As track measurements become more and more metric, the hurdle events remain the last bastion of English-system measurement. Sure, you can give the measurements for hurdle heights in meters or centimeters, but it just isn't the same as saying 30 inches (girls 300 hurdles), 33 inches (girls 100 hurdles), 36 inches (boys 300 hurdles), or 39 inches (boys 110 hurdles).
Given that it would wipe out several generations of records, don't expect to see standard hurdle heights changing any time soon. They will long be a reminder that we had the English system before we had the metric system.
Hurdles are also among the most discriminating of high school track and field events. Many athletes never quite make their peace with crossbars standing in their way down the track. Others never even try. A select few, after thousands of reps, become highly proficient in the hurdle events. And a few of those become highly proficient in both hurdle events.
Most athletes don't attain that large number of reps in their first two years of high school. And, that's important to this discussion because we're trying to project the top high school hurdlers in Arizona this spring based on data that is almost entirely at least 22 months old. That means going back to when this year's seniors in high school were sophomores, and when this year's juniors were freshmen. It goes without saying we're going to miss a few along the way.
Among those we won't miss, however, is CJ Scrivner of Safford. We already mentioned him in the sprint article, but he figures as a top 110 hurdler as well. In fact, his wind-legal 14.77 from 2019 is easily the fastest mark from that year of athletes who will return this year. Next up on that list is a 15.01 from Tyson Givens of Valley Vista. And, we'll note that Givens' mark was only wind-legal by the narrowest of margins. In fact, there was no remaining margin with that particular mark.
Deeper into the 15s, we start seeing a lot of marks from athletes who figure to be back this year.
But, there are also some 2020 data the deal with--marks from the truncated spring season and from the Desert Dream-Last Hurrah meet in June.
The name that figures most prominently from those results is Trenton Givens, also of Valley Vista. Trenton Givens ran 14.65 at that meet. There's not a wind reading recorded with that mark, so I'm guessing it's officially an NWI mark. Mr. Givens, however, also had two more sub-15 marks from that summer (also NWI), so it's probably safe to assume he's capable of sub-15 with or without wind aid.
It's also probably safe to assume Trenton and Tyson are related. Twins, perhaps.
We'll pencil Trenton Givens in as the presumptive favorite for top boys 110 hurdler in the state this spring, but he won't be lacking for competition.
Among the known quantities who figure to be chasing Givens (actually, the brothers Givens) for the title are Scrivner, Luke Stalus (Desert Vista), Yan Vazquez (Red Mountain), Cole Nordman (Chaparral), Zach Extine (Perry), Khaymin Westbrook (Chandler), Nick Remus (Mesa Mountain View) and Kawai King (American Leadership Academy).
It's worth noting that all of those except Scrivner and King are Division 1 hurdlers. Scriver, King, and King's teammate, Logan Hubler, give Division 3 a very impressive hurdle standing entering the season.
When we shift to the 300 hurdles, the top two names on the list from 2019 are already familiar--Scrivner and Remus. After that, we starting turning over new ground. Brayden Dahl (Highland) is the only other returner for this spring who broke 40 seconds in 2019. Taking legitimate shots at 40 seconds, however, were Stalus, Vazquez, and Dominic Sanders (Washington). There's no enough differentiation in the 2019 times among this group to provide us any basis for naming a clear favorite.
With limited opportunities in 2020, Vazquez jumps clearly to the top of the pile, however. Others with marks that keep them in contention are the brother's Givens, Hubler, Remus, Extine, King, Hubler, and Joshua Worley (Betty Fairfax).
That's about as much clarity as the data will admit for the boys.
So, we now switch our attention to the girls.
The girls, not surprisingly, don't have the problem of the very large majority of the leaders from 2019 having graduated. With the girls, it will be much more a question of who has sustained their hurdle game since 2019 than one of who has developed into a top-flight hurdler in the interim.
No matter how you slice it, though, Westwood's Rahni Turner appears to be the one to beat in the 100 hurdles. Turner has, easily, the top time from all athletes in 2020 and a top-five time (easily the top returning time) from 2019.
Unless there's a new freshman phenom lurking in the crowd or someone has seriously, but quietly, stepped up her game, Turner figures to have a substantial gap on second.
Behind Turner, those who have a documented history of sub-15 are Neya Jamison (Chaparral), Kiya Pogue (Centennial), and Lia Hendricks (Campo Verde). Um, folks, that's it. We certainly expect to see more in the way of sub-15s this spring, but they'll mostly be new sub-15s.
Some of the top candidates to be dipping below 15 this spring include Beatriz Razon (Centennial), Erykah Garrett (Chandler), Ella Escobar (Liberty), and Ena McMahon (Corona del Sol). Again, barring an influx of talented freshmen, it doesn't figure to be terribly crowded at the top this year.
Hendricks may matriculate from top of Division 2 to top of Arizona where the 300 hurdles are concerned. If she has competition at that distance, it will almost certainly come from Jamison. Jamison, of course, is a Division 1 hurdler.
Turner appears on the list of 300 candidates, but her top game is clearly in the 100 hurdles, not at the longer distance.
Lloyd figures to do battle with Cayna Love (Coronado) for the Division 3 crown, but it's probably a little too early to be excluding newcomers from that field.