• David Allison

Highlights of First USATF AZ Track Meet of 2018

The 2018 track & field season is finally here and last Saturday over 800 athletes convened at Mountain Pointe High School in Ahwatukee for the first USATF AZ Regulation Meet of the year. There were many good results and improvements on the track by our awesome Arizona young track stars. This meet only had running events. We will highlight some of the better performances from the day, as well as find out which boys and girls had some of the biggest improvements compared to their last season times.

8U Girls

Amayla Burnett (Arizona Cheetahs) had an impressive first meet of the season as she won the 100 m, 200 m and 400 m races in their respective times: 16.05, 34.57 and 1.25.63.

In the 100 meters, Nehemiah Gary (Do Right) crushed her PR (personal record) of 21.05 - taking 10th in 18.45. She also slashed over 5 seconds in her 200 m, where she went from 45.93 last year to running 40.77 on Saturday.

Kaliyah Kisler (Arizona Cheetahs) also had nearly a 3-second betterment of her previous best in 2017 in the 200 m; she ran 45.79 at Mountain Pointe, compared to 48.51 last season.

Summer Cheatham (Do Right) decimated her best 400-meter time of 2017 (1:41.96) by running 10 seconds faster on Saturday as she finished 6th overall in 1:31.70.

9-10 Girls

Camryn Hunter (AZ Cheetahs) had a strong showing at the red oval as she took 1st in the 100 and 200 (14.31, 30.86) and for good measure placed 2nd in 400 in a time of 1:13.82.

Kameron Smith (AZ Flames) saw more than a 1-second improvement from her previous best in the 100 (17.30 to 16.20) and took 13th overall.

Harlem Weaver (Phoenix Bobcats) dropped more than a second in her 100 m as well, going from a last season's best of 20.12 to a 19-flat finish; she then dropped over 2 seconds in her 200 m, running a new PR of 42.79.

Also in the 200 meters, Blicia Reaves (Huron Athletics) had almost a 3-second improvement from her 2017 fastest performance of 40.25 with a time of 37.4 on Saturday.

All-Americans Mayen Usuro (Do Right) and Taliyah Word (AZ Cheetahs) were getting their legs back into gear for the 2018 season as they took 1st (71.52) and 3rd (75.33) respectively in 400 m.

In the 800 meters, Shay Colosimo (AZ Burn) took 1st easily with a 2:51.11 finish.

And in the 1500-meter race, Olivia Neve (Distance University) handled the competition with a 15-second gap on the field with a time of 6.18.49.

11-12 Girls

The 2016 All-American, Stacey Onypenuka (Arizona Rising Suns), was still strong as ever as she took the 100, 200 and 400 on Saturday (13.56, 27.94, 64.37).

Tatiana White (AZ Flames) took 2nd in the 100 m and crushed her last year's best time (14.32) in the process bu running 13.65.

Other great improvements from their 2017-best 100-meter times on Saturday were:

  • Camille Bailey (AZ Flames) 15.9 last year to 14.76.

  • Alicia Reynolds (Arizona Track & Field Academy) 15.59 last season to 14.79.

  • Emya Smith (Phoenix Bobcats) 16.87 in 2017 to 15.42 on Saturday.

In the 400, Madison Patterson (Accelerate Track) ran a great time for herself with a 1:12.58 finish, which was nearly 6 seconds faster than she ran last year.

Landen LeBlond (NX Level) took 1st in the 800 meters with a good start to the season as she crossed the line in 2:38.66.

Madison Goodman (NX Level) had a nice PR for herself with a 3:01.49 in the 800 meters, which took off nearly 17-full seconds from her previous best of 3:18.03 in '17.

Marianna Chavez (ArizonaAthletics) also had a strong opening meet where she crushed her previous PR (3:30.81) by over 14 seconds with a new best of 3:16.59.

Nalaejah Harris (Do Right) also had a nice PR for herself with a 3:20.23 time - previous best was 3:46.44 last season.

In the 1500 meter event, 2017 All-American Uriyah Whiten (Do Right) easily won in 5:43.07.

13-14 Girls

Tara Sommerville (Arizona Cheetahs) had a great start to her 2018 campaign as she was victorious in both the 100 and 200 (12.76/27.36)

Unattached athlete, Trinity Henderson (2016 All-American), won by over 2 seconds with a time of 62.18 in the 400 m to get her season rolling.

Other runners with some nice improvements to their personal records in the 400 were:

  • Saniah Christian (AZ Cheetahs) with a previous best of 1:22.93, on Saturday slipped under 80-seconds with a 1.19.77.

  • Kiara Reed (AZ Flames) dropped over 11 seconds in her 400 with now a new PR of 1:15.44.

Emma Wackman (Phoenix Bobcats) held off the field with a win and a 2:37.75 finish in the 800 meters.

2nd place finisher, Alexis Huddleston (unattached), sliced over 14 seconds off her previous best of 2:53.64, to cross the line in an impressive 2:39.39 clocking.

