Higley’s Darreyl Woodson did all she could to help her team repeat as girls state champions on Saturday in the Division III state track championships at Mesa Community College. But the sophomore couldn’t do enough on her own to overcome an outstanding effort by Cottonwood Mingus.
Mingus won the team title with 106 points, well ahead of runner-up Show Low’s 66.33 points. Higley was third with 61.33.
Nearly half of Higley’s points came from Woodson, who won the 200 and the long jump and was second in the 100.
Woodson also drew oohs and aahs from the crowd when she anchored the Higley 4x100 relay team to a come-from-behind victory. Woodson got the baton in third place, 10 meters behind Estrella Foothills and a step or two behind Mingus.
“We did not think we were going to come in first in that one,” said Woodson. “They were really far ahead, so it was kind of amazing that I caught them. I didn’t think I was going to be able to catch her because there wasn’t enough track left.”
Once the sophomore got up to speed, there was more than enough time. She flew by Mingus and the gap the Estrella Foothills anchor had evaporated within 70 meters. Woodson pulled away in the final strides and finished in 49.71. Coretta Nolan, Joselyn Hardy and Simone Ellsworth join Woodson as the third-straight Higley 4x100 relay team to win a state title.
Woodson’s only defeat on the day came to Estrella Foothills’ Jasmine Pratt in the 100. Pratt won in 12.32 and Woodson finished in 12.53. Pratt was in the 200 finals, but false started, opening the door for Woodson, who won in 25.63.
“I guess in a way, I was a little bit relieved,” Woodson said of her thoughts after Pratt’s miscue. “But with her there, I am able to push myself harder because she is always in front, so I have to run faster.”
Other East Valley individual placers
Higley – Courtney Jackson, 4th in triple jump (34-11) and 8th in long jump (16-1); Joselyn Hardy, 4th in the 200 (26.67); Sydnie Martindale, 6th in shot put (36-2 ¼), 6th in 100 hurdles (16.84).
Seton Catholic - Ann Marie Holter 5th in triple jump (34-9 ¼) and 5th in long jump (16-3).