path took a turn for the worse her freshman year. She suffered patellar tendentious and later a foot injury that shook her confidence.

“It was just my mentality,” she said. “After my injuries I was really put down and things were running inside my head. I just worked positively and worked on myself individually, helped get myself back up there.”

One track-and-field season and two cross-country seasons later, Yazzie, now a sophomore, has moved from the back of the pack close to the front, where she said she’s most comfortable.
She has yet to qualify in her four events for the 2017 season but she’s close.

Yazzie competes in the 800-meter run, 1600-meter run, 3200-meter run and throws the javelin.

She’s had at least three first-place finishes this season but is more excited about her improved performance.

“It feels really good,” she said. “Everyone was making fun of me saying, ‘Oh, look, she’s slow,’ and now I’m back to where I am and they can’t say anything now.”

Kirtland Central girls’ coach Leland Adair said, considering everything Yazzie went through in her young career, she’s making a comeback.

“She’s a miracle child,” he said. “She’s a tough kid. Just barely starting speed work but it feels like she’ll get nothing but better and better and better. She’ll peak at the right time.”


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Categories: Track & Field

About Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at sunnie@navajotimes.com.