(Photo by John Hays)
Being without an Indoor Track season, most of Arizona has never even seen an Indoor Track. Fortunately, USATF puts on the Annual Arizona Indoor Classic every February for club teams at the NAU Skydome where athletes can compete in an indoor facility.
The meet kicked off this past Sunday, with the 3000m dominated by Frankie Bisacky (Sr.) out of Las Vegas, Nevada in just over 10 minutes. Brandon Perez (Sr.) of Glendale Flash finished 2nd in 10:39. On the girl's side Allyson Arellano of Aftershock Distance ran 11:28 as the only girl in the 3k race.
The two best returning boy and girl Shot Putters for AZ, Tyson Jones (Sr.) and Kaleigh Conlon (Sr.), made the trek up to Flagstaff for their first competitive tosses of 2017 and dominated their fields with throws of 18.48m and 12.96m respectively.
State runner-up for Pole Vault, Cole Riddle proved to be another name to watch this Outdoor season. On Sunday he cleared 4.9 meters which comes out to 16 feet 0.75 inches. His PR from May of last year was 16' 6". Returning State Champ of Division 4, Ali Goodson (Phoenix Bobcats TC), was the top female vaulter in the dome on Sunday, having cleared just a shade under her PR of 12 feet.
In the 400 meters, Division 2 runner-up Roderick Lockett Jr. ran his tune-up 400 at altitude in 50.43 seconds finishing 1st, ahead of Leroy Tellis and James Smith. Earlier that day, in the 55m Hurdles, James Smith (Jr.) opened his year with a 7.67 performance for the AZ Flames Track Club. On the girl's side, Anna Foreman led the charge for her club, Arizona Cheetahs finishing in 57 seconds. Her Chandler teammate, La Meyah Charlton, crossed the finish in 2nd in 57.09, this time for the Elite Striders Track Club. In 3rd and 4th were Anaya Bailey and Jai Gruenwald in 58.23 and 58.26.
Next in the 17-18 girls division of the 800, Makennah Mills made the push to break from the chase pack over the first lap. Arellano reeled her back in the second time around and held strong in a finish of 2:23 to Makennah Mills' 2:26 for 2nd. Samantha Deane of Arizona Speedsters finished 3rd in 2:33. Both Deane and Mills had also run 1:02 in the 400m earlier that day.
The final distance race was the combined 1500m for all ages, where Frankie returned to finish his day in hopes of another victory. Bisacky and Perez broke away early along with Matthew Candelaria, also out of Nevada, though Frankie would not relinquish the lead and with a lap to go, he emptied the tank and kicked home in 4:27. Candelaria would finish 2nd in 4:35. Allyson Arellano was the first girl across the finish line in 5:01 for 1500.
Finally the 4x300 meters which combined boys and girls 15-18 year olds, closed out the meet with runs of 2:28 by NX Level Track Club, 2:37 and 2:47 by the Mustang Stampede's two boy squads and then a 3:27 run by the Mustang's only girls relay team.
While the Indoor Classic had a relatively small high school presence, it still gave athletes the opportunity to test themselves at altitude. Some athletes even came away with Indoor pr's just off their top marks for outdoor. Though Arizona gets the luxury of training outside year-round, it's empowering to know that you're consistently in-shape and ready to go.