Line up all of the top throwers in the state of Arizona, and Hannah Carson would be one of the last ones you’d point to and say, “She’s the best.”
She stands just 5 foot, 3 inches tall, has a normal, athletic build and has such a quiet, laid-back nature that you’d easily overlook her.
Until you see her in action.
During her career and her senior season, Carson displayed the kind of power and explosiveness rarely seen in Arizona track. She moved into the state’s all-time top 5 in both the shot put and discus this season and was state champion in both events for the third time in her career.
At one time this season, Carson was ranked in the top 5 nationally in four events (shot put, discus, high jump and javelin).
She was reliable, consistent and performed at a high level all season long, earning her the Tribune’s Girls Track Athlete of the Year.
“I think my success comes from me being very competitive,” Carson said. “Whatever I have to do to compete at the top level, I’m going to do it.”
Carson has been competing at the top level in track and field for several years. She came into high school already holding two national age group records in the javelin.
Since Arizona does not sanction javelin in high school, Carson turned to her “other” events.
She opened her high school career competing at Dobson, since she attended Rhodes Junior High in the Mesa District as a ninth-grader. At Dobson, Carson won the state title in the shot put and discus and was third in the long jump. Her sophomore year at Chandler High was hindered by a knee injury, but Carson placed third in the shot using a simplified throwing technique.
“I still competed with just a power throw, and still did pretty good,” Carson said.
In the past two years, Carson dominated both of her “other” events. As a senior, she had the state’s best throw in the shot put at 45 feet, 6 inches, which is tied for fourth in Arizona history. She also has the season’s best throw in the discus (by nearly 23 feet) of 159-4, good for No. 3 on the all-time charts.
“I’m pretty satisfied with how my season and career have gone,” said Carson, who will attend Texas Tech on scholarship next fall and finally get to throw the javelin full-time.
“It would have been nice to get the high school state record in the shot put, but I’m not disappointed.”
Carson showed her versatility by jumping 5-8 in the high jump, the third-best jump in the state this season. She was second in Division I at state, just behind Hamilton freshman Ashlee Moore’s jump of 5-10.
She also long jumped 17-10 (No. 11 in the state), just to round out her season.
“It’s fun to do a whole bunch of different events and not the same events all of the time,” Carson said. “That gets boring.”
Nothing has been boring about the Chandler girls team the last few years. The Wolves have won six straight state titles and last year, led by Carson, were the Nike Track Nationals team champions.
With talent like Carson and triple jump state-record holder Jasmine Todd, along with a host of other outstanding athletes, the Wolves have grown into a dynasty on the state level, scoring a record 225 points at the Division I state meet. And, they’ll return to the Nike Track Nationals meet later in June to try to extend that dynasty.
“The good thing about our team, even if someone’s hurt, there’s always someone to fill in their spot,” Carson said. “Everybody still is doing what they need to do to get the most out of their ability.
“If they didn’t limit us to four people in an event, we could have scored a lot more than we did at state. It’s good to be a part of this team.”