• David Allison

It's Track Season at USATF Arizona!

It was late January, and while the Midwest part of the U.S. was about to get a polar-chill across it's plains, lovely Phoenix, Arizona got up to mid-70s temps at Mountain Pointe High School last week for the first USATF AZ Regulation meet of the 2019 season. Over 600 young athletes came out and many had a good start to their '19 campaign. Below we highlight both some of the front runners, as well as athletes who have already attained early year PRs (personal records) on the track.

8U Girls

Ellie Carrie (NX Level) won the 100 m in a good early season time of 16.29. Sydney Franklin (Huron Athletics) took 3rd in both the 100 m (17.09) and 200 m (37.34). Elle Buettner (Elite Striders) won the 200 m in a quick sprint of 36.44. Jalyssa Amor Cotton (Arizona Cheetahs) won the 400 m, with an impressive performance of 1:14. Taisley Janssen (NX Level) won the 800 m with nearly a 12-second PR and a finishing time of 3:25.60.

Three young girls who showed marked improvement from their last year best times were:

  1. Jade Womack (AZ Flames) who dropped over 1 second in her 100 m (20.79 to 19.53) and nearly 4 seconds in her 200 m (45.24 to 41.73).

  2. Jiyu Montano (Elite Striders) who slashed over 2 seconds in her 100 m (22.81 to 20.27) and 11 seconds (whaaaat?!?!) in her 200 m (54.50 to 43.50)

  3. Addisyn Hutchinson (Arizona Cheetahs) crushed her last season's best of 1:52.54 in the 400 by running 1:42.33 last Saturday.

9-10 Girls

Devyn Henderson (Arizona Cheetahs) had quite a day last Saturday with three blue ribbons to her credit. Devyn won the 100 m (14.25), 200 m (29.98) and 400 m (1:11.24) - that's quite a triple! Amiyah Barbour (Arizona Rising Suns) didn't have such a bad day either. She took 2nd place in both the 100 m (14.65) and 200 m (30.84). And Aliyah Morrow (Arizona Cheetahs) had a good double as well with two 3rd places in the 100 m (14.75) and 200 m (31.35). Another young woman with a strong double was AZ Burn's Shay Colosimo, who took 4th in the 200 m (31.65) and 2nd in the 400 m (1:11.30). Taliyah Word (Arizona Cheetahs) was yet another fast youth female who had a strong Saturday showing. Taliyah took 3rd place in the 400 m (1:12.44) and came back to win the 1500 m (5:51.82).

In the 800 meters, the top three finishers all had PRs or strong times:

  • Claire Barrett (Arizona Cheetahs) - 1st with a time of 2:54.28

  • Taelyn Janssen (NX Level) - 2nd with a PR of 10-seconds (3:01)

  • Peyton Ellis (Distance University) - 3rd with a PR of 6-seconds (3:03.09)

Four youngins had some nice time breakthroughs on Saturday:

  • Daeja Lee (Power Forward) had a PR in the 100 m (17.55 to 16.55)

  • Rylee Ware (Arizona Cheetahs) sliced over 10-seconds off of her 400 m (1:38.83 to 1:28.48)

  • Summer Cheatham (Do Right) destroyed her 800-m best by running 3:35.12 (previous best 4:04.42)

  • Serena Dupps (Distance University) demolished her 1500-m time from 2018 with a 31-second betterment of 6:20.85 from 6:52.66.

11-12 Girls

Sniyah Cade, who was part of the Arizona Cheetahs All-American 4x100 11-12 Girls team last year at USATF Junior Olympic Nationals, had herself a wonderful beginning to 2019. Sniyah captured three first place awards. Sniyah was 1st in the 100 m (13.10), 200 m (28.02) and 400 m (1:05.72) - all three of these PRs...BAM!

Chiliyah Davis (AZ Flames) had her own pretty special day last week. Chiliyah was 2nd in the 100 m (13.97), 200 m (29.27) and 400 m (1:06.96). I believe Chiliyah is new to the Flames this season and what a nice find for Coach Smith!

