Division III Outlook
Favorites: Boys: A year ago at the state meet, Higley wound up one point behind state champion Florence and the Knights are back to try to make up for that shortfall. Like last year, Higley will hope to do most of its scoring in the sprints. Tristan DaCosta and Cameron Wooden are seeded 1-2 in the 200 entering the meet, and teammate Michael Strnad is seeded fifth. Strnad is the No. 2 seed in the 100, with DaCosta seeded fourth, and Wooden is the No. 2 seed in the 400. Those three (along with Mythias Young) also make up the leading 4x100 relay team in Division III. Unlike last year, the Knights could see some points come out of the throwing events, with senior Max Creamer holding the No. 2 throw in the discus coming into the meet. Higley’s main challengers will be Sedona Red Rock, Snowflake and Williams Field. The Black Hawks are led by Quincy Stokes, the top seed in the 110 hurdles and No. 3 in the long jump, and Derrius Kelly, the leading performer in the triple jump coming into the meet.
Girls: Based on qualifying marks, it looks as though this will be a four-team race, with Cottonwood Mingus, Sedona Red Rock, Show Low and Safford all posting strong regular-season performances. Mingus is led by hurdler Torey Braly, the top seed in both the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles, as well as the top pole vaulter, Stephanie Gilboy, and top shot putter, Heather Calandra. For Sedona Red Rock, Nyomi Mosley has the top mark in the discus coming in, and is No. 2 behind Calandra in the shot put. Sedona will also rely heavily on Mykala Seresun, who is seeded second in the 1,600 and 3,200 and fourth in the 800 (Chinle’s Rolando Jumbo is the top seed in all three distance races). Show Low has one athlete seeded first, Lieke Elbersen in the 200. She’s also seeded third in both the 100 and long jump. Safford will be looking to do most of its damage in the field events, with the top-seede high jumper (Jordan Abalos) and throwers Ashley Dawson and Sabrina Montano, who are both in the top four in both the shot put and discus. Higley is the defending state champion and cannot be counted out. The Knights will be led by sophomore Darreyl Woodson, who is the top seed in the long jump, third in the 200 and fourth in the 100. She also runs a leg on the Knights’ top-seeded 4x100 relay team. Courtney Jackson could also score some points in the triple jump (she’s the second seed) and the long jump (6th seed).
Division IV Outlook
Favorites: Boys: It’s shaping up to be quite a tight race, with Valley Christian entering the weekend as the favorite, but St. Johns and Arizona Lutheran will be the other top contenders. For Valley Christian, there are no stars. In fact, the Trojans have no individuals who are the top seeds in their respective events. Valley Christian does have the top 4x800 and 4x400 relays coming into the meet. Individuall, their top performer is Andrew Sullivan, the third seed in the 110 hurdles and the fifth seed in the 300 hurdles. Jacob Moore is the third seed in the pole vault, with Trent Maselink the fourth seed in the 300 hurdles and the sixth seed in the pole vault. If the Trojans can muster enough of those third, fourth and fifth-place finishes, they’ll be able to overcome St. Johns, which has the top two seeds in the pole vault (Josh Rodriguez and Tyler Johnson) as well as the top seed in the long jump and triple jump (Konner Lee). Arizona Lutheran’s hopes for a trophy rest with distance standout Josh Hoskinson, who holds the best marks in the division in the 1,600 and the 3,200.
Girls: A year ago, Tempe Prep ended Valley Christian’s national record streak of 15 straight state championships. If the Knights want to win two straight, they have their work cut out for them. Based on qualifying marks, Tempe Prep and Tucson Pusch Ridge Christian will have a photo finish, with Valley Christian lurking if those two teams stumble. Tempe Prep has the athletes returning to score points in a lot of events. Their top qualifier is Claire Horvath, the only top-seeded athlete for the Knights. Horvath comes in with the top mark in the long jump, as well as the No. 3 times in both the 100 and 200. Tempe Prep will also look for points from Emily Hedberg in both the 1,600 and 3,200, as well as Annie Ortiz (300 hurdles), Sara Prokop and Catherine Bryant (triple jump) as well as Kaitlyn Woltz (shot put). All of those athletes enter seeded in the top four. Pusch Ridge will counter with Sarah MacDonald, who has the top times in the 1,600 and 3,200 and the No. 2 time in the 800. Abby Maas enters as the top qualifier in the triple jump and Sydney Dudley is second in the 100. Valley Christian has two athletes coming in with the top marks in their events. Sydney Tassielli is the favorite in both the 100 hurdles and the 300 hurdles and Chandler Fraley enters with the best pole vault mark on the year.