In the minor-league baseball movie “Bull Durham,” young pitcher “Nuke” LaLoosh wanted to announce his presence with authority.
He did so with his erratic fastball.
Mountain Pointe senior sprinter Ben Trotter might not have a fastball, but that doesn’t mean he can’t bring the heat.
Trotter definitely announced his presence with authority before the track and field season even started when he went out to The Great Southwest Classic in New Mexico and came back champion in two events — the 60-yard and 200-meter dashes — and took third in the long jump.
“I wanted to do good to set up my senior year,” he said. “It’s my last time to shine and I wanted to be ready to go from the start.”
While it took Trotter’s confidence to a new level, it also put a target on his back to start the year. When opponents are toeing the line next to him they are thinking about knocking off the Great Southwest champion.
“Every coach has a top 10 list somewhere. They tell their kids if you want to be the best you have to beat these guys,” Pride coach Jeff Griffin said. “He’s on that list now.”
Turns out, the competition doesn’t have to come from a different school as Trotter is already being challenged by Pride junior KeJavon Moore, who won the 100-meter dash at the Aztec Invite on March 4, with Trotter second.
They were separated by 0.02 of a second as Moore won it with a time of 11.04 seconds.
“There’s some trash talking between us, but it is going to make both of us better,” Moore said. “We push each other.”
Trotter finished 13th in the highly-competitive 200-meter dash with a time of 24.4 and won the long jump with a leap of 22 feet and 5 inches.
“It was a good start to things,” said Trotter, who finished sixth in the 100 and 14th in the long jump at state last year. “I wanted to see where I was at compared to everyone else, and now people know what I can do.”
Trotter also helped the Pride to a great day in the relays as the boys won the 4x100 and 4x400, while the girls won the 4x100 and finished second to Desert Vista in the 4x400.
“I was most pleased with the relays. Considering it was the first (invitational) and they were passing the batons with confidence, they couldn’t have done much better,” Griffin said. “It gives us something to build off of the rest of the way.”
The boys relay team was Trotter, Moore, Garettt Craig and DeJon Edwards, while the girls teams consisted of Whitley Doss, Madison Duecker, Kevina Godfrey and Katelin Warren.
Moore and Godfrey were the real standouts as Moore finished second in the 400 (50.46) in addition to the win in the 100, while Godfrey won the girls 100 (12.45) and 200 (25.3) to help the Pride to a third-place finish in the girls standings. The boys finished fourth as Desert Vista won both events at the Aztec Invite.
“Kevina had a great day,” Griffin said. “She really showed she is going to be tough to beat this season.”
Godfrey finished ninth in the 100 and eighth in the 200 at the state meet last season, and the junior is expected to make a push for the top five this year.
Moore didn’t compete in the individual events at state last year, but the junior stopped playing football this fall to concentrate on track and has already knocked a full second off his times with more expected to come.
“I started (participating in) track to get faster for football, but now I am just doing track,” he said. “I’ve been training and working hard to make sure this is the year I really put it together.”
Trotter, whose family, including sisters and cousins, has long been part of the Pride program, knows it is early but he is expecting great things this year for the Mountain Pointe sprinters.
“I am just doing my part to help the team,” he said. “I did some good things, but it is so early. We just have to keep getting better and we can use (the good start) as a motivator to do even better.”
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