One of the USATF AZ clubs may want to try to get Gabrielle Thomas (Unattached) on their squad because she showed signs of being a strong competitor this season. Gabrielle took 3rd in the 100 m (14.17), 4th in the 200 m (29.80) and 5th in the 400 m (1:11.88)...I think I may smell the start of a promising 800-meter career :-)

Two young ladies had good doubles on Saturday. Uriyah Whiten (Elite Striders), who took 3rd in the 200 m (29.66) and 3rd in the 400 m (1:08.59); and Madeline Daily (Distance University) put down some PRs with a 2:31.58 (800 m) and 5:16.03 (1500 m), both good for first place finishes. Also, in the distance races, Silvie Schmelter (Arizona Flames) won the 3000 meters.

Very early season PRs were obtained by this quartet:

  1. Payton Cunico (Huron Athletics) - 100 m PR from 17.27 to 14.56!

  2. Jaeda Bonwell (Arizona Cheetahs) - 100 m PR from 17.07 to 15.79

  3. Leila Plump (Arizona Cheetahs) - 200 m PR from 41.05 to 38.07 and 400 m PR from 1:40.92 to 1:29.99

  4. Camdyn Hay (Power Forward) - 400 m PR from 1:25.23 to 1:18.48

13-14 Girls

This 13-14 girls' division rolls deep with some state, region and national caliber talent. Tara Sommerville (Arizona Cheetahs) started where she left off last season with a PR in the 100 m (12.47), which was good enough for the top spot. She also took 2nd in the 400 m (1:02.73) and then finished her day with a first place sprint in the 200 m (26.63). 2018 All-American athlete, Stacey Onyepunuka (Arizona Rising Suns), had a strong first outing as well last week. Stacey took 3rd in the 100 m (13.02), 2nd in the 200 m (26.84) and first in the 400 m (1:01.51). Another short sprinter standout, Saniah Christian (Arizona Cheetahs), slipped under the 13-second barrier in the 100 m (12.97) for a positive start to 2019.

Three young lasses had some good double event performances last Saturday. Remy Romney (Arizona Cheetahs) placed 3rd in the 400 m, just missing a new PR (1:05.40) and before that had taken second overall in the 800 m with a new personal best of 2:31.67. The girl who beat Remy in the 800 meters, Landen LeBlond (2x All-American in 2018 from NX Level), ran a new personal record of 2:29.96 and then ran another PR in the 400 m (1:05.69) to take 5th overall. Another strong distance runner, Lauren Kazaroff (Arizona Cheetahs), took 4th overall in the 800 meters (2:34.77) and then came back later in the day to win the 1500 meters in 5:18.23.

Angelina Hickey (Arizona Cheetahs) ran a very good opening 3000 meter time (11:37.80) to get her season moving in the right direction and Destiny Carter (Power Forward) had a enormous PR in her 400 meters, where she went from a 1:32.99 to a very respectable 1:18.49 time.

15-16 Girls

Most of this age group we won't see back out on the USATF AZ circuit until late May after their high school seasons conclude. These young women were out here last Saturday to see their baseline fitness thus far. And what we saw was not too shabby.

Katelyn Kragrud (Arizona Cheetahs) took first in the 100 meters (12.81) and third in the 200 meters (28.00). Kylee Kragrud (Arizona Cheetahs) took 2nd in the 100 meters (12.88) and then got some bragging rights back in the Kragrud household by getting 2nd in the 200 meters (27.61).

Ella Escobar (NX Level) took first in both the 400 meters (1:01.56) and the 800 meters (2:29.82). Jadyn Herron-Jonap (Huron Athletics) placed 2nd in the 800 meters (2:37.46), but found a winning stride in the 1500 meters (5:23.33). The last middle-distance double-event top finisher was Eryca Fawkes (Arizona Cheetahs), who won the 3000 meters (12:28.35) and came back later in the afternoon in the 1500 meters where she placed 2nd (5:51.37).

Two other young women we don't want to leave out from last week are Kayla Lott (West Coast Striders) who won the 200 meters in a time of 27.21 and Rahni Turner (AZ Flames), who trimmed her PR in the 400 meters down to 1:02.42 for a 2nd place finish.

17-18 Girls

The young ladies we wish to highlight in the oldest youth division are the following:

  • Kyara Watson (Adrenaline Track) - 1st place in 100 m (13.24) and 200 m (27.76)

  • Jadyn Mays (North Canyon High School Superstar as well as NX Level Club team member) - Opened up her season with a 58.67 400 meter winning time.

