Senior’s gold rush continues

Fort Sumner senior Sandy Fortner pulls away to win the 100 meters Saturday in the Class 1A track and field championships Saturday at the University of New Mexico Track and Field Complex. Staff photo: John Eisel

By Eric Butler: CNJ Correspondent

ALBUQUERQUE — Teenagers tend to remember little things like promises for a car. And Fort Sumner’s Sandy Fortner, after one remarkable day at the Class 1A state track meet on Saturday, hardly had forgotten something her father had told her years before.

“I’m pretty happy, but I don’t know about my dad though,” Fortner said. “He promised me, in the eighth-grade, that if I got five golds, he’d give me a 1969 cherry red convertible Mustang.”

“Matchbox,” chimed in Brian Fortner, Sandy’s father and coach of the Vixens’ track team.

Sandy Fortner, indeed, earned five gold medals— all on Saturday.

Fort Sumner, however, finished second behind Cimarron despite the largess of victories by Sandy and twin sister Kelly Fortner, who also picked up a win in the triple jump.

“I’m pretty sure that Cimarron has got first locked in,” said Sandy Fortner after she was done competing. “But I don’t want to say they beat us. They just — I don’t know, just some things happened.”

One of those things was a dropped baton by Fort Sumner in the 800-meter relay that cost the Vixens a chance to get into the finals.

But Cimarron, who collected 104 points to Fort Sumner’s 81, also dominated in middle-distance events like the 800 meters — where Rams’ entrants took the top three positions.

Sandy Fortner, though, was almost untouchable as she brought her career gold-medal count to 19.

After winning the long jump with a leap of 18 feet, 3 inches, she raced to wins in the 100-meter hurdles and the 100 meters. The only trouble spot for the Fort Sumner senior seemed to come after the 400 victory, when Kelly Fortner helped her tired twin sister off the track.

“Yesterday, after the 400, I went and threw up. So actually I was doing better today,” said Sandy Fortner, who recovered well enough to record another victory in the 200.

Also for Fort Sumner, senior Kayla Britain took fifth in the 400 and BreeAnna Lucero finished fourth in the 300-meter hurdles.

Kelly Fortner also finished third in the shot put and third in the long jump event won by her sister.

Hampered by injuries throughout the year, she was only competing in her third track meet of the year. Most recently, a hamstring injury happened only days after the Vixens won the Class 1A basketball championship.

“It’s not completely healed, but it’s healed enough to do what I needed to do,” Kelly Fortner said. “I did the best I could and that’s all you can do.

I’ve had my share (of injuries), but better me than Sandy.”