Track preview: Chandler favored to run off with title - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Track preview: Chandler favored to run off with title

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Posted: Tuesday, March 3, 2009 6:52 pm | Updated: 1:06 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

At this point, a state title by any team but Chandler would be considered an upset in girls track and field. The Wolves have won three straight championships, and, led by Larissa Matthews, have their eyes on yet another.

Matthews won the 100-meter hurdles, 100-meter dash and 300-meter hurdles at the state meet last year, and anchored the 4x100-meter relay as the Wolves held off Xavier.

Those two teams are expected to be on top again, and Phoenix Desert Vista could be in the mix.

Chandler was dealt a blow when Hannah Carson, a sophomore who won the shot put and discus titles last season as a freshman for Mesa Dobson, tore her anterior cruciate ligament playing soccer last month. She likely won't participate in track.

But with Angelea Reyes, Bryanna Smythe and Jade Dean, it seems like the Wolves have plenty of depth, and Matthews is the silent leader.

"She's still quiet as heck," Chandler coach Steve Carson said, "but they respect Larissa. She has her own way."

In 2A, defending champion Chandler Valley Christian will be a contender.

On the boys side, it looks to be a three-team race in 5A-I. Phoenix Desert Vista has won the past two state titles, and returns Spencer Chase (sprints), Michael Ingrassia (hurdles) and Adam Estavillo (distance) among others. Chandler and Mesa Mountain View will attempt to dethrone the Thunder.

Markus Wheaton and Bryce Lamb will anchor Chandler's team. Both are elite sprinters, and Lamb excels at long and triple jumping. He should coast to the long and triple jump titles after Phoenix Mountain Pointe's Will Claye graduated early and enrolled at Oklahoma.

Mountain View's D.J. Johnson won the 1,600 meters last year and will be in the thick of the distance races again this season.

Mesa Desert Ridge (5A-II), Apache Junction (4A-I), Queen Creek (4A-II) and Valley Christian (2A) should all be competing in their respective conferences. The Prospectors will have a harder time without sprinter Shane McCullen, who isn't running track this year while he recovers from a torn labrum.

Top athletes

Larissa Matthews, Sr., Chandler: She took home four state titles last season and is back for more.

Bryce Lamb. Sr., Chandler: Should breeze to the long jump titles without Mountain Pointe's Will Claye around.

Sherod Hardt, Sr. Queen Creek: Following in successful footsteps of sisters Kari and Whitney.

D.J. Johnson, Sr., Mountain View: State title winner in 1,600 meters returns for Toros.

Sierra Meyer, Sr., Gilbert: Meyer won the high jump title last season as a junior.

Others to watch

Boys: Ryan Milus, Hamilton, Sr.; Matt Vipond, Hamilton, Sr.; Markus Wheaton, Chandler, Sr.; Jon Brown, Highland, Sr; Tyler Bingham, Mountain View, Jr.; Carlos Martinez, Dobson, Sr.; Chris Jamison, Sr., Desert Ridge, Sr.; Cory Breinholt, So., Highland, So.; Kyle Glass, Higley, Sr.; Clint Imlay, Skyline.

Girls: Angela Reyes, Chandler, Sr.; Samantha Collins, Westwood, Sr.; Lacy Palmer, Westwood, Sr.; Taylor Cole, Hamilton, Jr.; Destiny Lundy, So., Hamilton; Alexis Clay, Chandler; Cami Jackson, Mountain View, Sr.; Alexis Stamps, Skyline, Sr.; Lauren Gale, Higley, Sr.; Ann Bawden, Highland, Sr.; Callie Davis, Sr., Highland.

Key dates

Friday - Desert Classic at Queen Creek

March 27-28 - Chandler Rotary

April 9-11 - Tempe Relays/Sun Angel Classic

April 24 - Tribune Invitational

May 13-16 - State tournament

Defending champions

Boys

5A-I: Desert Vista

5A-II: Horizon

4A-I: Apache Junction

4A-II: Queen Creek

3A: Safford

2A: Northwest Christian

1A: Tempe Prep

Girls

5A-I: Chandler

5A-II: South Mountain

4A-I: Cactus

4A-II: Greenway

3A: Blue Ridge

2A: Valley Christian

1A: Tempe Prep

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