  • Zanaa Ramirez (West Coast Striders) - 1st place in the 800 m (2:49.02)

  • Stephany Iza (Glendale Flash) - 1st place in the 1500 m (6:42.43)

8U Boys

Our youngest boys' division showed some good signs of things to come in 2019. Ayden Williams (Arizona Cheetahs) won the 100 m with nice PR (16.66) and crossed the line 2nd in the 200 m (36.94). Jeremiah Jackson (Arizona Cheetahs) also had two top-3 finishes last Saturday. Jeremiah placed 2nd in the 100 meters with a new personal best (17.03) and placed 3rd in the 200 meters with a 3-second improvement (37.28). Our third double top-3 finisher was Eli Gruman (Do Right), who smashed his 400-meter best by over 7 seconds (1:24.36) to place 1st and this is after placing 1st in the 800 meters earlier that day (3:11.97). Demarcus Lynch (Arizona Cheetahs) didn't get top three honors in two events, but rolled the competition in the 200 meters with a first place title and a new PR (35.83) and had over a 7-second PR in the 400 meters to take 4th overall (1:28.41). And Octavius Powell (Glendale Flash) hit the longer distances early, as he placed first in the 1500 meters with a time of 8:04.71.

Three young athletes who showed great promise with some massive time drops were:

  1. Eric Martin III (Power Forward) - PR'd in the 100 m (19.47 to 18.22) and in the 400 m (1:41.94 to 1:34.27).

  2. Kaiden Williams (Arizona Cheetahs) - PR'd in the 100 m (22.11 to 19.64) and the 200 m (53.31 to 46.19).

  3. Eric Hampton III (Do Right) - PR'd in the 200 m (43.45 to 40.17).

9-10 Boys

Donjerome McKoy Jr (Lion Power Sprint) had some serious wheels on Saturday, as he took first in the 100 meters (14.31) and later in the day handled the competition in the 200 meters with a new PR and blue ribbon (29.68). But, Karon Perkins (AZ Flames) was no slouch either, as he PR'd in the 100 meters for 2nd place (14.64) and PR'd again in the 200 meters for 3rd overall (30.84).

In the 400 meters, the top-3 finishers were all below the 1:15-mark. Winner, Eldaah Sharpe (Arizona Cheetahs) ran 1:12.25. Jeremi Richard (Distance University) PR'd for 2nd place (1:13.47) and Cameron Martin (Spotlight Athletics) PR'd with a 3rd place time of 1:14.53.

In the longer events, Christian Cebreros (Panthers Athletics) won the 800 meters with a new personal record of 2:45.09 and Josiah Levin (Distance University) took top honors in the 1500 meters with a finish of 5:52.59.

Four boys showed their legs are turning over much faster than in 2018:

  1. Vander Ingram (Spotlight Athletics) - PR'd in the 100 m (20.42 to 17.61)

  2. Malik Oliver (NX Level) - PR'd in the 400 m (1:21.43 to 1:16.73)

  3. Kainan Megahan (Glendale Flash) - Ginormous PR in the 400 m (1:40.62 to 1:27.41)

  4. Cedric Corbin Jr. (Do Right) - Pr'd in the 800 m (3:07.05 to 3:00.57)

11-12 Boys

Geremiah Flunder (Arizona Rising Suns), who is one of the top runners in the country in his age group, is now an "upper" and so has his eyes on All-American status in the short and long sprints in 2019. Geramiah took 1st in the 100 m (13.32), 2nd in the 200 m (27.49) and 2nd in the 400 m (1:07.09). Devonte Thibeaux (West Coast Striders) may have something to say about Geremiah's dominance in 11-12 this year, as he took 2nd in the 100 m (13.77) and won the 200 meters by a hair (27.46).

Pry'nce Millman (Huron Athletics) a top-national qualifier in a multitude of events is an "upper" as well this year in the 11-12 division and showed his range on Saturday. Pry'nce placed 2nd in the 800 m (2:46.83), 3rd in the 100 m (13.90) and 6th in the 200 m (29.45).

