Teasyatwho's versatility helps power Aztec
- In her first time running the 300 hurdles, Teasyatwho posted the second fastest time in 5A.
- She didn't place outside the top 3 in the 100, 200, 400 or pole vault through her first three meets.
AZTEC — Naomi Teasyatwho has been nearly untouchable this season for the Aztec girls track team.
Through the first three meets of the season, the Aztec senior has piled up six first-place finishes in the 100 meters, the 200, 400 and pole vault, and hasn't finished outside the top three in any of those events.
A key factor in Teasyatwho's success, aside from natural talent, has been her work ethic and focus.
"She has a good work ethic, and she's worked hard to get where she is. She puts in the time in the weight room and the time to do all the little extra things you have to do," Aztec coach Anna Strauss said. "Her work is paying off for her."
Along with practicing with the team, Teasyatwho adds extra workouts, lifting weights and going for runs to keep up her endurance.
And during meets on the weekend, Teasyatwho is more dialed in than a lot of her competition.
"I try to focus just on running instead of everyone else and being social. A lot of people think of track as a social time to talk to everyone and hang out, but that's not what it is to me," Teasyatwho said. "You've been training and working all week long to go to your meet and participate in all of your events. I think you should be able to do them to the best of your ability, and you can't do that if you have distractions."
Last weekend at the Farmington Invitational, Teasyatwho competed in five events and piled up 25 of the Lady Tigers' 64 points, placing first in the 100 and 200, and second in the pole vault. She also placed fifth in the 100 hurdles and third in the 300 hurdles. Her time of 49.82 seconds in the 300 hurdles was the second-fastest time in 5A this season.
"That was the first time ever," Teasyatwho said of her taking part in the hurdles events. "My coaches want me qualifying (for state) in everything, and since I'm like 0.0-something (seconds) off of qualifying in all of my running events, they wanted to see if I was able to qualify in the hurdles. And I was 0.07 (seconds) from qualifying in the 300 (hurdles)."
To go with the No. 2 time in the 300 hurdles, this season Teasyatwho has posted the third-fastest time in 5A in the 200 and 400, ranks fifth in the 100 and second in the pole vault.
"She's very versatile. She can run the 100, 200, 400, 800. She pole vaults, long jumps and now we have her running the hurdles. She's just a good, multi-event athlete," Strauss said. "And she can be very successful in all of them."
While Teasyatwho already is posting results that rank near the top of the state, she and Strauss believe her best performances are yet to come — not only because it's early in the season, and they're expecting improvements in her technique, but because Teasyatwho also expects to have better results as she's pushed by tougher competition at larger meets this season.
The biggest test of the season came this weekend at the Nike Chandler Rotary Invitational in Chandler, Ariz.
Heading into the meet, Teasyatwho was excited about the prospect of seeing how she compares to some of the best girls in the West.
"There will be girls from Arizona, California, Nevada — it's going to tough competition, and I'm excited about it," she said. "I'll probably get my butt kicked, but it's going to be fun, especially because a lot of those girls are going to be going to college (for track), and I could be running against them."
In Chandler, Aztec competed in the seeded division of the meet, and Teasyatwho placed fourth in the 200 on Friday with a time of 26.86.
Aztec and Teasyatwho will compete at the Top Gun meet hosted by Aztec next weekend.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.