It was blistering hot at the May 24th Meet of Champions......no wait.....it was in the 70's and the weather was perfect. It's hard to believe it was May in Arizona and hot chocolate was selling faster than ice cream. Spectators were wearing jackets or wrapped in blankets and the runners were enjoying another unusually cool day at the track.
The Meet of Champions is a race where the State Champions and top runners from each division come together and race for one title. Some State Champions finish their season at the State Meet but others come to compete.
First up was the girls 1600 meter race. Sophomore Jessica Tonn (4:55.54 Xavier Prep, State Champ 5A I) who won the State Championships in the 800, 1600 and 3200 took the lead from the beginning of the race and led to the finish with Hannah Moen (Coconino, State Champ 4AI) coming in second (4:59.81) and Lindsay Prescott (Sandra Day O'Connor, State Champ 4A II) placing third (5:00.11). Tonn became the second all time 1600 runner in Arizona with her state finish time of 4:50.42. Moen came back and won the 3200 in 11:17.79 beating Jessica Rydberg from Blue Ridge.
The Boys 1600 had six runners entered with times of 4:23 or faster. Sophomore, Brian Shrader (Sinagua, State Champ 4A II) led the group at a very fast pace running 64 and 65 second laps. Just when you thought he was not going to be able to keep up the pace, he kicked it into another gear and finished in 5:15.80, the fastest time in the state this year. Following Shrader was another sophomore, Sherod Hardt (Queen Creek) in 4:24.38. Hardt was the runner up to Shrader in the 4A II State Meet in both the 1600 and the 3200. Rounding out the top three was Junior Larry Hermance, 4:25.49 from Chino Valley. Hermance was the runner up at the 3A State Championships two weeks earlier. Later in the evening the top three 1600 runners finished in the same order in the 3200. Shrader finished in 9:28.02 followed by Hardt, 9:33.70 and Hermance 9:35.53.
Three time individual 5A I State Champion, Junior Larissa Matthews (Chandler), competed in the girls 100 Meter Hurdles, beating the 4A I State Champion Georganne Moline (Thunderbird). Matthews who won the 100 dash, 110 and 300 hurdles and anchored the 4 x 100 State Champion team at the 5A I State meet, won the race in 14.39 to Moline's 15.00. 4A I State Champion Cedrique Smith from Agua Fria also won the 110 hurdles in 14.28 edging out Hamilton's Aaron Willliams (14.42) and Centennial's Jerrell Peterson (14.89). Williams went on to win the 300 meter hurdles in 38.79.
Xavier Prep Junior Sarah Penney, was the runner up in two events at the 5A I State Meet in the 800 and the 1600 and anchored the winning 4 x 800 team. Penney's first place time of 2:14.20 at the Meet of Champions is now the fastest time in the state. Courtney Golden from Gilbert came in second (2:15.35) with Chloe Phillips of Flagstaff coming in third (2:17.89).
4A I Sophomore Serene Williams (Peoria, pictured right), another triple State Champion, won both the 100 meter dash (12.28) and the 200 meter dash (25.27) at the Meet of Champions while 5A I 200 meter State Champ Giorgio Giurdanella (Mountain Ridge, pictured below) won the 100m (10.81) and the 200m (21.96) for the boys. Clark Coyle from Mesa also doubled winning the boys 400 (58.89) and 800 (1:56.18) races.
Other Winners at the Meet of Champions:
Mariah Bowers from Queen Creek won the 400 Meter Dash (58.89)
Valley Christian's Leslie Breanna came in first at 45.51 in the 300 hurdles.
Elyse Weitz from Gilbert jumped 5-04.00 in the high jump for the girls while James Ellisor (Glendale) jumped 6-05.00 for the boys.
Mountain View's Cara Carpenter who won the pole vault at the State Meet with a height of 12-9.00 won the pole vault at the Meet of Champions with a height of 12-00.00. Alec Hsu from Desert Vista pole vaulted 15-06.00 to win for the boys.
In the long jump Samantha Collins from Westwood jumped 19-03.75 for the girls and Mountain View's Grant Dononvant jumped 22-01.50 for the boys. Collins also placed first in the Triple jump with a jump of 37-08.25 while Michael Dunn of Chandler jumped 44.10.00.
Hannah Carson from Dobson, who won both the discus and the shot put at the State Meet, also won both events at the Meet of Champions. Her discus throw was 124-07 and her shot put was 39-08.00 Horizon's Joe Riccio had the same as Carson with both the discus and the shot put at both meets. He threw the discus 160-09 and the shot put 57-08.00.