On February 25th The First Annual Richard Thompson Track and Field Invitational was held at South Mountain High School and for a specific reason. Head coach Dwayne Evans (South Mountain High School) was coached by Richard Thompson who started mentoring young athletes in 1968. With almost 50 years of experience Coach Thompson has coached athletes from South Mountain and other areas of Phoenix. When interviewed Thompson shared, "I feel so blessed. I am humbled to be here today and to be around so many great coaches and athletes..It is a true honor."
With perfect meet conditions many athletes hit early qualifying marks and fast times. Scottsdale Prep's Alexandria Goodson easily won the Pole Vault with a height of 11-06. The most impressive athlete in the field events was Elijah Mason (Desert Vista) who threw the disc with a personal record of 198-03. Mason was ecstatic and the other throwers and spectators congratulated him for his outstanding performance. Mason stated, "Coach Hickle told me the hard work would pay off and it has. I am very excited about my season". Samantha Ponds of Chandler won the shot put with an impressive throw of 39-02.50).
In the triple jump Jillian Lombardi from Desert Vista jumped 37-02.50 feet and teammate Jenna Figueroa jumped 35-10.50. Hamilton's Noah Figueroa handled the field in the long jump marking 23-07.00 feet. High Jumper Olivia Magby of Mountain Ridge won the event clearing 5-02.
The running events started with Gabrielle Enns (Chandler) winning the 3200m with a time of 11:52. Hamilton's David Nelsen broke away the last 600 meters to win the 3200m by 14 seconds (9:49.39). In the 100m dash Autumn Boyd (South Mountain) pulled away from the Chandler girls running a winning time of 12.00 seconds. Kendon Walker (10.89) of Chandler won the boys 100m race. (Below Autum Boyd wins 100m dash photo by Anna Rodriguez)
The Chandler girls dominated in the 1600m sweeping all three medals led by Morgan Foster (1st), Kylie Welch (2nd), and Becca Taylor (3rd). All three Chandler girls finished with a time of 5:13. Desert Vista's Aksel Laudon broke 4:30 (4:27) for 1600 meters with teammate Travis Kearney close behind (4:33). Anna Forman (Chandler) and Melanie Loft (Hamilton) battled to the finish with Forman edging out Loft in the 400m dash. The top 4 girls went under 58 seconds. North Canyon girls won the 4x100m (48.25) and 4x800m (9:43) relays. On the boys side Chandler won the 4x100m relay but barely edged out Desert Vista (42.66). James Smith from Westwood ran the fastest time of the day in the 300 meter hurdles with a winning time of 38.39.
As the meet came to an end all eyes were on Desert Vista and Chandler Boys 4x400m relay. From the gun both teams were battling to the finish. Desert Vista (3:26.22) edged out Chandler (3:26.36) to claim the relay title. The team Champion Trophy went to the Desert Vista boys and Chandler girls.