Trini Puente didn’t have an ideal start to her junior season. That hasn’t stopped the North Hall standout from continuing to excel in track and field.
Coming off a groin pull that slowed her early in 2015, Puente still earned Hall County championships in the 200-meter dash, 100-meter hurdles and long jump on March 26 at Flowery Branch.
Puente was also part of the Lady Trojans’ second-place 4x100-meter relay at the county championships.
“It feels really good to be able to overcome it,” Puente said.
The North Hall junior is hoping to build off her in-season success and a strong 2014 season by translating it into a podium finish at state.
A season ago, Puente took Hall County titles in the 200 meters, long jump and 4x100-meter relay. Then she took championships in those same three events at region while edging out teammate Gabrielle Hoffman for the 100 hurdles title at region, as well.
Puente and Hoffman, a senior in 2014, had a friendly rivalry in hurdles throughout last season.
“We competed against each other the whole time,” Puente said. “It was a constant battle seeing which one of us was going to win.”
She said the highlight of her season so far has been breaking her own school record in the long jump at the Hall County meet, recording a distance of 16 feet, 11.5 inches in what she calls her favorite event.
“It’s really fun, and it’s easy to do,” Puente said. “I like jumping in the sand.”
Her goal is to jump 17 feet by season’s end.
Puente also holds the school record in the 200-meter dash. She pinpointed that sprint event as her toughest.
“It’s always really competitive, especially when you get to sectionals and state and you’re running against people way better than you,” Puente said. “So you know you’re being pushed to go way harder.”
She started competing in the sport in seventh grade when she needed something to do.
“Not a lot of people did it back then,” Puente said. “And I happened to be pretty good at it.”
It’s been an uneven spring for North Hall, like all teams locally, with all of the rain in the area. She credits coach Drew Rogers for pushing her and encouraging her even when she doesn’t perform well at meets.
Puente is shooting for more region titles and a breakthrough with a high finish at state.
“I just hope that I can do really well at state and the weather conditions are good,” Puente said. “Hopefully it’s a hot, hot track meet, and it’ll be good.”