• David Allison

Arizona Kids to Watch at Region 10 Championships this Weekend

Updated: Feb 3, 2019

Keep an eye on these athletes next week at the Region 10 Junior Olympic Meet

(Top Left) Coco Velasquez - AZ Flames, (Top Right) Colby Miltenberger - Phoenix Bobcats, (Lower Left) Landen Leblond - Next Level, (Lower Right) James Smith - AZ Flames

We have over 500 kids from Arizona who qualified for the Region 10 Junior Olympic Championships this weekend in Aurora, CO. While we are proud of all of our kids who made it this far, we wanted to spotlight a number of young athletes who we should be paying attention to as they strive to get to nationals and maybe even on the All-American podium.

Arizona Cheetahs

  • Alaya Felix (8) is ranked top-10 in the U.S. in the girls' shot put and should be making it to North Carolina, even if she has an off-day.

  • Ari'eon Stevenson (8) has been having an amazing season thus far and is looking like a strong contender in the boys' 200m.

  • Camryn Hunter (10) is another top-10 U.S. ranked shot put thrower for the Cheetahs and should have no issue getting to the east coast either.

  • Makayla Hunter (15) is yet another U.S. top-10 ranked shot putter for the Cheetahs. She also is a strong contender in the 600g javelin as well this weekend.

  • Remy Romney (12) has been a strong hurdler all season and has a great chance in the 80m Hurdles in Colorado.

  • Sophia Noriega (13) is a 3000m specialist, who has the legs to make it to the east coast in late July.

Arizona Elite

  • Kenashalee Kerr (17) is a strong triple jumper (Div II State Champion in AZ this year) who should be punching her ticket to Greensboro without issue.

Arizona Rising Suns

  • Brian Fair Jr (14) is another AZ club athlete who is a top-10 U.S. ranked runner. Brian is running the 800m and 400m this weekend and while a tough double to pull off, we believe he'll get through both races unscathed.

  • Geramiah Flunder (11) has been a top-finisher in Arizona meets all year and this weekend should be no different. Geramiah should be watched in the 100m, 200m and 400m races.

  • Royal Haley (12), like older teammate, Brain Fair Jr, is going for the 400m and 800m double in CO. The field in both races is pretty deep, but Royal always seems to have that extra gear to get him through.

  • Stacey Onyepunuka (12) is no stranger to Region and National meets over the years. Stacey is a U.S. top-10 ranked 400m runner and should not be overlooked in the girls 100m and 200m races as well.

Arizona Track & Field Academy

  • Jordan Black (16), who took 2nd place at the Div IV 3200m AZ State Meet this year, is currently a top-10 U.S. ranked 3000m runner and looks like he should move through to the National Championship meet if he runs within himself.

Arizona Track Stars

  • Alijah Whiten (10), has been running speedy times all season and doesn't look like he'll slow down this weekend in the 200m in Aurora.

  • Ava Davis (8) is one of those runners who just has it. She's a top-10 U.S. ranked athlete in both the 200m and 400m distances and has also a very strong chance in the 100m as well. Don't miss this speedy 8U runner.


This club has a great tradition with creating top-level race walkers and this year is no different.

  • Andrea Lopez (10) is a solid prospect in the 1500m RW and should find her way to nationals

  • Daniela Lopez Tiznado (12) is a top-10 U.S. ranked walker (1500m) and so she should have little trouble breaking the tape first in her age group and moving on to the JO National meet.

  • Jacqueline Esquer Lopez (16) is yet another Athletics' athlete who flourishes in the race-walking arena. Jacqueline will be competing in the longer 3000m distance and should have an excellent chance in making it to A&T.

  • Raquel Lopez Tiznado (13) moves up to the longer 3000m distance this season after taking 4th at Nationals last year in Kansas.

  • Sara Solorio (17) is the oldest race walker from the Athletics and she has a great chance to continue this season later this month.

AZ Flames

  • Carlan Naisant (18) has been a complete beast in the javelin at every level since he first started with club track. He's headed to ASU next fall and you don't want to miss him throw this weekend, as he is the top club thrower in the U.S. right now and is ranked 13th in the U.S. in the high school division.

  • Coco Velasquez (11) although Coco is a "lower" this year in her age group, you'd never know it. She's ranked top-10 in the aero-javelin and is also a very strong discus thrower as well.

  • Donte McKoy (8) this strong young man has his sights on North Carolina this summer as he gets ready to throw the shot put at high altitude this weekend.

  • James Smith (18) one of the very best long hurdlers in the U.S. right now. Took 2nd place at the New Balance High School Invitational (where he set the AZ state all-time record of 51.45) and just this past week won the Youth National Championships - he's heading to the U of A in the fall, but keep your eyes on him before he moves down south.

  • Kianna Noyd (10) has figured out the javelin this season and is poised to head to NC in a few weeks with her continued improvement.

  • Legend Steward (12) is one of the many strong hurdlers the AZ Flames have on their squad. Look for him to go far in the 80m hurdles.

  • NiZarya Eubanks (14) is a triple jumper who should see herself hopping, skipping and jumping to the east coast at the end of this month.

  • Nizer Smith (12) broke the aero-javelin state record earlier this season, but also has some mad hops in the high jump. Look for him to move on in both events this Saturday and Sunday.

  • Rahni Turner (15) as noted earlier, the Flames have some great hurdlers and Rahni is one of them. She's looking to qualify in the 100m hurdles and continue her strong season.

  • Tatiyanna White (12) has some bounce in her legs as she is one of the favorites to go to North Carolina in the high jump after this weekend comes to a close.

  • Yan Vazquez (14) has a chance in a number of events, but his best being in the 200m hurdles, where he really has excelled the most this season.

