• David Allison

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Copper Canyon Regulation Meet Continues to Show Youth Progress

Last Saturday's USATF AZ Regulation Meet at Copper Canyon High School in Glendale continued to show fans, coaches and loved ones that our kids are thriving this season. Many times dropped, marks improved, a state record was set and one was almost broken.

8U Girls

Ava Davis (Arizona Track Stars) continues her domination in the 8 and Under Girls' sprints, as she once again took the 100 (15.09), 200 (31.67 - season PR) and 400 (1:16.74) honors on the Copper Canyon track in Glendale. Amayla Burnett (AZ Cheetahs), even though she couldn't catch Davis in those three events was another triple-threat finisher in the sprints with three PRs in the process! She took third in the 100 (15.74), second in the 200 (33.72) and second in the 400 (1:21.94).

Other event winners on Saturday were Grace Gelder (Huron Athletics), who showed her range by winning the long jump with a new season PR of 3.05 meters and also took first place in the 800 (3:17.95). Ariana Hurtando (Accelerate Track) won the 1500 m with a new season's best time of 6:55.16. The AZ Flames dropped their 4x100 time by a couple seconds (1:09.98) to break the tape. Haleigh Jones, Kiara Perkins, Alyha Morgan and Aaliyah Gardner were the members of that quick group. Alaya Felix (AZ Cheetahs) won the shot put with a strong mark of 4.88 meters and Haleigh Jones (AZ Flames) once again won the mini-javelin in the 8U division on a windy day (12.41 meters).

Some of the best time improvements for the day went to these three young athletes:

  • Kaylee Chavez (Arizona Track Stars) in the 400 m dropped over 6 seconds to have a new season's best time of 1:23.19

  • Jade Womack (AZ Flames) broke the 50-second barrier for the first time in the 200 meters, as she sliced 5 seconds from her fastest time of the year to run 49.33.

  • Vida Jones (AZ Cheetahs) is nearing that 50-second threshold as well in the 200, as she also dropped over 5 seconds to give her a new PR of 52.52.

Great improvement in the field events were seen by these two young ladies:

  • Sophia Schultz (Elite Striders) got over the 2-meter mark in the long jump with over a .3 meter improvement (2.21 m) and then showed she's not all feet as she let fly the mini-javelin for a 3rd place ribbon and a new PR by over a meter (8.26 m).

  • Zuri White (Vail Vipers) also showed her javelin prowess, as she is getting a better understanding of how to toss the javelin with over a 1-meter improvement for 8th place and a 5.46 meter season's best.

9-10 Girls

Four 9-10 division girls stood out with some multiple top performances for the day. Imani Galera-Young (AZ Cheetahs) showed some terrific turnover as she won and set two new personal records for herself in the 100 (14.26) and 200 (29.54). Another Imani - Imani Watson (AZ Titans) won the 1500 (5:39.79), took second in the 800 (2:41.26) and also showed some good speed getting second place as well in the 400 (1:12.01) - quite a triple indeed! Kassidy DeVorce (AZ Cheetahs) had a stellar day for herself. She had a comfortable win in the 400 (1:08.01) and then sped around the turn in the 200 for a second place finish and new season's best (29.58). Away from the track, we saw Jerzy Robinson (Do Right) show her stuff in the field events. Jerzy, after a few shaky throws in the javelin, put it together with a monster toss of 23.41 m for the win. Jerzey also had her way in the shot put, where she won comfortably there as well with a distance of 7.54 meters.

The other 9-10 girls who were triumphant on Saturday were Taliyah Word (AZ Cheetahs) who won the 800 with a new season's best of 2:40.29. The Arizona Cheetahs (Claire Barrett, A'Zariah Burnett, Justice Sims and Jamiyah Ware) won the 4x100 in 1:03.32. Another Cheetah, Bird Giles-Purcell won the high jump with a height of 1.05 meters and yet another Cheetah, Jaiden Ware won the long jump with a season's best jump of 3.76 meters...Wow, those Cheetah 9-10 girls are fierce!

We witnessed these three girls improve their times on Saturday:

  • Amaya Foster (Phoenix Bobcats) dropped over a second in the 100 m for a new best of 16.28 seconds.

  • Emilia Wilson (NX Level) macheted her 400 meter time by nearly 10 seconds as she broke the 90-second barrier with a 1:28.39 finish.

  • Aniyah Martin (Arizona Rising Suns) absolutely crushed her previous best time this year by over 12 seconds to break 2:50 in the 800 with 4th place finish of 2:49.70.