Three young men had some good double-event performances last Saturday:

  1. Adrian Padilla (Power Forward) - won the 400 m (1:04.60) and took 3rd in the 200 m (28.59).

  2. Laqwain Davis (Power Forward) - placed 5th in the 200 m with a PR (28.75) and had another PR in the 400 m (1:09.08) where to crossed in 3rd place.

  3. Jacob Levin (Distance University) - Placed first in both the 800 m (2:44.14) and the 1500 m (5:28.75), where these times were personal bests for him.

And finally, David Knierim (Arizona Cheetahs) won the 3000 meters with a good opening season clocking of 13:18.65.

13-14 Boys

2018 Four-time All-American phenom Destin Jones (Power Forward) may be in a new older age division this year, but I don't think that's gonna make much of a difference bra'! Destin won the 100 m (12.52 - PR), 200 m (25.68 - PR) and barely missed first in the 400 meters with a second place finish (59.42 - PR).

In the short sprints we saw our top finishers with many personal records. Cameron Cooke (Arizona Cheetahs) took 2nd in the 100 m with a new personal best (12.60) and 3rd place, Idan Jones (Power Forward), also had a PR with a 12.87 scurry. In the 200 meters, Otis Knapper (Arizona Cheetahs) nearly dropped 2-full seconds in his new PR (26.35) to hold on for 2nd and Weslan Sammie Hunter (Arizona Cheetahs), who while not setting any new PRs for himself on Saturday, did manage two 3rd place finishes with a 26.68 in the 200 m and 1:01.15 in the 400 m.

Samuel Ford (Arizona Elite) looked smooth in both of his races as he won the 400 m in 59.29 and had a huge gap on the field in the 800 m to run a 2:20.

In distance, Evan Hofstetter (Unattached) won the 1500 m (5:11.79) and Brayden Levander (Arizona Speedstars) took 2nd (5:22.72) after earlier in the day winning the 3000 m in 11:23.51.

Lastly, West Coast Striders' runner, Deandre Thibeaux had a very impressive new personal best last Saturday as he went from his old best of 1:11.82 to 1:03.50, which is over an 8-second improvement - Wowzers Deandre!

15-16 Boys

As we get to our older divisions, these young men are mostly getting ready for the high school season and came out last Saturday to get a barometer on their training thus far.

Owen Thomas (Mustang Stampede) ran two PRs for top honors in the 100 meters (11.55) and 400 meters (53.82) for a good early season start. 2018 All-American Pentathlete, Yan Vazquez (AZ Flames), showed last Saturday why he is a multi-sport animal, as he took 3rd in the 100 meters with a new PR of 12.27 and also had another personal record in the 400 meters (54.78) for a strong 2nd place showing. Short sprinter, Jordan Thompson (Huron Athletics), won the 200 meters (24.87) and earlier in the day took 4th place in the 100 meters (12.33) to get a good beginning for his track season.

As we move to the middle-distance and distance events, Jorge Corona (Pathers Athletics) won the 800 m in 2:13.28, Elijah Levin (Unattached) won the 1500 m (4:32.87) and Lucas Grunden (Arizona Tack & Field Academy) won the 3000 m (11:07.02) and placed 3rd in the 1500 m (5:12.52).

17-18 boys

The oldest youth division illustrated that some were already ready for the high school season around the corner. Sean Wray (AZ Flames) PR'd in the 100 m (10.89) and ran a strong 200 m (22.92) for two first place ribbons. Nick Vargas (Arizona Speedstars) was on Wray's heels, as he took 2nd in both the 100 m and 200 m as well with times of 11.35 and 23.10, respectively. Nick also won the 400 m with a good early season clocking of 52.51.

2018 All-American runner, Alexander Rafferty (NX Level), opened up his season with a good 2:05.11 in the 800 meters to grab first place. Adam Whitehead (Huron Athletics) ran a very impressive 1500 m (4:17.04), which he ran basically by himself and set a nice PR in the process. Adam also took second to Rafferty in the 800 m (2:06.65). Bryan Godines (Glendale Flash) won the 3000 m (10:53.23) and took second in the 1500 m (4:53.50). Finally, the Glendale Flash 4x400 team put down a 4:34.18 with the team of Aaron Angulo, Jose Rios, Bran Godines and Carlos Lopez.

Next meet is February 9th at McClintock High School - indoor events only.

See you out there on the track!

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