AZ Titans

  • Imani Watson (10) is one of the Titans middle-distance phenoms. Look for her in both the 800m and 1500m, where she should have an excellent chance to progress to JO Nationals.

  • Taliyah Henderson (12) is an "upper" this year in the 11-12 division and the last time she was an upper she garnered two all-american titles (400m and 800m in 2016). She's ranked in the U.S. top-10 in these two events again this year, so look for her to go far this summer.

Do Right

  • Mayen Usoro (10) as a lower 9-10 last year, Mayen still managed three (yes, three!) all-american titles in the 100m, 200m and 400m. This year she is a top-10 200m U.S. runner and looks also very strong in the 400m as well - watch out!

Elite Sports Fitness Academy

  • Malik Whitaker (17) was the AZ State high school high jump champion in Division I this year at Hamilton and now is seeing what he can do at the club level... I'm no Nostradamus, but I think it's going to be pretty good.

Elite Striders

  • Cameron Fuse (14) is one of the stronger throwers in Region 10, so look for him to make it past this competition and continue to JO Nationals in the shot put.

  • Elijah Roberson (12) another strong Strider thrower in the shot put event. Elijah has been at the top for most of the AZ track season and we don't see him letting up now.

  • Paix Montano (8) - It's good when you're at the top of your age group and Paix is taking full advantage of that fact, as he has definitely found his rhythm this season. Paix is a top-10 U.S. long jumper right now and is on the cusp of being an all-american in the mini-javelin as well.

Glendale Flash

A club known for it's distance prowess over the years, has three top athletes to watch this weekend in CO.

  • Jesus Aldana (18) is looking like an almost sure fit for one of those top 5 spots to JO Nationals in the 1500m.

  • Lizzie Simon (18) a 2K steeple chaser who should find her way east once the lights are down in Carolina this weekend.

  • Makenna Bray (16) is another "puddle jumper" in the 2K steeple who we all should be watching to head over to Greensboro in a couple weeks.

Huron Athletics

Huron is one of those well balanced teams that has kids in different events making it to Region and National competitions every year - this year it seems their middle and distance runners are the stars of the team.

  • Anavey Bolender (14) is one of the three middle-distance phenoms on the Huron team. Watch Anavey in the 1500m and I don't think you'll be disappointed.

  • Douglas Adam Whitehead (17) was the Arizona State high school Div IV 3200m champion this spring and it looks like he's ready to up the ante a bit and go for national qualifying meet.

  • Grace Gelder (8) is a poised young lady in the 800m who looks like, if she continues on her current trajectory, she will be asking for a window seat on the flight to North Carolina later this July.

Next Level

  • Alexander Rafferty (16) has been a consistent stud in the middle-distance realm both in club and high school over many years. He's a past all-american athlete and this year has his sites on the 800m.

  • John Weston (15) is taking on the 2K steeple chase in CO, and if he looks like he did at state then there should be no issues with him moving on.

  • Landen LeBlond (12) I love watching this young lady run. She's tough, fast and what a stride! She's ranked in the U.S. top-10 in the 1500m and also has a very good shot at going far in the 3000m distance as well.

  • Syah Cuff (10) doesn't jump, she flies into the pit. Look for her hauling down the runway in the long jump this weekend.

  • Sydney Sanders (8) another jumping top-prospect at Next Level. Sydney has dominated this division all year and we feel she'll continue doing so in Aurora.

  • Thomas Soriano (16) is just a hair's breath away from breaking 50-seconds in the 400m, so perhaps the thin air can get him over that hump.

Phoenix Bobcats

  • Aiden Squires (12) has made some amazing improvements in times from last year. This weekend he looks like a good choice for a 3000m qualifier.

  • Colby Miltenberger (14) is a remarkable athlete and that showed this past weekend in the Youth National Meet as he took 1st place in the pentathlon. This upcoming weekend look for Colby in a number of events, but watch him over the 100m hurdles (where he's ranked in the U.S. top-10 right now).

  • John Ruvo IV (14) has a name that sounds regal and when it comes to sprinting he is the king of the blocks. John just won both the 100m and 200m at the Youth National Championships and is ranked in the U.S. top-10 in those events as well. Keep your eye on him (if you can) at the Region 10 meet.

  • Mikalah Meeker (12) has been a strong thrower (shot and discus) all season here in Arizona and we would imagine she will continue her strangle hold on these two events and make it out to NC.

Power Forward

  • Destin Jones (12) has a lot of talent in a multitude of events (sprinting, jumping, throwing), but this weekend watch this young man long jump and be amazed how far he flies into that pit.

  • Laqwain Davis (10) you might think there are springs on the bottom of his spikes, but that's not the case at all. Laqwain has been a great high jumper all season and should continue after a festive July 4th in Colorado.

  • Rylee Perkins (16) another fine jumper on the Forward squad. She placed 3rd in long jump at the Arizona high school Division II State Meet this spring and she is looking to continue to extend her best mark through the month of July.

Quicksilver Track

  • Noah Roberts (9) last year as an 8U won the JO Nationals in the 100m, 200m and long jump - yes, I know... aaaaammmmmmaaaaazzzing! This year he's a lower 9-10, but still is looking quite strong in the 100m, 200m and 400m as he sets his sights once again on nationals.


  • Trinity Henderson (14) in 2016 as an upper 11-12, Trinity took home three all-american honors at the the JO National Championship Meet. This year, she is once again and upper and looking to see if she can replicate this feat in the sprints (esp. in the 200m and 400m races).

There you have it. The multitude of AZ athletes to focus on in Colorado. Yes, there are other athletes who have a very good chance to make it to the JO Nationals, but these kids above stood out from the rest...

Good luck to everyone traveling to Colorado. Safe travels and a happy July 4th!

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