Cheetah (chét-ah) — a swift animal; Arizona Cheetahs — some of the fastest athletes in the state and possibly the nation. The Chandler-based track club returned from the United States Amateur Track and Field regional meet in El Paso, Texas, with berths in 45 events at the upcoming national meet.
Athletes from 14 other regions are scheduled to compete July 25-30 in Baltimore, Md.
"We had some outstanding performances all around," assistant coach Yatif Tiger said. "But we were especially impressed with our bantam girls time in the 400 relay (relay)."
India Broom (age 8), Imani Adams (9), Takerra Waters (9) and Tope Williams (9) posted a time of 56.34 seconds — a big improvement over their state time (57.55).
Williams also earned berths in the 100- and 200-meter dash and is among several Cheetah teammates who will be competing in multiple events.
In the youth girls division, 13-year-old Bryanna Smythe will run both sprints and be a member of the 400 relay relay. And Hannah Carson (12) is not only speedy but she's got a strong arm. Carson is part of the 400 relay relay and will compete in shot put, javelin and discus. Another big improvement over previous showings was accomplished by Chandler High School sophomore Bryce Lamb. Lamb, a runner-up in the triple jump at the 5A state championships with a jump of 45 feet, 6 inches, jumped 49-1 in El Paso, which would have broken the all-time Arizona high school record.
"We expect our bantam girls 400 relay relay, Bryce and Hannah to finish in the top eight at nationals," Tiger said. Arizona Elite based in Scottsdale, Arizona Heat (Mesa) and Elite Athletics (Mesa) also qualified athletes for nationals.
A dozen East Valley youths were among more than 30 competitors representing Arizona at the Scholastic Clay Target Program national championships in skeet and sporting clays last weekend in Rochester, N.Y. Many of the same shooters will compete in the trap championships in August at Sparta, Ill.
Most of the squads earned the right to compete by finishing first in their events at the Arizona Game and Fish Department's Commissioners' Cup state championships in March and April.
Squads from the Red Mountain Target Terminators Team, which trains at the Red Mountain Trap and Skeet Club in Scottsdale, competed in the senior experienced and senior novice divisions at the sporting clays championships. Red Mountain squads will also represent the state in the senior experienced and senior novice divisions at the Aug. 8-9 trap championships.
Tawni Jones (Mesa), David Erb (Mesa) and Caleb Percevecz (Scottsdale) have qualified for the Speedo Junior National Diving Championships, July 26-30 in Indianapolis, as a result of top 12-finishes at the Junior Summer West Championships that were July 6-9 in Pasadena, Calif. Jones qualified for two events, winning the 3-meter and taking 2nd in the 1-meter in the girls 16-18 group. Percevecz qualified in all three events in the boys 16-18 division. He was 3rd on 1-meter, 7th on 3-meter and 9th on platform. Erb was 2nd on 1-meter and 8th on 3-meter. . . . Four East Valley teams have advanced to state tournament level of Little League play with the winner going on to the West Regional with the ultimate goal of playing in the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa. Ahwatukee Little League, North Scottsdale, Gilbert National and Four Peaks (Mesa) Little League will begin pool play Thursday in the state tourney at Kingman.