Someday, the talent pool will dry up enough and the Chandler High girls track program will be challenged for state supremacy. That day, however, is not in the immediate future.
The Wolves enter 2013 riding a seven-year streak of dominance and have a roster full of talent to make it eight.
Chandler’s run of greatness has been built on top-tier talent (a lot of it) not overwhelming numbers. At the top of that top tier is junior Ky Westbrook, one of the finest young sprinters in the nation. Westbrook has a top 100 meter time of 11.42 seconds (albeit wind aided) and she’ll likely challenge the Arizona record (set in 2002) of 11.31 by Peoria’s Jessica Onyepunuka. Westbrook will also aim to dip into the 23-second range in the 200, something she has yet to do. Westbrook is also one of the best shot-putters in the state and she’ll likely be in the lineup doing hurdles, long jumping and high jumping (with an eye towards becoming a heptathlete in college).
Surrounding Westbrook are talents like hurdlers Makaila Flannigan and Sherelle Jordan, sprinters Tope Williams, Dominique Jackson and Imani Adams, jumper Kennedy Broom and thrower Bianca Finn, as well as some other emerging stars like LaMaya Williams and Taylor Patton.
The boys race to the top in Division I, however, should be much more intriguing. Brophy is the favorite coming into the season, but teams like Mountain Pointe, Desert Vista, Chandler (the defending Division I champ), Corona del Sol and Mountain View will be lurking.
Brophy’s biggest advantage is Devon Allen, who is the defending state champ and state record holder in the 110-meter high hurdles and the 300-meter hurdles. He has the potential to score 40 points by himself at the state meet after scoring 36 of Brophy’s 63 points last year (placing second in the 100 and 200). Brophy also has another talented hurdler in Robert Grant, a top-notch pole vaulter in Cole Walsh and a solid distance duo in Jack Rubenzer and Marco Ruiz, as well as a large senior class that provides a solid foundation.
Mountain Pointe will counter with 25-foot long jumper Travonn White (who doubles as a sprinter), and other speedsters in senior Kejavon Moore and sophomore Paul Lucas.
Lucas, along with Mesquite junior Trevon Myles, are two of the state’s emerging sprint stars (if they continue to progress), so keep an eye out for those names.
Boys athletes to watch
Christian Clark, senior, Westwood: Clark wrapped up his junior campaign with top-10 times in the 100, 200 and 400. His best bet for gold at the state meet will likely be in the 400, where he was third last year behind a pair of seniors.
Aeron Carr, senior, Red Mountain: Came on strong as a junior in track and that carried over to the football field, where he had a breakthrough year. Carr jumped 24-feet, 1.50 inches in the long jump as a junior, so he could challenge Mountain Pointe’s Travonn White in that event. Carr also ran a 10.70-second 100 last year and should be considered a title contender in that event.
Clark Brown, junior, Mountain View: Emerged as the Toros top sprinter as a sophomore, so should be ready for more speed as a junior. Ran a 10.88 in the 100 and 21.91 in the 200, so more speed should get Brown a spot on the podium in one or both events at the state meet.
Nate Rodriguez, junior, Corona del Sol: While it’s hard to imagine anyone challenging Cibola’s Bernie Montoya in the 1,600 this year, Rodriguez is one of a select few who could give Montoya a run for his money in the 800. Rodriguez posted a time of 1:53.31 in the 800 as a sophomore and if his progression in cross country is any indication, Rodriguez should have a big year in both the 800 and 1,600.
Girls athletes to watch
Ashlee Moore, junior, Hamilton: After a huge splash as a freshman, Moore had an up and down sophomore season. Much of that was because she got a late start due to being a starter on the Hamilton basketball team that made the state finals. Moore will be much better prepared for her junior season and should be a threat to win state titles in the high jump, long jump and the 100-meter hurdles.
Sidra Peterson, sophomore, Dobson: A very pleasant surprise for the Mustangs last year, Moore qualified for the state in both the 100 and 200. A year of maturity could help her emerge into a state finalist in the 100, 200 and 400 as a sophomore.
Alysoune Coleman, sophomore, Desert Ridge: Coleman had the No. 4 time in the state last year in both the 400 (56.81) and 800 (2:15.51). She is part of a deep field of sophomore middle-distance runners and should be right in the thick of both events this year.
