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Purdy good start for Clovis senior

Clovis senior Charles “Budda” Purdy had to change his early-season goals after breaking the school record in the shot put in the Wildcats’ first meet of the season. CNJ photo by Eric Kluth.

Charles Purdy thought he had a good throw left in him. He just wasn’t sure how good.

The Clovis High senior known as “Budda” led the shot put competition most of the way in Saturday’s season-opening Gene Wells Invitational at Hobbs, but suddenly found himself trailing a competitor from Midland Lee with two throws left.

Needing around 53 feet to win, Purdy popped a throw of 57 feet, 2 1/2 inches to break Jackson Seller’s 1991 school record of 56-7 1/2.

“I just knew (the Midland Lee thrower) was ahead of me,” Purdy said. “I know there are guys that’ll beat me this year, but I just said, ‘I’m not going to let him beat me.’

“It was just a good throw — everything felt perfect. I never thought I’d get 57 (feet); I got 55 once in practice, but I had no idea 57 was in reach.”

CHS is on spring break this week, but the Wildcats and Lady Wildcats are slated to host the Clovis Invitational on Saturday at Leon Williams Stadium.

Clovis boys track coach Darren Kelley said Purdy has worked hard at shot since qualifying for last spring’s Class 5A state meet. He did not place.

“He’s definitely put the time in to improve himself,” Kelley said. “Budda’s had goals to get to the state meet and break the school record since last summer. It’s something he works at, and it’s good to see him have success at it.”

Purdy has reset his goals to breaking 60 feet and challenging a state record, but Kelley said he’ll run into some top-notch throwers over the next few weeks and his biggest challenge is to do throw well day-in and day-out.

“Our main thing is to go out and throw 55 or better every week,” Kelley said. “We’ve got to develop some consistency there.”

As for his nickname, pronounced the same as but spelled differently by design than the traditional “Buddha,” Purdy isn’t sure of the exact origin, other than his family gave it to him.

“I don’t know the whole story behind it,” he said. “I guess I looked like the statue doll. I really didn’t like it until about the fifth grade.”

Nine schools are slated to have boys and girls teams in Saturday’s meet, with three others entering girls squads only. Two of the latter, Texas entries Odessa High and Canyon, are among the meet favorites, CHS girls coach Darrel Ray said.

Ray said the Lady Cats won’t have a full squad due to a basketball commitment for some of his underclassmen, but he thinks they should still finish at least in the top three.

“I figure Odessa High and Canyon will probably be the best teams,” Ray said. “Canyon has a pretty good distance group. We’ll just have to start piecing things together.”

Senior Monique Walker won the 200 meters (26.5) and took second in long jump in last week’s opening meet at Belen, where the Lady Cats finished in the middle of an 11-team field. Walker also ran on the 400 relay.

“We’re going to let Monique run in one more event (800 relay) this week,” Ray said. “By next week, we’ll probably let her run a full schedule.”

Clovis Invitational

Saturday at

Leon Williams Stadium

Teams (boys and girls unless noted): Clovis, Belen, Canyon (girls), Carlsbad, Clayton, Hobbs, Las Vegas Robertson (girls), Odessa High (girls), Roswell Goddard, Roswell High, Tucumcari.

Field events

9 a.m. — Girls: Triple jump, discus. Boys: Long jump, shot put, high jump, javelin.

10 a.m. — Girls: Long jump, shot put, high jump, javelin. Boys: Triple jump, discus.

11 a.m. — Boys: Pole vault.

Running events

10:45 a.m. — Girls: 3,200.

11 a.m. (boys and girls unless noted) — 400 relay, 100 hurdles (girls), 110 hurdles (boys), 100, 800 (girls), 1,600 (boys), 800 relay, 400, 300 hurdles, 800 (boys), 1,600 medley relay, 200, 1,600 (girls), 3,200 (boys), 1,600 relay.

Presentation of trophies — 5 p.m. (time approximate).