ALBUQUERQUE — No one shined brighter at the state track championships today in Albuquerque than Navajo Prep's Martinique Larvingo.
The Prep junior swept the hurdles events in 4A, winning the 100 hurdles in 16.24 seconds and the 300 hurdles in 47.28.
But the wins didn't come without adversity.
Larvingo competed in the triple jump at the championships, but struggled to get her timing right.
"In the triple, I started to get tight. I wasn't relaxed or having fun," Larvingo said. "My coach came over and told me, 'Relax. Have fun. If you make the podium, you make it, and if you don't, don't worry about it."
As she began to relax and enjoy herself, Larvingo hit a season-best mark of 35 feet, 1.75 inches. But that sense of being at ease was short lived, because within a couple of minutes of wrapping up the triple jump, Larvingo needed to be in the blocks to start the 300 hurdles.
Immediately after finishing the triple jump, Larvingo ran across the field to register for the 300 hurdles. Then she ran to the podium for the presentation for her sixth-place finish in the triple jump and back to the starting blocks for the 300 hurdles.
"When I was finishing the triple jump I heard them make first call for the 300. I finished (the triple) and, luckily, one of my coaches helped me check in," Larvingo said. "We were at the podium, and it was taking a while, and I looked over and saw the girls sitting there for the 300."
As time ticked away and she waited to get over to the start of the 300, her nervous energy allowed some negative thoughts to creep into her head.
"I started thinking, 'My feet hurt, my legs are tired,' just a lot of negative thoughts and doubts. But I told myself that I had to stop," she said. "I started telling myself that I could push harder and to run hard for the last race of the season."
Through the first 100 meters of the race, Larvingo found herself even with the rest of the field, but as the runners began to make the turn for the final 200, she made her move and pulled ahead.
Coming into the straightaway, Larvingo had a step on her closest competitor and turned her focus to finishing the race.
"Coming out of the triple (jump), my legs were a little tired. I really had to dig down and fight with everything that I had," Larvingo said. "I really wanted it and ran with heart, and it paid off when I crossed the finish line."
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.