Adam Paz best triple jumper in the state of New Mexico
Only the top eight track and field performers in the state were invited to the Marilyn Sepulveda Invitational in Albuquerque, held April 15.
It is a 40-year-old event that includes track stars from all the New Mexico 1A through 5A schools.
It's no surprise that Adam Paz was among the participants for the triple jump at the invitational. In fact, Paz was the first one on the list to be called.
The Marilyn Sepulveda Invitational was held on the University of New Mexico track. Coaches Chuck Zimmerly and Scott Crespin, and Paz's parents were there. No Socorro male athlete had won the event in the last 10 years that track coach Cody Lee remembered.
"I was nervous, but I realized that I can compete once I set my mind to it," Paz said.
The previous winners of the invitational usually came from 5A schools.
Paz set two goals for the year back in January. One goal was to qualify for state on his first jump, and the other was to attend the Marilyn Sepulveda Invitational. He's already accomplished those goals.
"It felt good … last year my goal was to make the invitational, and this year I was the first one called," Paz said.
Lee added that he was informed 10 triple jumpers were chosen from around the state. Paz is number one in the state for the triple jump, and naturally, he was the first one called. Paz's best jump is 45.5 feet.
At the invitational, each participant got three jumps; thereafter, the top eight got three more for a total of six jumps. Paz's first jump was 44.3 feet, and he pretty much won the event then because no other contestant came close. His second jump was 33.5 feet, and his last jump was 44.6 feet, but Paz continued to jump to push himself further.
"I knew right away that he didn't have to jump anymore, but he did to improve his performance," Lee said. "He has competed with the big boys the last two years, and he took care of business that day."
Lee also went on to say that "it's an honor to get invited, but Adam cleaned house — he has won the triple jump for two consecutive years."
Paz has participated in track and field since he was a freshman. He started triple jumping his sophomore year, and at that time his best was 38 feet. His junior year he jumped 43 feet at the state track meet. As a senior, his best recorded jump so far is 45.5.5 feet, a seven-foot improvement in three years.
"That (the distance Paz has improved) just doesn't happen," Lee said.
The state track meet is in three weeks, and Paz will compete in five events: the high jump, long jump, triple jump, run hurdles and relay. Once again, he has set personal goals. He has his eye on achieving high point athlete for his team at the state track meet. The high point athlete has to earn 23 points, and no one from Socorro has ever clutched that honor.
"There's no telling how much he will improve. He's been putting in the extra work, and anything can happen … in track," Lee said.
Lee credits Crespin, Paz's jump coach, for helping push Paz to obtain his personal and team best. Together they will continue to work with Paz to help him obtain his high point athlete goal.
"We feel confident that Adam can obtain it," Lee said.
Paz has had offers from California, but he has his sights on jumping for the University of New Mexico.
"Adam can jump at a higher level because he's the type of kid that can do what he sets his mind to," Lee said.
Although college coaches can't contact Paz till after the season, they communicate with Lee. To be competitive at the collegiate level, Paz needs to be jumping at approximately 47 feet.
"If he attains that, he can jump for any college he wants to," Lee said.
This summer Paz will travel to the Australian Down Under Games and compete in the triple jump. He is fundraising to help meet expenses, and hopes the community will support those efforts.