The man to beat

What do you do after you've won it all?You try to win it all again, of course.One year after winning gold at the Texas state high school track meet, Big Spring High School senior Mike Menefield will try to duplicate the feat when he competes in the Class 3A triple jump and long jump at the state track meet Friday in Austin.Menefield will be considered the man to beat in the triple jump, as his regional meet-winning distance of 49 feet, 6.5 inches is the best among all 3A state qualifiers. In the long jump, he will be a bit of an underdog, but that was the case last year, also – and he came within a half-inch of winning the gold medal in that event.Needless to say, expectations are high.“He has that jumping ability, and he has speed to go along with it. That's pretty rare,” said BSHS boys' track coach Mitch Woodard. “The best thing about him is that he's willing to put in the work, and he's been that way ever since he was a freshman. You know he'll try to do everything you ask him to do.”This will be Menefield's third straight trip to the state track meet. After missing out on any medals his sophomore year, he won gold (in the triple jump) and silver (in the long jump) in 2010.Menefield said all that past experience on the state stage should be a big advantage.“The first time I went to state, I was nervous, but now I've got a lot more familiarity with the process. I'm going in calm and relaxed, and I'm not going to let anything get in my way.”Despite his ability and statewide reputation, he almost didn't get a chance to defend his triple jump state title.“At this year's regional track meet, I scratched on my first two attempts,” Menefield said. “There was a lot going through my mind when I lined up for my last attempt, but I just blocked everything out and everything just kind of slowed down.”Menefield, who hopes to walk on at Texas Tech University this fall, admits the thought of his high-school career coming to a close is bittersweet.“Of course, I'm going to miss it,” he said. “This is my last year in high school … and I've had a some great experiences in sports. It's kept me on my feet. I've had some great times here.”