More impressive mark improvements were also seen in the field events with these three young athletes:

  • Bryonna Stroughter (Arizona Rising Suns) took second in the long jump with a huge season PR of nearly a meter as she landed in the pit 3.49 m away from the board.

  • Madeline Schultz (Elite Striders) must have had her Wheaties (is that even a thing anymore - am I dating myself?) on saturday as she took second place in the shot put by throwing 1.34 meters farther than her best throw of this season (5.09 m).

  • Madeline's teammate, Amyiah Rodriguez must have gotten the Wheaties memo, because she threw the mini-javelin almost 5-meters farther than her previous best and took 7th place with a mark of 11.04 meters.

11-12 Girls

The 11-12 girls division is stacked with some great young talent. Stacey Onyepunuka (Arizona Rising Suns) won all three sprinting events (and set season bests in the shorter two), as she ran 12.97 in the 100, 26.90 in the 200 and 1:00.10 in the 400. Taliyah Henderson (AZ Titans) won the 800 (2:31.10), but also showed she is not just a middle-distance runner by taking second in both the 200 (27.75 - PR) and 400 (1:01.90 - PR) long sprints. Sniyah Cade (AZ Cheetahs) had three seasons best for herself, while reaching top-3 finishes in each event. Sniyah took second in the 100 (13.49), third in the 200 (28.60) and second in the long jump (4.10 m).

As we turn to top field event girls in this division we'd be remiss not to mention Mikalah Meeker (Phoenix Bobcats), who won both the discus (18.60 m - season PR!) and shot put (7.99 m) - that's some good throwing, sister! Another big-time thrower is Coco Velazquez (AZ Flames), who set two PRs in the shot and discus, where she placed behind Meeker. Coco got the shot out 7.93 m and sliced the air with the discus 17.44 m. In Coco's strongest event, the javelin, she won with a good throw through the gusty winds for a 23.31-meter landing.

The girls who won their respective events went like this on Saturday:

  • Landen Leblond (NX Level) - beating the entire field (boys and girls) with a great win and PR in the 1500 meters (5:10.04).

  • Kalyn Black (NX Level) won the 3000 meters in a cruising time of 11:44.33.

  • Remy Romney (AZ Cheetahs) won the 80-meter hurdles in 15.89.

  • The AZ Flames relay team (Kianna Reed, Camille Bailey, Navae Guidry, Tatiyanna White) won the 4x100 in a speedy gait of 57.80.

  • Sky Louve (AZ Cheetahs) has a name that is apropos for her chosen event. Sky had a sweet PR in the high jump moving up into the clouds with 1.35-meter height.

  • SaRae Kennard (Quicksilver) won the long jump with a soaring leap of 4.29 meters.

Highlighting a few of our improved running girls on Saturday, we saw Kamora Fountain (Quicksilver) drop two seconds in her 200 meters, for a new season's best of 29.01 seconds. Zoe Moxley (AZ Cheetahs) saw a huge improvement in her 400-meter time, as she got it down to 1:33.83 - nearly a 10 seconds drop! And distance runner, Bianca Hurtado (Accelerate Track), improved in both the 800 m (2:44.46) and 1500 m (5:41.81), where she dropped 9+ seconds and 11+ seconds respectively.

In field events, improvement were found with M'Tima Hamilton (AZ Cheetahs) who went from 1.04 m to 1.10 m in the high jump to take 5th place. Amaya Sanchez (AZ Cheetahs) found a 2.61-meter mark in the long jump to improve her season's long of 2.43 m and Ava Clegg (Phoenix Flyers) took 3rd in the shot put by improving her distance from 6.41 m to 6.56 m.

13-14 Girls

We had four girls in the 13-14 division have multiple top finishes/places on Saturday. If you want to talk jumps then Gloriah Hussey (Unattached) is the girl to be watching. Gloriah won the triple jump (8.59 m), long jump (4.36 m) and placed second in the high jump (1.45 m) - all three of these marks were season highs! Neya Jamison (Unattached) kept Hussey from her jump sweep by getting over 1.5 m in the high jump (season's best) and she also won the 100-meter hurdles (16.83) for a nice double.

Moving to running, Sophia Noriega (AZ Cheetahs) won both the 3000 m (11:19.39) and 1500 m (5:16.86) - both of these times were HUUUUUUGE PRs for Sophia - way to go young lady! In the shorter distances, Tara Sommerville (AZ Cheetahs) placed second in the 100 m (12.80) and 200 m (26.84); Tara also placed second in the long jump with a 4.24 m landing.

