Fresh off state basketball title, Hudsonville junior breaks 19-year-old track invitational record

Alaina Diaz explained that winning a state basketball championship hasn’t sunk in just yet.

The Hudsonville junior has moved on to her next challenge, however, and it’s safe to say that she is moving pretty quickly.

Diaz, who helped the Eagles basketball team earn the Division 1 state championship earlier this month, excels in track, too. She barely had enough time to pack away her basketball uniform and dig out her track shoes when she broke a 19-year-old record in the 200 meter run at the recent Reeths-Puffer Invitational in Muskegon.

Keep in mind that Diaz missed the entire 2020 track season because all spring sports were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. But she picked up where she left off as a freshman.

“I ran a 25.8 (at the Reeths-Puffer Invitational), and my (career) best time in the 200 is a 25.7, so I was only short by a little,” Diaz said. “I was pretty surprised. I’ve only done track for a year and having last year off messed me up, so I was really surprised I went that fast in just my second meet this season.

“I was just coming off basketball season, and I hadn’t lost my conditioning in that kind of way, I guess. So, to be able to break that record in a longer distance is actually pretty insane, especially since I only had two days of practice and no break from basketball.”

Diaz was a Grand Rapids Dream Team first-team selection, and she was named to the Michigan Associated Press Division 1 second team for her success on the basketball court. But Diaz has game when it comes to track, too. She finished fifth at the 2019 Division 1 state track finals her freshman season in the long jump. Diaz also qualified for the 400 run at finals and finished 11th, and she anchored the 4-by-400 relay that finished 11th.

“During the basketball season, I remember saying how bad I wanted to run track because I missed a year of it last year,” Diaz said. “I’m really excited that we are getting a chance to compete this year.

“My goal is to break the long jump record, which is 18-something right now. I have jumped 17-11. I’m hoping to be able to break that record, and I want to break my personal record in the 200. And also, the 4-by-400 record. We have been trying to break that for a while now.”

Diaz has been attracting college interest for basketball and track, and more interest is expected to follow after her big season on the hardcourt. Diaz, who is playing AAU basketball this spring for MBA, has offers from Ferris State, Aquinas and Saginaw Valley in basketball, and Aquinas has offered her in track.

The Eagles won their first state girls basketball championship on April 9, defeating Detroit Renaissance 65-61 in the finals. The victory capped a 23-1 season.

“It was a long season, but it was so worth it,” Diaz said. “To be honest, I still can’t believe it. It’s weird, it still doesn’t feel like it’s real yet. It seems kind of weird, but it’s exciting.”

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