His trainer calls him the “face of the franchise”.
East High School junior Leyah Martinez is quickly becoming a household name on the track.
A hurdle, a sprinter and a long jumper, Martinez went to the freshman state in the 100 and 300 hurdles, finishing eighth in both. This season, her goals are much higher as she has added sprints and long jump to her repertoire.
She hopes to qualify for the state in three, maybe four events, the two hurdles and the 100 or 200 meters and the long jump.
“For both hurdles, I just know that if the top ranked girls keep pushing me, I can stick with them,” Martinez said. “Hopefully at least the top three or the state runner-up or the state champion.”
She ran the 100 for the first time in her career last Thursday in a five-team meeting at the Dutch Clark Stadium, winning a time of 12.98. This propelled her to 17th place in the state rankings. She is ranked fourth in the 100 hurdles and fifth in the 300 hurdles.
“I’m more used to hitting the stairs,” she said of the 100 for the first time. “In the 100, you don’t have time to catch up at all. If you’re wrong at all, you can’t get over it. He is straight and uses your arms and legs and goes as fast as you can. can. “
East coach Tony Valdez praises Martinez on and off the track.
“She’s the face of the franchise,” Valdez said. “With Leyah that’s what we want. She’s extremely motivated, works extremely hard, pays attention to detail and coachable. Put them together and you have a really good athlete.
“Plus, she’s great in the classroom and the carryover value of that is immeasurable.”
Martinez is constantly working on his technique.
“My technique is far from perfect,” she said. “I just want to keep improving from year to year.”
His best event?
“Obstacles,” she said. “I thought I would be stronger at 300 hurdles than at 100 hurdles, but I set a personal best at 100 the second time we met. My best time (at 100) is 15.34 seconds.
“It’s really satisfying. (My personal best) was at a competition where no one was next to me so I didn’t feel so pushed. I focused on my steps and worked. on my form instead of running fast between obstacles. “
Valdez believes Martinez’s work ethic gives him a leg up on other athletes.
“For her, practicing every day is a lot of challenges,” he said. “Doing obstacles at high speed without the other girls pushing her is difficult.
“She’s super athletic and very smart. She’s already made her marks in the hurdles and the spring and made her mark in the long jump. Doing all of these events proves how great an athlete she is.”
Martinez swam for the Eagles and played club football and plans to play football next fall.
His ambition is to go to university.
“I like Colorado Division II colleges like UC-Colorado Springs, Colorado State University Pueblo, and Colorado Mesa.” They have very good programs and UCCS has strong obstacle programs. It would be nice to be part of it. “
Jeff Letofsky, Senior Senior Sports Journalist, can be contacted by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @jeffletofsky