Chloe Richardson, senior, Mountain View: A jumper-extraordinaire, Richardson could score points at state in the long jump, triple jump and the high jump. Of those events, the triple is her best. She went 37-11 1/2 last year and will be gunning for 38-feet and beyond.
Lauren Hicks, senior, Gilbert: Along with Richardson from Mountain View, Hicks will look to leap to the top of the list among the jumpers in the state. Just one meet into the season, she’s already set a new personal best in the triple jump, 38-3 1/2.
Other athletes to watch
Basha: Boys – Zach Rucas, Jr.; Nathan Hiett, Sr. Girls – Christine Orr, So.; Courtney Goodrich, Jr.; Stacey Payne, Sr.; Cami Bartlett, Jr.; Cassidy Roberts, Jr.
Brophy: Boys – Clarence Clark, Sr.
Chandler: Boys - Marcus Flannigan, Sr.; Chase Lucas, Fr.; Dominic Nappe, Sr.; Michael Porier-Shelton, Sr. Girls – LaMaya Williams, Fr., Jazmyne Bartee, Sr., Taylor Patton, So.
Corona del Sol: Boys – Ryan Normand, Jr.; Tevin Mayfield, Jr.; George Wright, Jr.; Quinn Robertson, Sr.; Aaron Simons, Sr. Girls – Samantha Moore, Jr.; Hallie Swenson, Sr.
Desert Mountain: Boys - Matti Groll, Sr. Girls – Conley Marquez, So.
Desert Ridge: Boys – Nick Allen, So.; Cody King, Sr; Leonard Carter, Sr. Girls – Savannah Coleman, Sr.
Desert Vista: Boys – Scott Marshall, Sr.; Dylan Fischer, Sr.; Ryan Dykstra, Sr. Jordan Rezac, Jr.. Girls – Danielle Jones, So.; Nicole Hicks, Jr.; Brittany Tretbar, Sr.; Vanessa Davis, So.
Dobson: Boys – Anthony Celaya, Sr.
Gilbert: Boys – Dylan Jackson, Sr. Girls – Tawsi Rohner, Jr.
Hamilton: Boys – Seamus White, So.; Elijah Williams, Jr.; Cameron Conway, Sr.; Jayson Smith, Sr.; Beau Eggers, Jr. Girls – McKaya Brown, So.; Aaliya Haggard, Sr.
Highland: Boys – Logan Woolf, Sr. Girls – Kristi Rush, Sr.; Lauren Ellsworth, So.; Ashley Hatch, Jr.
Horizon: Boys – Grant Sisserson, Sr.
Mesa: Boys - Chris Martin, Jr. Girls – Mary Kokali, Fr.
Mesquite: Boys – Tyler Day, So.
Mountain Pointe: Boys – Ryan Green, Sr. Girls – Kevina Godfrey, Sr.; Rees Young, Fr.
Mountain View: Maxwell Nelson, Sr.; Weston Birtcher, Sr., Isaac Strong, Sr.; Braden Smart, Sr.; Tanner Watson, Sr. Girls – Rebecca Lydford, Sr.; Asha Bramwell, Jr.; Kaija Bramwell, So.; Toria Michaud, Jr.; Huston Jones, So.; Kylie Jorgensen, Sr.; Hannah Brown, Sr.
Perry: Boys – Taelon Parson, Sr.; Jacob Siwek, Sr.; Jordan Carder, Sr.; Tarren Blanchard, Sr.
Red Mountain: Dylan Kerr, So.; Clayton Moralez, Sr.; Gaige Funkhouser, Jr. Girls – Tayler Jameson, Jr.; Abbie Sharkey, Jr.; Kristiana Warth, Jr.; Meg Sweeney, Jr.; Taryn Estavillo, So.
St. Mary’s: Girls – Davianna Meador, Sr.; Camryn Norwood-Pearson, Fr.; Chantel Osahor, Sr.
Westwood: Boys – Mykeal Ham, Jr.; Malik Gilliam, Sr.; Raekwon Robinson, Sr. Girls – Avery Chapman, So.; Jalissa Smith, So.
