Mason Hickel is arguably the top known male thrower in Arizona at this time.
It's been roughly twelve months since any Arizona high schooler threw an implement for a measured mark in competition. The vast majority of the throws, even among those still in high school, go back 20 or more months.
That's a roundabout way of saying, "We really don't know a whole lot about how throws are going to settle out in Arizona this spring." As true as that statement is, there's no time like the present to start talking about it. Throws will be happening again soon in actual meets, and lots of folks would like to have a read on the lay of the landscape--at least as much as it can be read at this time.
Disclaimer: After all the dust settles and we get around to some real track and field this spring, it's possible some of the names mentioned below have moved away, though Arizona is among the best of states in terms of allowing high schoolers to compete in track and field this spring.
Among the boys, two names jump to the fore in a hurry. In the shot put, Mason Hickel of Desert Vista threw a 59-9 last year. As far as I can tell, he had one outdoor competition. But, a 59-9 gets your attention, even if it did happen only once. Hickel also threw 155-even in the discus. That, too, is a solid mark, though it runs behind the shot put mark in terms of its ability to raise your eyebrows.
The best discus mark of last year belongs to Amar Elmore of Chandler. He chucked the platter 162-2. Interestingly, he also has the second-best shot put mark from last year at 48-9.5. In this case, the discus mark is quicker to grab your attention.
Figure that Hickel and Elmore get caught up in a contest of throws to determine who is king of the rings this spring in Arizona. Given the proximity of the schools, it's a reasonable guess they'll see each other a time or two before state. That should be interesting.
Bubba Taunima (Combs) and Isaiah Johnson (Chandler) rank as worthy contenders in the shot put. Top contenders not already mentioned in the discus include Elias Guerrero (Apollo), Isaiah Glass (Queen Creek), and Geordie Ellis (Casteel). Among small-school throwers, the most attention right now seems to be pointed in the direction of Max Rubin (Scottsdale Prep). Rubin's probably better at the shot than the disc, but he's a threat in both.
Garrett Pritchard (Safford) warrants a serious look as well, based on his state meet performance of 2019.
Will we see others emerging? Of course, we will. A lot of boys had time to add a lot of muscle, and technique, since the last opportunity to get a measured mark took place. We just don't know who those young men are yet. That will be revealed in a hurry over the next month or so.
Shifting our attention to the girls, it's interesting that the top two prospects in the discus both go by the handle of Makayla. We have Makayla Long (Perry) and Makayla Hunter (Chandler). They are both 140-or-better kind of throwers, and there are no other known entities in that zip code.
The best of the rest, Victoria Malaki (Dobson), has a throw a few inches beyond 120 from 2020. Malaki did, however, post a throw of 133-3 in 2019. If she can return to that kind of form--and maybe a little beyond--she could be in the hunt.
Not all that surprisingly, Long and Hunter also check-in as the top known shot putters in the state. Once again, they're well out in front of everyone at mid-40s or better. It's not likely that anyone closes the gap when the standard is that far out.
Logan Blutreich of Desert Vista is the only other competitor with a registered mark beyond 38 feet. That's a solid throw, but it's not a 45 or a 48.
Alexandra Salinas Salas doesn't have any throws from 2020 that we have record of, but her performances from 2019 indicate she could be a sleeper worth paying attention to as this season develops.