The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Bustos seeks another top-12 finish at nationals


May 19, 2018

Editor's note: This is the second in a series of stories on Eastern New Mexico University athletes heading to the Division II national track and field championships. Sunday's story will feature sophomore sprinter Marcus Parker.

PORTALES - The first time is a surprise, the second time a goal.

After reaching the NCAA Division II nationals during an injury-plagued indoor season, Eastern New Mexico junior Danee Bustos seemed headed for an easy outdoor national appearance if she was healthy.

Turns out nothing is given, but Bustos is heading to Charlotte next week, where's she'll run in the 200 and as a part of the 400 relay team.

The junior sprinter believes she's a better outdoor runner.

"It's real exciting to get back to nationals, since not everyone gets to go, and I almost didn't qualify for the 200," Bustos said. "I was a little nervous about (making the 200), but I knew I was going to nationals either way. So whether it was as an individual or as a team, I'm just real happy to be back at nationals."

Her 400 relay teammates are Maijah Mathis, Lateria Slaughter and Kandice Miles.

Health has definitely been a big boost for the Belen native, and while her time (24.22 seconds) was just enough to get into nationals as the final women's 200 qualifier, Bustos has been pretty impressive all season long.

Bustos won the 200 meter dash at both the ENMU Open (24.88 seconds) and West Texas A&M Classic (24.15), while finishing first and second in the 400 at those events, respectively.

Bustos, who is also a jumper, kept herself busy this outdoor season by also performing in the high jump at four different meets, including the Lone Star Conference Championships.

After tying for sixth place with a 4-11 at West Texas A&M, Bustos placed sixth with a 5-2.25 jump at the West Texas A&M Invitational, before yet another sixth place at the LSC Championships a few weeks back, improving her jump to a 5-4.5.

ENMU coach Jeff Kavalunas said Bustos might have hit a wall in the midseason due to all of the events, but feels that she's gotten herself back on track as of late, with more rest and school being out.

For Bustos, better training has also helped her stay healthy and ready to go.

"Just following the coaches training and focusing on getting into the training room, making sure I'm stretched and then do ice baths afterward," Bustos explained. "I've been able to get back on track with my hamstring (since the start of outdoor season). It was just a matter of focus and recovery and getting into the training room. I just tried to get the blood flowing with the hamstring."

Bustos' late-season surge includes a third-place finish in the 200 at the LSC Championships and a fourth in the 400, which along with the sixth-place high jump earned her 15.5 points at the conference meet. Because of that, Bustos was named First Team All-LSC.

Back in the late winter, heading into the NCAA Indoor Championships, Bustos aimed for a Second or Third Team All-American selection, which would have required her to finish in the top 12 just to achieve the latter. Bustos ultimately placed 12th in the 200 (24.80) during the Indoor Championships, garnering her third-team distinction.

Going into nationals, Bustos would like to once again replicate that performance. "My times have improved by almost a half-second since the indoor season, and I've progressively improved over the course of the season," Bustos said. "Hopefully, I'll be able to run a 23-something. As long as it's in the 23's (I'll have a chance). But yeah, making the top eight or top 12 for All-American again would be another good accomplishment."


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