Santa Fe Prep’s Colfax hurdles her way to state record, four titles
ALBUQUERQUE — Sam Sparks knew what Hayden Colfax was going to do before the rest of the state did Saturday morning.
The two teammates of the Santa Fe Prep track and field team exchanged texts Friday before the State Track and Field Championships at Great Friends of UNM Track Complex. Sparks informed the junior of something she already knew — the state record in the Class 3A girls triple jump.
“She was like, ‘Yeah, I know. It’s going down,’ ” Sparks said.
And down it went a day later, as Colfax used her second jump in the finals to produce the 37-foot,
103/4-inch record that broke the previous mark by
7 inches. It was just the start to a momentous day for Colfax, who essentially carried the Blue Griffins to a spot on the state podium with 291/2 of Santa Fe Prep’s 43 points. It was good enough for third place in the 3A standings.
While St. Michael’s came within four points of winning its first girls state title in 12 years in the 3A meet, the day belonged to Colfax and her whirlwind performance in a 21/2-hour span. After winning the triple jump, she raced over to the high jump pit before moving to the track for the 100-meter hurdles.
After winning that race in 15.28 seconds, she went back to the high jump and took top honors by clearing 5 feet. Then, she circled back to the starting line for the 100-meter run, where she held off a determined Anayee Carlos from Dexter by a 12.78-12.84 margin.
Colfax had four first-place medals, a state record and 28 points.
She elected not to take the rest of her attempts in the high jump, settling for her winning mark after making one attempt at 5-2. Colfax said she learned from previous state meets about the importance of managing her body through several events.
“My coach [former head coach and current assistant Tove Shere] gets after me for that,” Colfax said. “I’ve encountered a few injuries over the past high school years. Right when I need that rest and I don’t take it, my body makes me take it.
“So this year, I worked really hard on resting when I need to, and my coach helped me with that. It created the best state for me.”
It also created the best state for the Blue Griffins, as Colfax took the baton for the anchor leg of the 1,600 relay with Prep needing to finish behind Tularosa to nab third place in the team standings. She was in fifth place when she took the baton, but passed Zuni and St. Michael’s to finish in third place — behind Tularosa.
Prep beat the Lady Wildcats 43-41 for the green trophy and gave first-year head coach Douglas Turco a matching pair of third-place trophies, along with the boys team.
“She is the consummate competitor,” Turco said. “We put a lot of eggs in her basket, and she carries us all the time. That’s why she’s an anchor. She wanted to run that 4-by-, and the girls wanted to go for it.”
Escalante’s Whitaker wins 100 hurdles title
Always a 100 hurdles contender, never quite a champion — until now. Hailey Whitaker built a reputation as one of the better small-school hurdlers in the state, but the senior only had one state title to show for it — in the 300 hurdles in 2017. She could have been a two-time defending state champion if not for a fall last year over the final hurdle that relegated her to runner-up.
When Whitaker crossed the finish line in the 100 hurdles in first, she felt a sense of vindication and relief that had been building for a year, and broke down crying with joy after the win. Whitaker said it was the culmination of all the hard work she put in during her career at Escalante.
“Day in and day out, I’ve been grinding,” Whitaker said. “I have. It’s not like I’ve been coming out here and winging it. I worked hard, and last year was such a disappointment, I wanted to go out in my senior year with a bang. I’ve been wanting this so bad.”
Vindication continued in the 300 hurdles, as she won with a time of 47.93 seconds, beating Estancia’s Priscilla Padilla by 0.78 seconds.
Lady Horsemen falter
It was almost a blue-lettered day for the St. Michael’s program The girls team held a 64-62 lead over Albuquerque Sandia Prep heading into the 1,600 relay after Violet Eklund nabbed fifth place in the 3A 3,200.
Needing to finish behind the Lady Sundevils in the final race for a tie and a share of the state title, the Lady Horsemen watched Sandia Prep and Tularosa runners steadily pull away over the final two laps.
Dominguez runs away from 3,200 pack
Pecos won a cross-country title in November but lacked a signature distance win in the 2A meet. Leave it to Vanessa Dominguez, the sophomore who led the way to a title in the fall, to pick up the mantle in the spring.
She bolted away from a tight pack at the midway point of the 3,200, and pulled away to win the race in 12:19.38. She finished 16.21 seconds faster than Maggie Rittmeyer of Academy for Technology and the Classics.
“I just wanted to stay in front and keep the pace,” Dominguez said. “Just concentrate on the race and run with your heart. I think they all thought I was going to die out. I was like, ‘I’m feeling strong. I got this.’ ”
Robertson’s Darley runs for fun, wins 400
Alianza Darley is used to pressure, having been the best player on Las Vegas Robertson’s volleyball and basketball teams. That was noticeably absent in the spring, and Darley enjoyed it.
She hadn’t competed on the track team since she was a freshman, but Darley decided to give it one more try before she heads to the University of Texas-El Paso to play volleyball. She didn’t expect to add one more accomplishment to her prep career — the 3A champion in the 400 meters.
Darley won it in 1:01.37, besting East Mountain’s Kaylee Baker by 0.81.
“[Robertson head coach Adam Martinez] was like, ‘Just come out and help the girls with the relays,’ ” Darley said. “I was like, ‘OK.’ I did the  open as a freshman, so I figured I’d do it again.”