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Grants freshman having breakout year

GRANTS, N.M.

Grants freshman Laila Martinez is looking to lower her times in three running events.

The long distance runner ran a personal-best of 11:43.00 in the 3200s at the 13th Annual Mike Pecos Invitational on March 11 at Bernalillo High School.

Courtesy | Lee Begaye Photos

Grants freshman Laila Martinez won a pair of races at the Grants Invitational on Saturday. Martinez has earned three state qualification for the Class 4A state meet.

Earlier this month, she set a new PR of 2:23.91 in the 800-meter run during the Marilyn Sepulveda Meet of Champions on April 10 at the UNM Track Complex.

At the recent Angelo DiPaolo Invitational, she dropped her time in the 1600-meter run by completing the four-lap ran race in 5:23.34 at the Miyamura hosted meet on April 15.

Those marks have earned Martinez three qualifications for next month’s 4A state track meet, which will be held May 12-13 at UNM.

“I’ve worked really hard during the offseason and I’ve lowered my times,” Martinez said of her breakout season. “I got qualified for the Wings of America team and I trained over the winter time. I didn’t have that much of a break, so that’s helped me out a lot.”

With those new marks, Martinez wants to set a new school record for all those running events.

“I’m three seconds off the 800, six seconds off the 1600 and 13 seconds off the 3200,” she said.

One of the record holders is her grandma, Darlene Salvador.

“She was pretty fast, so I’m just trying to beat her record in the 1600s,” Martinez said.

The Grants runner said she was blessed to have competed at the Sepulveda meet earlier this month as she ran all three races.

“It was nice because you had to be selected to run at that meet,” Martinez said. “I really liked it and it was good to experience for me.”

At the invitational-only meet, she placed second in the 800 and 1600 and she didn’t fare as well in the 3200.

“I burned out and I got sixth in the 3200,” Martinez said.

Martinez said the competition at the 4A level is pretty stacked with Los Alamos senior Emma Montoya leading the state in both the 1600 (5:12.67) and 3200 (11:18.19) according to nm.milesplit.com

In the 800, Montoya’s teammate, Anna Wetteland, has posted the fastest time of 2:21.52.

“It’s pretty much the same girls from cross country, but I’m further along than I was last fall,” she said. “I’ve really closed the gap on those girls.”

And while she doesn’t consider herself as a “very consistent” runner, Martinez believes she has the tenacity to finish each race strong.

“Sometimes I go out a little too fast and that kind of brings me down a little bit,” she said. “But I think I have a pretty good kick.”

At last Saturday’s Grants Invitational, Martinez showed her staying power by winning gold in both the 800 and 1600. She posted marks of 2:26.26 and 5:25.01.

The Pirates are scheduled to compete at the two-day Bloomfield Invitational on Friday and Saturday, followed by the District 5-4A meet on May 5 at St. Pius X in Albuquerque.


About The Author

Quentin Jodie

Quentin Jodie is the Sports Editor for the Navajo Times. He started working for the Navajo Times in February 2010 and was promoted to the Sports Editor position at the end of summer in 2012. Previously, he wrote for the Gallup Independent. Reach him at qjodie@navajotimes.com

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