Xavier: Girls – Sarah Fakler, Sr.; McKenna Renfro, Jr.; Erin Fakler, Jr.; Julianne Vice, Sr.
Cactus Shadows: Boys – Ethan Homan, Sr.
Campo Verde: Boys – Lucky Schreiner, So.; Erick Hairston, Jr.
Marcos de Niza: Girls – Savannah Whitehead, Sr.; Jessey Tenorio, Sr.
Paradise Valley: Boys – Casey Bowe, Sr. Girls – Taylor Yantis, Sr.
Queen Creek: Boys – Jacob Brewer, Jr.; Weston Barlow, So. Eric Wilcox, Sr.; Geordan Peterson, Sr. Girls – Summer Crewse, Sr.; Maddie Belnap, Jr.; Kayla Forbis, Sr.
Tempe: Girls – Diana Garcia, Sr.
Higley: Boys – Tristan DaCosta, Sr.; Brennan Barfuss, Jr.; D’Angelo Foster, Jr. Girls – Darreyl Woodson, Jr.
Saguaro: Boys – Jake Wynn, Sr.; Aaron Aubrey, Jr.; Alex Stevens, So. Girls – Athena Masolini, Jr.
Seton Catholic: Boys – P.J. Del Rio, Jr.
Williams Field: Boys – Terrance Payne, Sr.; Quincy Stokes, Sr.
Horizon Honors: Girls – Samantha Weeman, Sr.; Mikaela Martin, Jr.
Tempe Prep: Boys – Caleb Peckham, Sr.; Levi Hartzler, Sr. Girls – Marie Bryant, Jr.; Catherine Bryant, So.
Valley Christian: Boys – Matt Benninger, Sr.; Alec Chavez, Sr.; Tyler St. James, Sr. Girls – Emily Shieh, Sr.
Up, up and away: Already, it appears that the bar has been raised in the pole vault. Desert Vista’s Scott Marshall cleared 16-feet, 9-inches at the Aztec Invitational, the third-highest vault in state history. Marchall is not alone above 16-feet, as Horizon’s Grant Sisserson cleared 16-8 3/4 at a USATF indoor meet and Brophy’s Cole Walsh cleared 16-4 3/4 at the same meet. On the girls side, Desert Vista sophomore Vanessa Davis appears poised to climb up the all-time charts with a clearance of 12-6 1/4 at the Aztec Invitational. That’s the best mark for a sophomore in state history.
Speed, speed and more speed: Much has been said about the Chandler girls track team, but the possibilities are endless for that squad. Already, one of the Wolves 100-meter hurdlers, senior Sherelle Jordan, has posted an Arizona all-time top 5 time of 13.94, the fifth-best time in state history. As remarkable as that time was, things could get even better. The Wolves have a realistic chance to have three hurdlers under 14-seconds, with Jordan, McKaila Flannigan, who went 14.36 last year, and Ky Westbrook, who opened the season with a time of 14.74 despite not being a full-time hurdler.
Tough times: Getting an automatic spot in the state meet got tougher in most of the events. In Division I, for example, 14 of the 17 events saw the automatic qualifying standards increased for both the boys and the girls, sometimes a significant amount. In the girls 1,600, the time went from 5:17.06 to 5:13.14 and in the discus, it went from 113-7 to 117-7. As the caliber of track athletes continues to improve in Arizona, those qualifying standards will only get harder.
March 15: Brophy AMDG Invitational, at Brophy Athletic Complex
March 22-23: Chandler Rotary Invitational, at Chandler High School
March 28: Scottsdale Distance Classic, at Saguaro High School; Basha Co-ed Relays, at Basha High School
April 4, 6: Sun Angel Classic, at Tempe High and Arizona State
April 5-6: Arcadia Invitational, Arcadia, Calif.
April 13: Valley Christian Invitational, at Valley Christian High School
April 19: Hohokam Invitational at Westwood.
April 20: Queen Creek Invitational, at Queen Creek High School; Becky Matthews Freshman Invitational, at Desert Vista High School
April 24: Chandler City Meet, at Basha High School
April 26: Toro Invite, at Mountain View High School
April 30, May 1: Southeast Valley Championship, at Queen Creek High School
May 8, 10, 11: Arizona State Championships at Mesa Community College