While the Track and Field Season in Arizona concludes at the State Championships, the Meet of Champions has traditionally been the encore presentation for State Champions and podium finishers to showcase one last time in State before moving on to Great Southwest or other post-season competitions. While conditions at the State Meet were less than optimal for breaking records and reaching lifetime bests, the Meet of Champions sought to give several of Arizona's best another shot.
The meet started with the Boys Pole Vault which concluded with a massive victory for Valley Vista's Cole Riddle. After setting the State Record for Boys' Pole Vault at Desert Vista's Last Chance meet, Cole experienced a disappointing 3rd place finish at the Division 1 State Meet. He then moved on to the Meet of Champions where he cleared 17-07 to add two more inches to his State Record and cement his legacy for Valley Vista High School and the State of Arizona. Sevannah Hanson (Desert Vista, So.) won the Girls Pole Vault, clearing 12-06.
Tolleson Union's Trey Johnson (Sr.) got things rolling for the sprints with a 10.59 in the 100-meter dash, only two one-hundredths of a second off his personal best time from Chandler Rotary. He later won the Long Jump as well with a mark of 24-01.5. Division 3 Champ for the 200-meter dash Hannah Flodin (Sr.) ripped 12.25 to win the Girls' 100 and later ran 25.02 in the 200, 2nd only to Jadyn Mays' (North Canyon, Fr.) 24.48 performance. Division 2 runner-up, Umajesty Williams (Chaparral, Sr.) dominated the 200 and 400-meter dashes in 21.73 and 48.39.
In the Throws, AZ Discus record-holder Turner Washington (Canyon Del Oro, Sr.) threw 216-06 to win the event. Austin Jackson (North Canyon, Sr.) took 2nd with 187-06 and third place went to Scottsdale Prep's Weston Wright who threw a PR of 180-07 to shatter the Arizona Division 4 Record. Jaisen Brown (Show Low, Sr.) and Kayleigh Conlon (Mountain Pointe, Sr.) won the Boys and Girls Shot Put contests respectively. Chandler's Samantha Ponds (Jr.) made an enormous breakthrough to win the Girl's Discus with a throw of 145-08, demolishing her PR by over 7 feet.
Aidan Diggs (Millennium, Jr.) took the win in the 110 Hurdles early in the meet with 14.79, and Division 2 bronze-medalist Myreanna Bebe (Queen Creek, So.) blazed a PR of 14.56 to win the 100 Hurdles and finish the season ranked 4th in the State. Later that evening, Elisha Brooks (Brophy, So.) and James Smith (Westwood, Jr.) faced off in the Intermediate Hurdles. Elisha powered through to hold off Smith in 37.45 to 37.93, for a new AZ Sophomore Record!
In the Girls 1600, Sarah Carter (Sr.) pushed the pace along through 72 seconds for the first lap and then 2:26 through 800 opening the gap between her and the chase. She shut it down in 4:55, while Sophomores Samantha Schadler (Rio Rico) and Abi Archer (Chaparral) took 2nd and 3rd, clocking in at 4:58.02 and 4:58.42 to enter the sub-5 club. The Girls 800 featured an attempt at a State Record, between current record holder Morgan Foster (Chandler, So.) and Allie Schadler (Rio Rico, Sr.). Morgan's teammate Anna Foreman (Jr.) paced her and Allie through 64 seconds for the first lap. With just 50 meters to go, Allie pulled ahead for the victory in 2:08.
Before we knew it, it was time for the Boys 3200; easily the most loaded field of the meet. Rabbits paced the leaders through 67 seconds per lap hoping to set up an opportunity for some sub-nine minute performances. Michael Barney (Saguaro, Sr.) led hard through the first half, until Abdi Nur (North, Jr.) took control in lap 5. Manny Olivo (Buena, Sr.) then took the helm coming through the lap 6 mark at around 6:57. Manny held nothing back as he pulled away and then dropped 63 seconds for the bell lap to clock in at 9:10.78. Four more guys followed under 9 minutes 25 seconds, including underclassmen Caden Hercules (Desert Mountain, 3rd place) and Rylan Stubbs (Campo Verde, 5th place) who cracked through with massive PRs. Hociel Landa (Brophy, Sr.) finished 2nd in 9:18.54 and Michael Barney (Saguaro, Sr.) took 3rd in 9:20.89.
Just like that the Arizona Meet of Champions had delivered a show that brought the 2017 Outdoor Track and Field season to a close. These past few months we saw school State Records fall time and time again without a clue as to what to expect next. Best wishes all competing post-season this summer across the country.