Chandler High School’s Ky Westbrook received a rather nondescript box in the mail. Inside the box was a small jigsaw puzzle containing a message, a message she was elated to see.
“I was really, really excited,” Westbrook said. “It’s really cool how they did it but I’m really excited. I’ve never been invited so I was excited to get invited this year.”
Westbrook, along with Highland’s Lauren Ellsworth and Corona del Sol’s Tevin Mayfield and Nathan Rodriguez, was invited to the prestigious Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle — a one-day track meet that took place on Saturday, June 21.
Ellsworth was scheduled to run in the 800 meters of the invitational, Westbrook in the 100, Mayfield in the 110 meter hurdles and Rodriguez in the mile.
Westbrook is the most decorated of the four runners. She won 12 state track titles in her high school career, with four of them coming in her final championship meet 2014. While Westbrook won titles in the 200 meters, 100 meter hurdles and shot put, the 100 meters is her specialty. She holds a gold medal from the IAAF World Youth Championships in the 100 meters, which she won last summer.
Westbrook said the Brooks PR will be a sort of redemption chance for her after she finished third at the adidas High School Girls Dream 100 meters last weekend with a time of 11.51.
“I didn’t run a time I really wanted to,” she said. “Hopefully I got all of the jitters out of the way and I’ll do better this week.”
A lingering hamstring injury has bothered Westbrook all season, but she says that it’s improving and hopes it will not bother her too much.
Not to be outdone is the Corona del Sol duo of Mayfield and Rodriguez. Mayfield won the Division I boys state title in the 110 meter hurdles with a time of 14.02, and Rodriguez took home state titles in the 1600, 3200 and 800 meters.
“This meet has been one of my goals for this whole season,” Mayfield said. “There’s a great group of guys that are running there…I really want to go and finish top-three.”
Rounding out the Arizona quartet is Ellsworth. The senior won a state title in the 800 meters and finished second in the 1600 meters in May.
Ellsworth has one goal for the meet: to set a personal record.
“If I do well that would be great. If I stay the same it would still be a huge improvement for me,” she said.
The competition will be tough for all of the Arizona athletes. The Brooks PR is one of the elite track meets in the country and Ellsworth knows the competition will be stiff.
“This meet is completely stacked,” she said. “The whole field ran under 2:10…the fastest is a 2:03 which is nuts. I’ve never run in this type of environment.”
Track and field in the state of Arizona has been on the rise in the last several years, with Brophy’s Devon Allen and Cibola’s Bernie Montoya both qualified for the Brooks PR last year. More and more athletes, like Ellsworth, Mayfield, Rodriguez, Westbrook and Desert Vista’s Dani Jones, who competed in the Adidas Dream Mile in New York City on June 14, are beginning to receive national attention for their accomplishments in the state.
“It’s a beautiful thing,” Mayfield said. “To be able to see other people find that same love that I have for (track) is just awesome.”
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