Thunder Invite - Meet Recap

Zachary Landa at Meet of Champions 2019. Zachary is US #1 in discus in 2020 after a huge throw at Thunder Invite.

It was a beautiful last day of February at Desert Vista high school for the Thunder Invite yesterday. The good weather brought out some awesome early season performances for some of our Arizona athletes.



Zachary Landa of Desert Ridge threw a monstrous PR in the discus of 195-7, which puts him US #1 in the early outdoor season. This is nearly a 30-foot personal best for Zachary in this event. 

Mason Hickel of the host school Desert Vista took 3rd in the discus with 155-0 (PR) but put himself at US #13 in the shot put by improving over 4-feet in the shot put with a launch of 57-6.75.

On the girls' side, Makayla Long of Perry High School, who last year lived in Oregon and threw for West Linn with top throws of 144-8 (javelin), 37-7.5 (shot) and 139-3 (discus) yesterday took 1st in both the discus (141-10 US #16) and javelin (126-2), as well as taking 3rd in the shot put (35-1.5).

Interview with Makayla Long of Perry High School


Isaac Davis was the standout in the sprints. Casteel's Davis won both the 100 and 400 easily. He ran a 10.96, which got his engine warmed up for later in the day when he posted the US #5 400-meter time with a smooth 47.96. Isaac also was part of the winning 4x100 team, which went 42.04.

Isaac Davis (Casteel) after his 100-meter win 

Pole Vault

Both winners of the boys' and girls' pole vaults had PRs and top-ranking US performances on Saturday. Cayman Wilkes of Hamilton High School got over 15-0 for the first time putting him US #18 in the early season rankings. Samara McConnell of Perry High School, who has committed to Ole Miss in the fall improved her best vault by 6 inches with a mark of 13-0 putting her US #2 right now.

Samara McConnell after new PR in the pole vault


Grace Ping and Lauren Ping have already put the Arizona high school distance community on notice after an incredible cross country season this past fall. It appears springtime will be no different for these two. Lauren ran a 5:05.26 1600 (US #18) and 10:40.88 3200 (US #6) for a 2nd and 1st place finish. Grace did the reverse of her sister, taking 1st in the 1600 meters (5:02.91 - US #10) and 2nd in the 3200 meters (11:00.38 - US #26). 

With the first meet now out of the way for so many of our Arizona athletes (a myriad of others attended the Richard Thompson South Mountain Classic on Saturday as well), it will be fun to watch their progress in the months to come.