The rest of our young women winners from Saturday were as follows:

  • Drycaea Berry (AZ Cheetahs) - 200 Hurdles - 31.96

  • Sabatiney Onyepunuka (Arizona Rising Suns) - 200 m - 26.80 (season best)

  • Saniah Christian (AZ Cheetahs) - 100 m - 12.78 (season best)

  • Indiah Fields (Unattached) - 400 m - 1:00.03

  • Kianna Jones (Phoenix Elite) - 800 m - 2:28.78

  • Bethany McAllister (Arizona Track & Field Academy) - 1500 m - 5:10.21 (season best)

  • Katherine Valencia (AZ Cheetahs) - Shot / Discus - 6.82 m / 17.05 m

  • Kiara Reed (AZ Flames) - Javelin - 23.06 m

Jazmin Corbin (Do Right) was one of the three girls we are spotlighting for their great personal improvement around the red oval. Jazmin dropped over 4 seconds in her 400 to run a 1:13.54. Naaeira Muhammad (Glendale Flash) cut 10 seconds from her 1500-meter time to run a 6:25.54 and Cassandra Munoz (Elite Sports) had a great positive time revision as she ran 21.6 in the 100-meter hurdles, which was almost a 4-second improvement.

Na'ilah Muhammad (Glendale Flash) had a .24 m farther jump then her previous best this year to end up with 3.35 m. Yakira Wade (Arizona Rising Suns) had her best distance of the year in the shot put (6.27 m) and Violet Thatcher (Vail Vipers) threw two-meters better in the javelin to end up with a 13.75 m distance.

15-16 Girls

Subreena Washington (AZ Burn) was one of four teens who won two events in the 15-16 division. Subreena won the 100 (13.62) and 200 (28.46) - both times season bests. Isabella Ferguson (Glendale Flash) won the 300 hurdles (55.97) and long jump (4.71), which were both personal season records. Megan Joksimovic (Phoenix Bobcats) took the two distance events, winning the 3000 (13:09.53) and 1500 (6:09.91). Lastly, Maricela Ontiveros (Elite Striders) won the shot (8.08 m) and discus (20.78 m) in the field events.

The other five victors on Saturday in the 15-16 division were:

  • Daejahnai Huckaby (Arizona Track Stars) - 400 m - 1:08.72 (season best)

  • Elana Yoder (NX Level) - 800 m - 2:42.16 (season best)

  • Maliyha Cholowsky (AZ Burn) - 100 H - 21.19

  • Leah Gunter (AZ Cheetahs) - High Jump - 1.20 m

  • Lisa Jackson (AZ Cheetahs) - Javelin - 9.53 m

Jillian Lyon (NX Level) bettered her season's fastest times in not one, not two, but three different events. Jillian ran a 34.28 in the 200, which was a 2+ second PR; she dropped almost three seconds in her 400 (1:20.76) and almost seven seconds in her 800 (3:10.12).

17-18 Women

The two young women who saw the most success in the 17-18 Women's division were Marleen Van Gils (Elite Striders) and Jocsellys Nieves (Unattached). Marleen placed second in the 100 with a new season's record of 15.87, second in the 400 (1:17.11), first in the shot put (5.70 - PR) and first in the long jump (3.69 m). Jocsellys won all her events and set personal season records in all of them. In the 400 she ran 1:11.14, in the 200 she busted through the 30-second barrier to run 29.54 and in the 100 she broke through the 15-second line by running 14.55.

8U Boys

The Arizona Flames' Karon Perkins won the 100 meters in the quickest time for himself this year (15.43). In the 4x100, The Arizona Cheetahs team of Ari'eon Stevenson, Alykzander Colter, Jaylen Richardson and Eldaah Sharpe place first by getting around the baton in 1:06.81. Unattached athlete, Casden Matsler, won the boys' shot put with a solid attempt of 5.49 meters.

Only three boys won the remaining six individual events in the 8U division. Eldaah Sharpe (AZ Cheetahs) won the 200 and 400 with fast times of 30.95 (PR) and 1:16.06, respectively. Sharpe's teammate, Tristan Solomon, won the middle-distance events as he clocked 5:53.67 in the 1500 m and 2:50.12 in the 800 m. Paix Montano (Elite Striders) was the victor in the long jump with a huge personal record of 3.67 m and then set another PR for himself in the javelin with a winning throw of 16.18 m.

One of the biggest time improvements of the day was had by Daequan Sumpter-Jones (Do Right), who went from 33.46 to 21.92 in his 100 meter. Jaden Flores (AZ Titans) knocked-off 3 seconds from his 100 meter time to run a 16.43 best. And Nikolai Uraine (Power Forward) managed to run 15 seconds quicker in his 1500 meters with a new fastest time of 7:10.43.

