Coaches brought their teams from all across the West to compete in the 42nd Phoenix Invitational, sponsored by the Arizona USA Track and Field, April 1-2 at Glendale Community College.
"Youth meets and races are often more than competition - they are also fun," Yative Tiger, a coach for the Arizona Cheetahs said. "Regardless of whether young athletes achieve a personal best, win a medal, or earn a shot at international competition, they will have the opportunity to make new friends — and a lifetime of memories." The Cheetahs, who practice at Chandler High School, had approximately 93 athletes registered to participate in the Invitational which boasted almost 2,000 participants in sub-bantam (ages 6-8), bantam (9 -10), midget (11-12) and youth (13 -14) categories from Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and several other states.
Steve Todd and his Imani Track Club from Compton, Calif., came to the Invitational because: "It's one of the biggest meets we can come to so we can gauge our competition for nationals. We're up against some of the elite athletes here."
Tiger echoed Todd's statement. "Nationals aren't until July. But a lot of the athletes from California will be some of the ones we will be competing against at nationals."
The Cheetahs had top 10 finishers in most of the events and received several outstanding performances including 13-year-old Bryanna Smythe, who won both the 100 meters (of 104 runners) and 200 (of 131 runners) in the youth girls division; Tope Williams (100, bantam girls, sixth of 113; 200, sixth of 116); the bantam boys 400 relay (second); Javon Williams (200, midget boys, fourth of 105; 400, ninth of 76), Sherrelle Jordan (80 hurdles, midget girls, second of 18 athletes in the finals) and a 1-2 finish in the bantam boys 1,500 race walk by Renard Roberts and Kyan Washington.
OH SO CLOSE
The Phoenix Midget AA Mustangs advanced to the eight-team playoffs of the 2006 Midget U16 Tier II National Hockey Tournament in Pittsburgh, Penn., last weekend. The team of 15-year olds went 3-1 at the tournament. Unfortunately, the one loss came in the quarterfinals. Duncan McKellar scored nine points during the tournament. . . . The Phoenix Firebirds, who advanced to USA Hockey's 14-under nationals in Rochester. N.Y., finished the 12-team tournament 1-2. Forward Dan Anderson led the team in scoring with five points over the three games. Eric Ferber faced 23 shots and made 21 saves in the team's lone tournament victory.
Congratulations are in order for several local swimmers who competed at Junior Nationals in Orlando, Fla., in late March. East Valley Tribune boys 5A swimmer of the year Taylor "Buddy" Turner of Horizon, won the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle events and finished seventh in the 100 fly. Alexandra Clarke won the 500, 1,000 and 1,650 freestyle events; Katherine Raatz won the 50 and 200 freestyle, and Joni Zimmerman was second in the 1,000 and the 1,650. The four swimmers compete for Arizona Desert Fox swimming club.
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