Staff photo: Andy DeLisle Clovis High’s Caitlin Waters collapses after finishing first in the 800 meters Saturday at the Class 5A state meet in Albuquerque. Waters was able to make it off the track under her own power and rebounded to anchor the 1600 relay later in the day.
By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
ALBUQUERQUE — It’s doubtful Caitlin Waters is old enough to know much about Satchel Paige, but she mirrored the longtime Negro League pitcher’s philosophy on Saturday — don’t look back because someone may be gaining on you.
As it turned out, the Clovis High sophomore had nothing to worry about, leading comfortably wire-to-wire en route to the girls 800 meters championship in the Class 5A girls state track meet at the University of New Mexico’s track facility.
Waters posted a season-best time of 2:17.79, and later helped the Lady Wildcats nail down the second-place trophy by holding off a late Los Lunas charge on the anchor leg of the 1,600 relay in which Clovis took sixth place.
That one point gave Clovis, the defending 5A champion, 58 for the meet to 57 for Eldorado.
La Cueva had a big day on Saturday and ran away to the team title with 87 1/2 points.
With the top teams juggling runners between relays and open events such as the 800, Waters found herself with a surprising margin down the backstretch.
“It kind of opened the field for her,” CHS girls coach Darrel Ray said. “Caitlin is (in position) to get the school record (next year) in the 800. And she ran a good leg on the 4-by-4.”
The win was a bit of redemption for Waters, who finished second in last year’s 5A 800 when she was edged at the tape.
“I couldn’t believe no one caught me,” she said. “I didn’t feel comfortable until I crossed the finish line. I just kept running.
“I was really nervous. I just wanted to get it over with.”
Overall, the Lady Cats had a better day than they did on Friday, scoring in seven of their nine events. They won the 400 relay in 49.49 with sophomore Lainey Flatow, senior Heather Malloy, freshman Antiesha Brown and junior Lauren McDaniel and were nipped at the tape by Manzano in 800 relay.
Meantime, Brown was third in triple jump (34-6 1/2) and junior Bianca Hampton placed fourth in the 100 hurdles (16.89). The 1,600 medley relay team of Flatow, Malloy and freshman Tara DeWitt and Michelle Schenk came fourth in 4:24.64.