Kamari Oakry (AZ Cheetahs) long jumped a season's best of 3.27 m, which was almost a .5 meter improvement to get him second place overall. Jaylen Richardson also bettered his jumping distance by .62 meters to take 4th with a 3.12 m mark. Lastly, AZ Titans' Julian Nochez improved by nearly three meters with a new best throw in the javelin of 5.87 meters.

9-10 Boys

We will focus first on the best personal positive changes that occurred on the track on Saturday.

Max Columbus (Phoenix Flyers) had a season's best time of close to seven seconds as he ran 1:21.81 in the 400 meters. Ja'quaz Jiles (Do Right) mapped out a plan to crush his previous 200-meter best time and did so by slashing four seconds off it to run 32.37. Le'Markus Corley (Elite Striders) found another gear or two as he devastated his previous fastest 100-meter time by over two seconds with a speedy finish of 17.59 seconds.

In field events, Avaurie Quarles (AZ Cheetahs) must have had helium in his soles as he flew in the air a bit farther on Saturday with a new personal best in the long jump of 3.26 meters. Anthony Donald (Phoenix Bobcats) obviously found some more turnover down the runway, as he had a great improvement in his long jump mark by getting 2.83 meters in the pit. And Ethan Pinkney (Vail Vipers) must have done a few extra push ups before throwing almost four meters farther in the javelin, as the tip landed in the grass 15.68 meters away.

There were four boys who saw multiple top places on Saturday. Amir Thomas (Do Right) was one of them. Amir took second in both the 100 (14.07) and 200 (29.18), but couldn't be too disappointed as both of those times were new PRs. Alijah Whiten (Arizona Track Stars) took third in the 100 (14.29) and then came back to win the 400 (1:11.60) in his fastest time of the year yet. Noah Roberts (former 8U superstar) of Quicksilver, has moved up to the 9-10 division this year without missing a beat. Noah won the 200 in a blistering best time of 27.78 and also soared through the air in the long jump to win that event with a 3.75 meter best. In the longer distances, Lorenzo Cuesta (Do Right) won the 800 in 2:51.35 (PR!) and came back to win the 1500 meters in 5:44.24 - a fine double, indeed!

Other triumphant athletes on Saturday were:

  • Dominic Wilson (Quicksilver) - 100 m - 14.05

  • Do Right (Fredric Murray Jr, Cedric Corbin Jr, Darion Jones, Amir Thomas) - 4x100 - 58.43

  • Mission Uperesa-Thomas (Do Right) - shot put - 8.16 m

  • Kristan Escobedo (Arizona Track Stars) - javelin - 27.26

11-12 Boys

The 11-12 boys division was packed with countless great performances and improvements by a wide array of athletes.

Athletes who won their events were:

  • Keane Abril (AZ Cheetahs) - discus - 17.60 m (over 2-meter improvement!)

  • Elijah Roberson (Elite Striders) - shot put - 9.65 m (PR)

  • Michael Noyd (AZ Flames) - high jump - 1.25 m

  • AZ Cheetahs (Tristan Halsana, Cameron Cooper, Cameron Cooke, Otis Knapper) - 4x100 - 53.50

  • Legend Stewart (AZ Flames) - 80 m hurdles - 13.19

  • Aidan Squires (Phoenix Bobcats) - 3000 m - 11:16.94 (14+ second time drop!)

  • Braden Lolli (Phoenix Flyers) - 1500 m - 5:12.00 (PR)

  • Royal Haley (Arizona Rising Suns) - 800 m - 2:32.11

These following athletes showed they were not just a one-trick pony, as they placed in the top-3 in more than one event on Saturday.

For Geramiah Flunder (Arizona Rising Suns), "3 is a magic number", as he set three PRs in three events on Saturday - all for second places (it would have been cool, if they were all third places as well to continue this "3" tie-in, but I'm still going with it). Geramiah ran 12.99 in the 100, 26.33 in the 200 and 1:00.13 in the 400. Sammie Hunter (AZ Cheetahs) set two PRs for himself as he headed for two wins in the 400 (58.45) and 200 (26.01) - speedy, dude! Destin Jones (Power Forward) by the hair of his chinny-chin-chin beat out Flunder in the 100 with a new best of 12.98 and then came back to run third in the 400 (1:01.51). Cameron Cook (AZ Cheetahs) had a season's best in the 100 (13.19) for third and showed with a runway and a board that victory would be his as he jumped another 2018 best for himself with a 4.53 meter sand-splash. Nizer Smith (AZ Flames) I thought might have gotten the high jump record, as he was jumping up and down with jubilation after his new PR and new AZ State record in the aero-javelin (36.61 m) on Saturday - Congrats! Nizer also came in second in the 80-meter hurdles (14.00).

