This year, it wasn’t the Chandler girls track team creating the drama. The Wolves boys locked up with rival Desert Vista at Saturday’s 5A Division I track and field championships at Sun Angel Stadium, and the meet was not decided until the final event.

Chandler’s Bryce Lamb, who had scratched in his previous two attempts in the preliminaries of the triple jump, broke off a mark of 45 feet, 6 inches, to finish second behind Mountain Pointe’s Will Claye (45-7 3 /4). But it was Lamb who finished ahead in what mattered, as Desert Vista’s Luke Matthews was just a 1 /2-inch behind Lamb. That two-point difference decided the meet. Chandler defended its state title edging Desert Vista 75.2 points to 75.

“Going into the jump, it was the worst feeling ever, but after, it’s the greatest,” said Lamb, who nearly scratched on his top jump. “They said it was debateable, it could have been a scratch, but they marked it and came out with a good result.”

Drama was something that derailed the Chandler girls last season, but there was no drama this year as the Wolves ran away with the title with 130 points, well ahead of Desert Vista’s 82.

The Wolves were led by senior Leah Benton, who collected four gold medals on Saturday. She won the 100 meters (12.16 seconds), the 200 (24.81) and ran legs on the 400 and 1,600 relays, which both won going away.

“On a scale from 1 to 10, this season is more like a 20 because last year there was ruckus, nobody wanted to listen and we didn’t come together as a team,” Benton said. “Instead of loving, we hated and I think we just came so far and we all love each other and support each other and we’re a family and that’s all that matters.”

Chandler also got big points in the 100-meter hurdles, as sophomore Micsha Carson edged freshman Larissa Matthews by .04 seconds, winning in 14.86.

“Last year left a nasty taste in their mouths,” Chandler coach Eric Richardson said. “They all wanted to come back and make a statement and I think they really did.”

Another athlete to make a statement was Xavier’s Natalie Johnson, who pulled off the 400-800 double, winning the 400 in 55.39, getting 38 minutes to recover, and then fighting off Glendale Mountain Ridge’s Andrea Menhennet to win the 800 in 2:14.17.

“I didn’t know if I was going to have enough speed and endurance to do it,” said Johnson, who came from behind in the last 100 meters. “In the last 120 meters, she started speeding up more and I was like I might as well go with her.”

Another strong effort was put in by Westwood senior Cylend Simmons, who shook off a poor performance in the 110-meter high hurdles (where he placed sixth) to run the second fastest time in Arizona history in the 300-meter hurdles. Simmons, who trailed Mountain Ridge’s Tim Sterrenberg by 5 meters midway through the race, found another gear and took the lead at the final hurdle to win in 37.13.

Chandler got some needed points from Jim Burnett, who won the 200 (21.62) and placed second behind Fiesta Region rival Dontay Moch in the 100. Moch won by the narrowest of margins, as they both had identical times of 10.78, but Moch was a fraction ahead on the photo finish.

Mountain View’s 3,200 relay team of Brandon and Shane Hinson, Jon Erik Nissen and D.J. Johnson broke the school record with their time of 7:54.64. The Toros also got a gold from Nick Zehring in the discus, who won with 164-1.

Other East Valley winners were Highland’s Tyler Arnold in the 400 (47.86); Mountain Pointe’s Kristin Phillips followed up her win in the 3,200 on Wednesday by winning the 1,600 in 5:01.97; Corona del Sol’s Phil Feinberg repeated in the boys high jump (6-10); and Desert Vista had three champions, Meagen Berg in the shot put (38-11 1/2), Jaci Perryman in the pole vault (12-6) and Rebecca Nelson in the 300-meter hurdles (44.30).

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