Division I outlook
Favorites: Girls — Chandler is in search of its seventh-straight state title and is the team to beat, even without senior star Jasmine Todd, who suffered a knee injury earlier in the season. The Wolves have the best sprinters in the state, led by defending 100 and 200 champion Ky Westbrook and a terrific supporting cast in Sandy Fisher, Dominique Jackson and Tope Williams. Another sophomore, Sherelle Jordan, returns to defender her 100-meter hurdle state title and Makaila Flannigan enters the meet as the top seed in both the 300-meter hurdles and the long jump. Highland (led by Tory Haberman, Kristy Rush and Lauren Ellsworth) and Xavier (led by Sarah Fakler, Laura Orlie and Breanna Perrone) each have strong distance crews, but not the kind of all-around talent that Chandler possesses.
Boys — Chandler doesn’t have the kind of top-tier performers as its girls’ team, but has more than enough talent to win the title. Javon Williams is a medal threat in the 200 and 400, Paul Perkins will be a factor in both the 110 and 300 hurdles and Devin Centers in the 110 hurdles and the high jump, along with Eddie Wilcox, tied for second in Division I coming into the meet. Also, Chandler is loaded in the throws, where it could rack up 30-40 points if things go really well. Brophy has superstar Devon Allen, which makes it a threat for a high finish. Allen is slated to run the 100 and 200, along with the events he holds state records in, the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles. The Broncos also have the No. 2 seeded 4x100 relay squad, but that time came with Allen. Mountain Pointe could also challenge with sprinting standouts Ben Trotter, Kejavon Moore and Paul Lucas, along with the best long jumper in the state this year, Travonn White.
Wednesday’s finals to watch:
Boys 800 — Mountain View’s Brandon Wheat and Highland’s David Graham are coming off a contentious race at the Southeast Valley Championships on May 2. Wheat edged out Graham by .08 seconds, winning in 1:51.63 to Graham’s 1:51.71. With these two very motivated for their rematch, as well as the threat from Westwood’s Dylan Traywick (1:52.67), Cibola’s Bernie Montoya (1:53.22) and Corona del Sol’s Nathan Rodriguez (1:53.31), it’s a real possibility that the state record of 1:51.33 will fall, perhaps by more than one runner.
Girls 4x800 relay — Highland enters with the top time this season, as the squad of Lauren Ellsworth, Imani Heath, Tory Haberman and Kristi Rush posted the second-best time in state history, a 9:17.22. Xavier is seeded 14 seconds behind, but the Gators will throw their best team together to challenge the Hawks.
Boys pole vault — Basha’s Garrett Starkey finally topped the 17-foot mark and has his sights set on the state record of 17-4.75. Brophy’s Cole Walsh and Basha’s Nathan Hiett have each gotten over 16-0, so this could be an epic competition.
Division II outlook
Favorites: Girls — Salpointe Catholic is a pretty heavy favorite to win. The Lancer feature Michaela Crunkleton-Wilson, who is the top seed in the 100, 200 and 400. The Lancers also have the top seed in the long jump and triple jump (Alyssa Thompson) as well as the No. 2 seed in the 400 (Diana Gajda). Canyon del Oro has the state record holder in the 300 hurdles, Jaide Stepter, who is also the defending champion in the 100 hurdles.
Boys — This could be the most tightly contested race of the weekend, as Cactus Shadows, Salpointe, South Mountain and Canyon del Oro are projected to finish within 10 points of each other. Cactus Shadows, on the strength of hurdler Preston Holding (the top seed in both hurdle races), Ethan Homan in the 1,600 and 800 as well as a strong 4x800 relay team, is the projected favorite.
Wednesday’s final to watch:
Boys 1,600 — Only eight seconds separate the top seven seeds coming into the race, with Salpointe’s Andy Trouard leading the pack coming in. He’ll get plenty of company at the front with Cactus Shadows’ Ethan Homan, Maricopa’s Chris Lessard and McClintock’s Eduardo Roa, who seems to perform well on the big stage.