At the close of the first day of competition at the Great Southwest Classic track and field meet, Belen High School’s Terrell Trantham found himself at the bottom of the pack but right on pace to meet his own personal goal.

Trantham, who just finished his junior year at BHS, said he hoped to score between 4,500 and 5,000 points while competing in his first-ever decathlon Thursday and Friday at the University of New Mexico Track and Field Complex. At the end of the first day of competition, Trantham had amassed 2,345 points.

“He’s right on pace to get his 5,000 right now,” Trantham’s coach Jim Edwards said Friday morning. “There are a lot of great athletes in the group.”

Leading the pack after the first day was Deming’s Daniel Feldman. Feldman has accumulated over 3,800 points after the first five events. Feldman placed first in all five events in which he competed at the Class 4A state meet two weeks ago.

The meet showcases some of the best high school track and field athletes from Utah, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico.

The 6-foot, 170-pound Trantham said he had his work cut out for him on Friday, but he feels the second day is the more important of the two days (No results from Friday were available at News-Bulletin press time).

“The second day is where the difference will be,” Trantham said. “That’s where the endurance takes over.”

Trantham was to run his best event on Friday the 110-meter high hurdles.

In the five events that made up the first day’s action, Trantham was not satisfied with his performance.

“I set my expectations really high, which is a good thing,” he said. “I haven’t really fulfilled my expectations, but I think I just need to relax and have fun.”

Trantham started off the day with the 100-meter dash, which he ran in 12.41 seconds. He then leaped 16-8 3/4 in the long jump, threw the shot put 29-9, cleared 5-2 in the high jump and finished off the evening with a time of 57.25 seconds in the 400-meter dash at around 9 p.m. on Thursday night.

Trantham was most satisfied with his performance in the high jump. He said 5-2 was two inches better than he expected.

The second day of events included the 110-meter hurdles, the discus, the pole vault and the javelin, and the decathlon will wrap up with a 1500-meter distance run. Trantham is optimistic about the second day of competition, but also realizes the difficulty involved.

“I think I’ll do pretty well on the second day, but 1500 (meters) is a long way to run,” Trantham said.

Trantham received a little extra coaching in the discus and the shot put, eliciting help from Belen’s Jace Rivera, the Class 4A state champion in both events.

Rivera is also competing in the meet. Rivera won’t perform until Saturday. He will throw the shot put at 4 p.m. and the discus at 6 p.m.

Rivera set state records in both events at this year’s New Mexico State Track and Field Championships. He threw the shot 57-7 and the discus 171-9. His mark in the discus was a personal record, while his throw in the shot was nearly two feet short of his personal best.

Rivera also accomplished a rare feat, winning his fourth straight state title in the shot put.

Rivera is seeded fifth in the shot put and sixth in the discus.

“It’s a pretty tough field,” Rivera said, “but if I go out and have a decent day, I should be able to do pretty well.”

Rivera said he doesn’t expect to win, but his primary goal is to reach 60 feet in the shot put. “I hope I can get it, but I’ve been kind of off this week in practice, so I don’t know,” he said.

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Tony McClary