BAYFIELD – Expectations can be dangerous for high school athletes. Too lofty and it sets the athletes up for failure, too low and they may never reach their potential.
Jordan Lanning had high expectations entering this past year at Bayfield High School, and she smashed them all during the girls basketball and track and field seasons.
Lanning took a big step forward during the basketball season, as she improved from 4.9 points per game as a sophomore to a team-best 9.6 in 2017-18. She scored in double figures 10 times during the season, including a 24-point outing against Telluride on Dec. 18 and a 21-point night against Monte Vista on Feb. 2. At the end of the season she was named 3A All-Intermountain League honorable mention.
Lanning made an even bigger leap during the track season, and was at or near the top of each of her events throughout the season, leading the junior standout to be named The Durango Herald’s Girls Breakthrough Athlete of the Year.
“I feel like this was the most successful year I’ve had throughout my high school career,” said Lanning, daughter of Audra and Jeff Lanning. “Doing well in basketball really helped me be positive and helped me going into track season. Then winning a state title there, yeah, I’d say my junior year was pretty good.”
At the state track meet, Lanning won the title in high jump and set a new 3A state meet record when she cleared 5 feet, 7.75 inches on May 17 at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood. The previous record was set in 2017 by D’Evelyn’s Sarah Cerrone’s height of 5-07.5.
Lanning also placed second in the 100-meter hurdles in 15.24 seconds, third in the 300 hurdles in 46.40 and was fourth in the long jump at 16-06.5, all of which came during rainy and windy conditions May 19. By comparison, as a sophomore, she was third at state in the 100 hurdles in 15.59, did not qualify for the finals in the 300 hurdles, was third in the high jump at 5-03.5 and seventh in the long jump at 16-05.5.
More important than Lanning’s stats and results during her junior year was the steady dominance she displayed and the tireless work she put into her sports.
“She’s been fantastic,” BHS track coach Gary Heide said of Lanning after the state track meet. “I don’t know if there’s one time that I can think of where she failed or didn’t perform well.”
Throughout the track season, Heide praised Lanning’s work ethic and said there were several times he and other coaches had to reign her in because she was working too hard. It was a characteristic BHS head girls basketball coach Josh Kitchen witnessed time and time again during the season.
“We had multiple games where she gave every last ounce of what she had inside of her,” Kitchen said. “Specifically, I remember one game in Monte Vista where she came off the court and we thought she had the flu. She was feeling horrible and it was because she gave every bit of what she had. We ended up pulling out the game (with a 51-49 win on Jan. 13) because of a steal and layup that she was a part of.
“She’s going to work until she’s got nothing left.”
Lanning always had a great work ethic, but she turned it up a few notches as she went into her junior year when she started to realize how good she could be and what her future may hold. Basketball is still a priority for her, but as she will go into her senior year at BHS, track and field is her top focus athletically. And she has some lofty goals heading into her final prep year.
“I didn’t really know I wanted to have track be my main focus until the end of last year and the start of this year,” she said. “I decided I wanted it to be my main thing, and it’s what I want to go to college for, so I strive to be the best at it.
“This is kind of a big goal, but I’m going to try to get three or four, hopefully four, state titles next year. Maybe there will be some new people who jump into the events next year, but I’m really pushing for and wanting to get as many state titles as I can.”
Editor’s note: The Durango Herald selected high school sports players of the year based on a unanimous decision between sports editor John Livingston and sports writer Karl Schneider. Increased consideration was given to multi-sport athletes who showed leadership in their firstname.lastname@example.org