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HIGH SCHOOL TRACK AND FIELD: Jaquez, Byford finish first and second at West Texas Relays - Odessa American: Sports

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HIGH SCHOOL TRACK AND FIELD: Jaquez, Byford finish first and second at West Texas Relays

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Posted: Friday, March 6, 2020 8:50 pm

Odessa High’s Gaby Jaquez and Paige Byford have been racking up the points together for the Lady Bronchos track and field team this year in the high jump.

The two continued to do so this week both posted season-best jumps and cleaned house Friday at the West Texas Relays at Ratliff Stadium.

The Odessa High duo finished first and second with Jaquez taking the top spot and Byford finishing second.

Both posted jumps of 5 feet, 2 inches, but Jaquez took first based on fewer misses.

“I’m so proud of them,” said Odessa High assistant track and field coach Kerri Terrazas, who works with jumpers. “Gaby performs every week and we expect her to be at 5 feet or 5-foot-2. If she doesn’t reach that mark, she’s just as upset with herself as everybody else. But she’ll always show up.”

For Jaquez, Friday’s jump was not only her best of the season but was also a new personal record for her.

“I’m so happy that both of us got to clear 5 feet,” Jaquez said. “We’ve been working on it for a long time and we’ve been working very hard all season. We’ve been working on kicking out. “

For Jaquez, who is a senior, the goal is to now get up to 5-4, and she still has plenty of season left to accomplish that feat.

“This is the best that I’ve ever done before,” Jaquez said. “We’ve had a great day. We’ve had a great season so far.”

“Today, she cleared every attempt. If we can do that at every meet, we’ll be fine,” Terrazas said. “We’re trying to beat the school record of 5-6. I think she can do it.”

She had no trouble competing in the weather conditions on Friday, which were near perfect.

“Today, I thought it was going to be windy, but I didn’t think it would be this sunny,” Jaquez said.

For Byford, she’s been making quite a start to her high school track and field career, competing at the varsity level this year as a freshman.

“I’m excited to see what happens in the future and if I can set a personal record at the next meet,” Byford said.

Despite being an underclassman, Byford has managed to do well this season by keeping her composure and not getting too caught up with what everyone else is doing.

“I was just trying to relax and focus on myself and not focus on the other competitors,” Byford said.

Friday’s jump was not the first time Byford has cleared 5-2, but the mark is her personal best. Last year as an eighth-grader, she managed to record the same mark.

For Terrazas, having a freshman on the team jumping this high at the varsity level has given her plenty to look forward to as a coach in the upcoming years.

“Paige jumping the same thing as a freshman really excites me,” Terrazas said.

She saw plenty of potential in Byford last year when she was still competing at the junior high level.

“I saw it last year at the junior high West Texas Relays,” Terrazas said. “I told her that if she’s at Odessa High next year, she’ll be on varsity and sure enough, she came and she’s picking up right where she left off.”

The two athletes will try to help each other out in practices as both will look at each other’s jumps and critique what needs to be fixed.

“We always look at each other and try to work on whatever we’re doing right or wrong. If we are doing things wrong, we tell each other,” Jaquez said. “We watch each other jump and tell each other how we’re doing in practice.”

The competition from each other has helped push one another during meets as well as practice.

“Both of them have the same mentality of not being the one that loses so at practice, they are always competing with each other,” Terrazas said. “They like to show off and they like to be the best. They like to win and they don’t want to be second. It’s a great mentality for both of them to have.”

Odessa, TX

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