High school track athletes got a chance to see what the next level of competition is like by taking part in Saturday’s Sun Angel Classic at Arizona State, a meet that also features collegians.
The high school runners at the Sun Angel Classic were all a part of the annual Tempe Relays that began on Friday. The high schoolers didn’t actually compete against the collegiate participants, but they were still exposed to the atmosphere that a high-profile college meet draws.
“We look forward to it every year,” Chandler track coach Eric Richardson said. “It’s a treat for the kids. We appreciate ASU for letting us race.”
The high school event finals that took place Saturday were the 100 and 1,600 meters, as well as the 400, 1,600 and 3,200-meter relays.
Richardson’s relay teams ran well, particularly the 3,200- and 1,600-meter girls teams. The lady Wolves finished nearly 15 seconds ahead of second place Chaparral in the 3,200 at 9 minutes, 48.30 seconds.
“I think we can run seven or eight seconds faster (in the 3,200),” Richardson said. “But we’re pretty satisfied with that run.”
Chandler's 1,600 girls relay finished first in a state-leading 3:54.29. Chandler held the best mark in the state coming into the meet of 4:02.00, set at the Chandler Rotary Invitational.
The Wolves also took second in the girls 400 relay and the boys 3,200 relay. Desert Vista took first in the boys 3,200 relay at 8:17.66. In the 100, Corona del Sol’s Steven Koehnemann turned some heads by setting a meet record in 10.63.
“I felt good before the race,” Koehnemann said. “But I didn’t get off the block as quickly as I wanted to.”
Koehnemann said that was the third fastest time he has ever run. He posted the state's top 100 time this season with a 10.62 at the Chandler Rotary Invitational.
Former standout ASU football player Shaun McDonald held the previous Sun Angel Classic record (10.71) set in 1999. Koehnemann said he looks forward to when his name is announced as the record holder next year.
“It’s awesome to have a meet record,” he said. Paradise Valley runners took first and second place in the boys 1,600 as Jack Mann passed teammate Daniel Kanyaruhuru on the final lap to win in 4:22.85. Kanyaruhuru finished in 4:24.63. In the girls 1,600 race, Mesquite’s Briana Spletstoser’s 5:17.38 was good enough to beat the rest of the field, with Valley Christian’s Julie-Anne Bailey finishing second in 5:18.99.