FARMINGTON — As Kiara Quezada continues to surpass her own personal records in the pole vault, the reality of how close she is to obtaining the state record is setting in.
She catapulted to her best performance at 12 feet event in Monday’s Marilyn Sepulveda Meet of Champions in Albuquerque, eclipsing her previous mark of 11-7 set at state last May. And now she’s just five inches away from becoming the state record holder in the event.
“I definitely feel it (coming). I’m just hoping to get it at state,” Quezada said. “It’s super exciting. It’s surreal. It just feels like a dream.”
Quezada said she’s worked on making her back leg completely straight and extending both arms out more to set up a taller plant with her pole.
“It just makes you more explosive,” Quezada said.
From there, she’s adjusting her hip movements to lunge face down rather than face up.
Quezada said the changes allow her to push out further over the bar and gain that extra bit of height in the process.
"You've got to steal every inch you can get," coach Jeff Dalton said. "(Based on) the physics of the body, you can bend when you're facing the bar. She can wrap over the bar more effectively."
Former Eldorado pole vaulter Lauren Martinez set the current record of 12-4 back in 2015.
Quezada, who eyes three straight state championships in the event, still has the next couple weeks plus the 2020 season to potentially become the new record holder.
“The sooner I can get it, the better,” Quezada said. “I didn’t think (my progress) was going to be this quick. Last year when I jumped 11 (feet at state), that’s when it started hitting me like ‘I’m pretty close to these records. I can get them.’”
Every time Quezada keeps ascending from one mark to the next, it keeps pushing her more and more to finally break the record.
"It comes down to heart and drive, and she's second to none when it comes to that," Dalton said. "She's just a competitor, and it's a privilege to see."
Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.