Confidence key for two state champions

By Sunnie Clahchischiligi
Special to the Times

ALBUQUERQUE, May 23, 2013

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(Special to the Times – Curtis Ray Benally)

TOP: Kirtland Central's Christian Mackey took home two state titles at the 2013 New Mexico Class 4A State Track and Field Championships. Mackey won the shot put event with a throw of 54-feet-1 and the discus event with a personal best of 156-feet-6.

SECOND FROM TOP: Marissa Alcon of Bloomfield sets a new state record in girls 3A pole vault with a height of 10-feet-3 at the 2013 New Mexico State Track and Field Championships on Saturday.

C onfidence can go a long way – just ask Kirtland Central's Christian Mackey and Bloomfield's Marissa Alcon.

Both captured state titles in the field events during the New Mexico state track meet held May 17-18 at the University of New Mexico Track and Field Complex in Albuquerque.

Mackey won two state titles in the boy's discus and shot put in Class 4A while Alcon earned her title in the girls pole vault event in Class 3A.

Mackey qualified for the state meet in both events for the last two years. Last year he placed second in shot put and fourth in discus.

Mackey threw a 54-feet-1 to seal the win for the shot put title and a 156-feet-6 in the discus throw.

The 16-year-old junior said his performance all season long gave him the confidence he needed to compete.

"It was a lot of momentum coming into shot put," he said. "I felt pretty confident."

Mackey said his only bump in his road to the state championships was his performance during the District 1-4A meet.

He said he didn't throw very well and didn't put much work into it and the results showed.

"I think I was just over confident," he said. "I really didn't practice that week because I thought it was easy but my competition isn't very easy out here."

Mackey opened up his state finals in discus with a throw of 147 feet, which was a personal best.

Eric Hopper, a Kirtland track and field coach, said Mackey started the year off throwing about 120-feet but has been building up and he peaked at the right time.

Hopper said Mackey placed third for the first time during the district meet, but was determined to finish the season strong at the state level.

Mackey, who also plays basketball and football, said when it comes to track and field the shot put is his better event.

"It's a little more easy for me, discus was coming pretty comfortable this year but shot put is my favorite," he confessed.

Hopper said last year Mackey's second-place finish was mostly due to mechanics. He said Mackey had a hard time staying in the ring and it cost him a title.

"Here at state I told him we're going to set here, we're going to work on that, so we worked hard … " he said. "That was our main priority."

And it helped.

Mackey started off the season with little to no trouble staying in the ring and threw better at the beginning of this season compared to how he finish at the state level last season.

"It feels amazing," he said. "My mom is a good supporter and I just thank her, it feels great for all the people that support me, especially my coaches."

Hopper said Mackey deserves all the praise he can get. He said the young athlete put in the hard work and was easy to coach. Mackey still has one more year to compete and said he is looking forward to it.

Alcon, a senior at Bloomfield High School qualified for the state meet since she was a freshman, but had never won a state title until now.

Alcon competed for Bloomfield twice in class 3A and twice in class 4A. She placed fourth as a freshman, she didn't place as a sophomore and she placed sixth as a junior.

She said thanks to the confidence from her coaches she is now a state champion.

"My amazing coaches, I appreciate them, they're amazing, the other athletes pushing me to be better," she said. "I just wanted to set an example for the younger kids that are coming up into pole vault."

Alcon cleared 10-feet-3, breaking her school's record two inches and the state record by one inch.

Finishing just behind her was teammate and junior Louisa Maestas, who cleared nine feet.

Alcon said she cleared her personal best at the state meet with a 9-feet-6 jump and that gave her enough to seal the win.

"I knew that after 9-6 I already had the state title and I was like, 'You know what? I'm going to make this better. I'm going to take the state record,'" she said. "I'm going to take the school record, that was my goal."

"It feels amazing," she said. "I'm actually kind of speechless … I have a feeling like tomorrow I'm going to wake up and say I'm a state champ then it will finally kick in.

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