By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun
Identical twins Sandy and Kelly Fortner are starting their second season with the University of New Mexico’s Lobos track and field team.
Last year Sandy finished in fifth place at the outdoor and sixth in the indoor Pentahlon event at the Mountain West Conference Championships and with a NCAA provisional qualifying score of 5,190.
“Sandy Fortner is one of the most rounded all-around athletes,” said Tucumcari High School Athletic Director Wayne Ferguson. “She had several state championships in different track events while on the Rattler team.”
Both were members of the Tucumcari track team for three years, and helped the Lady Rattlers claim state track titles in 2002 and 2003.
“Sandy and Kelly are great athletes who are very talented,” said Lobos track and field head coach Matt Henry. “Our program is mostly based around New Mexico athletes, and any time we can get them to stay in New Mexico and compete at the college level, that is great. And we are proud to have Sandy and Kelly.”
Sandy competed on March 22 in Tucson Arizona she recorded a personal best mark of 39-10 in the shot put, good for second place.
She finished the first day of the Jim Click heptathlon competition in fourth place on March 22 and posted a score of 3,030 with three events remaining until she hurt her hamstring and was unable to continue in the competiton.
“We want the girls to compete, but we want them to be healthy first,” said Henry. “Kelly has been hurt and I know that it is just as frustrating to her as it is to us if not more. Sandy is one of the better athletes in the country. If we can keep her healthy I believe that we will see her at the national championships this year in Sacramento.”
Kelly will be in Tucson, Ariz. today, competing in the third week of outdoor competiton at the Arizona International. She will be competing in the shot put, long jump and 100 meter hurdles.
“Being a part of the UNM track team is a lot different than high school,” said Kelly Fortner. “At first ,being away from home and not having my parents at every event was hard for me. After time I began to adjust to living and going to school here and realize that being here in Albuquerque is perfect for me.”
Kelly said the physical strain on the body is different at the college level.
“I have found that competing for UNM is easier on the body than when I competed in high school,” said Kelly Fortner.
“In high school we had weeks to get ready for a track meet after just finishing a different sport and went from event to event. Here I have months to prepare before my first meet and can concentrate of a specific event or two without being rushed. This season is going pretty good,” said Kelly. “I’m going to concentrate on staying healthy. I’m always training to improve myself and any improvement is a good thing.”