Some great upgrades in personal times were had by these lads:

  • Benjamin Harper (AZ Titans) - 200 m - from 48.26 to 42.13

  • Zachary Craft (Accelerate Track) - 400 m - from 1:21.53 to 1:11.72

  • Frederick LeVinus (Phoenix Bobcats) - 1500 m - from 6:41.48 to 6:11.33

More upgrades were found with these boys in field events:

  • Romeo Berryhill (AZ Titans) - long jump - from 3.70 m to 4.03 m (4th!)

  • Anthony LeJander (AZ Cheetahs) - long jump - from 2.66 m to 3.15 m

  • De'Mar Coleman (AZ Rising Suns) - long jump - from 2.00 m to 2.69 m

13-14 Boys

We had three young men who found the podium in three individual events on Saturday in the 13-14 division.

Brian Fair Jr (AZ Rising Suns) had personal bests in all of his events. Brian placed second in the 100 (11.75) and 200 (23.66), but his 400 was the race to see him at his best. Brian seemingly effortlessly got around that track in 51.87 seconds, which was just a few tenths off the Arizona state record of 51.60 set by Mark Matiski (Phoenix Bobcats) in 2008.

They do know how to run hurdles over there in AZ Flames land! Yan Vazquez won both the 100- and 200-meter hurdles in 15.22 and 29.51 seconds, respectively. Yan also set a new PR for himself in the high jump, which he won with a height of 1.55 m.

With guys like Ruvo IV and Fair Jr to compete against week-after-week, one can't be too broken up when taking third place. Zachary Hollinquest (AZ Burn) is that guy. He placed third in the 100 (11.97 - PR) and 200 (24.26), but he won the long jump in a good mark for him of 5.33 meters.

Other winners on Saturday:

  • John Ruvo IV (Phoenix Bobcats) - 100 / 200 - 11.46 / 22.92 (PR)

  • Landon Meche (NX Level) - 800 m - 2:10.48 (PR)

  • Alexander Murphy (Glendale Flash) - 1500 m - 4:59.74 (PR)

  • Elijah Levin (NX Level) - 3000 m - 10:00.78 (PR)

  • AZ Burn (Andereya Nsubuga, Jamison Stamps, Errick Tamplin Jr, Zachary Hollinquest) - 4x100 - 49.32

  • Nicholas LeJander (AZ Cheetahs) - shot / discus - 10.92 m (PR) / 37.07 m (PR)

  • Charlie Allison (Phoenix Flyers) - javelin - 41.54 m

The Phoenix Flyers saw the biggest gains in the field events with Charlie Allison getting a season best jump of 4.87 m (a .25 m improvement) and teammate Robert Vloemans going from 7.27 m to 7.72 m in the shot put and then from 16.75 m to 19.39 m in the discus!

Progress in the running events were spread around to various teams. Saif Elijah Woods (AZ Cheetahs) time didn't just drop but plummeted at warp speed from 27.53 to 25.84 in the 200 meters. Keith Hayes (Arizona Speedsters) took almost seven-tenths off his 100 m time to run 15.19 and Micah Sanders Jr (Glendale Flash) saw his time in the 400 go from 1:07.02 to 1:02.49, so sub-60 is now in his sights.

15-16 Boys

Four boys were multiple winners in this division. Tyler Rafferty (NX Level) didn't PR, but came awfully close while running the 1500 (4:50.51), 800 (2:17.91) and 400 (58.97). Ryan Miller (Unattached) jumped 4.55 m in the long jump (season best) and opened up the season in the 300 hurdles with a 53.84 time. Amar Elmore (Do Right), thrower extraordinaire, threw 11.61 m in the shot put and 38.18 m in the discus to begin his season. And Kaden Cloud (Accelerate Track) bested his times in the 100 (11.77) and 200 (24.21).

17-18 Boys

Jacob Cole (Arizona Elite) won all the sprinting events and set new season bests for himself in the process. Jacob ran 11.63 in the 100 m, 23.12 in the 200 and 53.14 in the 400 to round out a pretty solid day for this young man.

Next meet is this Saturday at South Mountain High School. Hope to see you there, and if not, have a happy and safe Easter.

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