For the past month, Terrell Trantham has been going through a crash course in nine of the 10 events he will be competing in Thursday and Friday at the Great Southwest Classic track and field meet at the University of New Mexico Track and Field Complex in Albuquerque.
Trantham, a hurdler and part-time relay runner for the Belen High School track and field team, is competing in his first decathlon and has been working with Eagle head coach Jim Edwards in an attempt to learn a semester’s worth of events in a month.
“It was like a cram session,” Trantham said. “I would learn three events a day, and, sometimes, I’d practice on the weekends. It’s definitely a challenge, but I’m always up for a challenge.”
The decathlon is a two-day event which is made up of 10 different events. Athletes accumulate points for their performance in each event. The points leader at the end is the overall winner.
Each athlete will compete in the 100-meter dash, the long jump, the shot put, the high jump and the 400-meter dash on Thursday. On Friday, the athletes will compete in the 110-meter high hurdles, the javelin, the pole vault, the discus and the 1500-meter run.
Because Trantham was a hurdler, he expects that the running events may be his stronger events. But he said that he is a pretty well-rounded athlete and should do well overall.
“I’ve set goals for myself in each event and added up the score,” Trantham said. “I’m shooting for a point total between 5,500 and 6,000.”
Trantham is not the only one who has faith in his abilities. His coach in football and in track during the regular season, Kevin Benavidez, thinks he can do well in this event.
“This is new for him, but it may be something he will want to do later, in college,” Benavidez said. “He is really a great athlete and should do well.”
Despite his optimism, Trantham did admit to having some problems in learning the new events.
“The high jump was by far the hardest event for me to learn,” Trantham said. “The pole vault was hard too, but the high jump was still the hardest.”
The junior will not only have to deal with the difficulty of learning nine new events but will also be going against five-event state champion Dan Feldman from Deming. Feldman broke the state record in the long jump and the triple jump at the state track and field meet two weeks ago.
The field also includes top athletes from surrounding states.
Also competing at the meet will be four-time state shot put champion Jace Rivera. Rivera, who also won a state title in the discus this year, will compete in both the shot put and discus.
The competition will be tough, and the event itself is one of the most physically demanding at the meet. But Trantham is undaunted going into the meet.
“I am really trying to get the feel of the event, but I want to be competitive,” Trantham said. “I really think I can be a competitor.”