Not making the podium, but Ava Ardizzone (Team Showtyme) took nearly 16 seconds off her previous best on Saturday setting a new PR of 3:03.38 and setting her sights on breaking the 3-minute 800-meter barrier this season.

Britney Perera (Arizona Speedstars) took 1st in the 1500 m and set a new PR along the way with a time of 5:33.86.

In the longest race of the day, the 3000 meters, Bethany McCallister (Arizona Track & Field Academy) started the 2018 season right by winning the event and nearly setting a new PR for herself with a time of 11:41.94.

15-16 Girls

Kimarah Holt (AZ Cheetahs) took 1st in the 100 m (13.20).

In the 200 meter sprint, Ella Escobar (NX Level) took 1st in 27.01. She also showed some range by winning the 800 meters earlier with a time of 2:26.92.

The top two girls in the 400 meter race got under 60 seconds. Jadyn Mays (NX Level), who was a 2016 All-American, took 1st in 57.96 and set a new PR. Following Jadyn was unattached athlete, Armani Harris, who ran 58.51 and found a new new top mark for herself around the track.

Also to note, Adora Adams (AZ Cheetahs) , who took 4th place overall, sliced 4 seconds off her previous best (1:06.37) as she won the 5th heat (out of 6) with a new best of 1:02.97.

The 1500 m was owned by Cami Merickel (Arizona Track & Field Academy) who triumphed by over 30 seconds with a very strong start to her season with a finish of 5:09.9.

Alexis Lopez (Arizona Flames) took 1st in the 3000 meter with a clocking of 14:05.97.

17-18 Girls

Diamond Black (Arizona Cheetahs) was the 100 m winner in 12.74.

Kyara Watson (Adrenaline Track) took the 200 m in 28.45.

High school standout, Jai Gruenwald (Arizona Cheetahs), took 1st in 400 m in 59.61.

Jackie Soto Acosta (Panthers Athletics) won a close race the 800 m in 2:37.54 as Kyli Alvarez (NX Level) was on her heals in 2:38.46.

Julia Aleman (Arizona Track & Field Academey) won the 1500 with a huge PR of nearly 40 seconds with a time of 5:36.91.

8U Boys

Ari'eon Stevenson (Arizona Cheetahs) had a great day! He ran away with both the 100 and 200 victories (15.17, 32.46 - new PR) and also set a new PR for himself in the 400 m where he took 4th overall with a time 1:22.83 (previous best 1:30.14). Ari'eon's teammate, Eldaah Sharpe, in the 200 m, just missed first by a few beads of sweat as he also ran a new best time for himself (32.51).

Here are some new big PRs for these other athletes in the 100 m:

  • Shaun Kozlowski (Accelerate Track) 23.48 (previous best 26.29)

  • Eric Martin, III (Arizona Rising Suns) 19.64 (previous best 20.92)

  • Kalamaku Akina (Arizona Cheetahs) 18.64 (previous best 21.94)

In the boys 200 meter races, here are some more huge personal records set on Saturday:

  • Bryson Freeman (Elite Striders) 34.31 (previous best 38.57)

  • Jaylen Taylor (Phoenix Elite) 35.57 (previous best 41.48)

  • Canaan Lendsey (Arizona Cheetahs) 48.45 (previous best 50.62)

  • Cy Abdul-Rahman (AZ Burn) 54.79 (previous best 60.53)

There was a close race for first in the 400 meters with teammates (Arizona Cheetahs) Eldaah Sharpe (1st 77.13) getting the best of Tristan Solomon who took 2nd in 77.59.

A couple of strong PRs in the 400 m:

Jaylan Richardson (Arizona Cheetahs) 84.69 (previous best 88.67)

Landon Washington (Arizona Cheetahs) 90.34 (previous best 99.64)

Tristan Solomon (Arizona Cheetahs) won the 800 m in 3:01.79; and although he wasn't in ribbon contention, Mateo Rodriguez ran an impressive new PR for himself, as a digital readout of 3:37.93 bested his 2017 time by over 13 seconds.

9-10 Boys

There was a photo finish in the 100 with Jalen Reed (AZ Flames) taking first in 15.08 and Anderson Douglas (World Class) also having the same time 15.08. Anderson came back in the 200 and would not be denied a first place finish this time with a strong time of 33.25.

Other athletes to mention in the sprints would be Dylan Bonifield (Phoenix Bobcats) who broke the 16-second mark for the first time of his career with a 5th place finish and a time of 15.42. His teammate, Ben Cherny had never broken 20 seconds in the 100 until Saturday, where he clocked a nice new PR of 18.68.

Do Right went 1-2-3 in the 400 and 800 meter races. Amir Thomas placed first in the 400 (72.78) and earlier in the day had won the 800 m by over 10 seconds with a time 2:46.05. Cedric Corbin Jr. was 2nd (75.49) and Andre King, Jr. managed 3rd (76.33) in the 400. Andre also took 3rd in the 800 with a sub-3 performance of 2:56.5. Lorenzo Cuesta, who ran 2:55.67 in the 800 m, rounded out the Do Right sweep as he crossed the line for 2nd place overall.

Jeremi Richard (Distance University) won the 1500 m in 6:52.27.

11-12 Boys

Weslan Sammie Hunter (AZ Cheetahs) had quite a productive day on Mountain Pointe's red oval, where he won the 100 m (13.25), placed 2nd in the 200 m (27.88) and also broke the tape first in the 400 m (62.64).

Jayden Davis (unattached) ruined Hunter's sweep of all three sprints with his win in the 200 m on Saturday (27.55).

There were two astounding PRs in the 400s from our 11-12 boys:

  • Ghani El-Amin (Accelerate Track) - 75.43 (previous best 80.8)

  • Joseph Newton (Arizona Cheetahs) - 77.04 (previous best 84.18)

Our friends south of the border came up to Phoenix to compete on Saturday. Team Mexico runner, Sergio Vivanco Zevada, took the opportunity to win both the 800 m and 1500 m races (2:40.64, 5:38.71).

Our local runners who rounded out the top-3 in the boys 800 meter race were:

  • Nizer Smith 2nd (AZ Flames) 2:47.14

  • Rafael Campos, Jr (NX Level) 3rd with a nice 5 second PR of 2:49.26.

Aidan Squires (Phoenix Bobcats) paced himself to a 1st place finish and a new PR in the 3000 meter race, where he broke 12-min with a time of 11:58.58.


We had some 13-14 speedsters on the track on Saturday:

  • John Ruvo, IV (Phoenix Bobcats) won the 100 and 200 (11.45, 24.26) as well as placing 4th in the 400 with a nice opening season time of 60.04.

  • Brian Fair, Jr (AZ Rising Suns), 2016 All-American, took 2nd in the 100 m with a new PR of 11.85.

  • Cobly Miltenberger (Phoenix Bobcats) was a consistent third in both the 100 and 200 with two new personal bests (12.16, 26.26).

The top-3 performers in the 400 meters were:

  • Landon Meche (NX Level) who took 1st in the 400 (56.69), 2nd in the 200 (25.30) and started his day out winning the 800 - 2:15.02 (with a 15 seconds PR!)

  • Darrion Robinson (AZ Cheetahs) took 2nd in the 400 and broke 60 seconds for first time (58.31).

  • Nicholas LeJander (AZ Cheetahs) also slipped under the 60-seconds wire for the first time with a 3rd place ticking readout of 58.35.

Elijah Levin (NX Level) dipped under 2:20 with a 2nd place time of 2:17.27 in the boys' 800 meter event.

Alexander Murphy (Glendale Flash) won the 1500 m (5:19.47) and 3000 m (11:23.34) to open up his season.

15-16 Boys

Douglass Garrison (World Class), just aged up to the 15-16 division and showed he may be a threat with a 1st place time of 11.77. Owen Thomas (Mustang Stampede) took 2nd in the 100 m with a time of 11.92 (and .5 second PR).

Maybe a club team should try to pick up Issac Davis (unattached) as he won both the 200 m (23.6) and 400 m (50.83) with some very solid early season results.

In the middle distance events, there were some good opening times. Alexander Rafferty, 2017 All-American, (NX Level) strode to first in the 800 meter in 2:05.52. Hunter Garrido (Phoenix Bobcats) took 2nd in the 800 and dipped under 2:10 (2:09.89), which is over a 7-second personal record. Hunter also doubled back in the 1500 meters, where he found victory and another 7-second PR (4:34.08).

Logan LaFerriere (Arizona Track & Field Academy) cruises to 1st in the 3000 meters with a solid early season time of 9:56.67.

17-18 boys

The top two boys in the 100 meters got close to breaking 11-seconds:

  • Omasan Omatseye (Phoenix Bobcats) 11.1

  • Sean Wray (AZ Flames) 11.16. Sean also took 1st in the 200 m later in the day with a nice time of 22.89.

Tamir Water (AZ Cheetahs) was breathing down Sean Wray's neck in the 200 as he managed a strong 2nd finish under 23 seconds (22.95).

The 17-18 boys 400 meters was a race to watch for sure. Top high schoolers, Jaheim Brown-Taylor, who is unattached, took first place and James Smith, 2017 All-American (AZ Flames) placed second. These two young men flew around the track on Saturday with times clocking under 49 seconds for each of them (48.89, 48.99). This is an almost certain sign of great things to come from these two talented Arizonans as we enter into spring.

In the 800 meters, Ian Baker (Arizona Track & Field Academy) 2:05.67 placed first with his teammate, Jonathan Yonke, following only a step or so behind him in 2nd place (2:06.73).

Ethan Mychajlonka (unattached) won the 1500 meters in 4:27.26.

Arizona Track & Field Academy teammates dueled in a tight 3000-meter race where Nico Merickel (9:56.33) edged Ryan Milano (9:57.16).

So, many great times, performance and PRs in the commencing of the 2018 outdoor USATF AZ season. Should be a good year again for our Arizona athletes. Next meet is February 10th at Youngker HS (indoor events only). Hope to see you there.

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