In this article, we take the deep dive into boys throws. There's another article coming later this week on an event area with girls. I haven't decided what event area that is yet, so you'll have to wait and see. It's part of the fun.
Anyhow, we have three events in the circle of throws--the shot, the discus, and the javelin. The point here is to give some kind of early projection which teams are setting up well for state. We'll have to talk about some individuals to do that, but everything has an eye toward team positioning. I don't need to replicate what Jason Creasy is doing with his articles, so the focus here will be on teams.
Let's start with Division 4 (because not nearly enough people start with Division 4 and I come from a small-school background when I ran track in high school). By now, we have a fairly decent representation of marks even at the Division 4 level, so it makes some sense to start issuing projections.
You can make a solid case right now that Alex Hernandez of Northwest Christian is your top small-school thrower. He owns a shot put of 44-4 (third in the state, with the top three being way ahead of everyone else) and tops in the state in the discus at 129-1. The bad news for Hernandez, though, is that nobody else from Northwest Christian has a top-ten mark. It's likely he has all of their points at state--which will not be inconsequential.
If you're looking for a team that's projecting well for state right now, look no further than Valley Christian. Jacob Booth in second in state in the shot put at 46-8. Ethan Hammond hasn't hit 40 feet yet, but he still ranks #8. Moving to the javelin, Hammond ranks 8th again at 120-4. As a note about the javelin, though, places 2 through 8 are currently all within one another's margin of error. There's less than two feet of difference between those seven places. In the discus, Hammond and teammate Tre Yazzie are tied for fifth at 105-4; Booth is two inches behind at 105-2. Those marks need to improve as the season progresses, but they have Valley Christian positioned very nicely for the time being.
Benson is another school with nice early positioning in the throws. David Teso is a clear second in the discus at 125-7. Landen Vance makes the top 10 at 103-8. Roland Carrillo is way out ahead of the javelin at 137-4. Blake Johnson is one of only five shot putters out beyond 40 feet already. That's enough to certify Benson as a Division 4 throws powerhouse.
Bubba Taunima of Combs is currently the Division 3 standard bearer in both the shot put (50-2.5) and discus (129-1). And, he has some teammate company in the rankings as well. Brodee Tucker checks in at sixth in the javelin and 10th in the shot put. That marks Combs as a team of concern in Division 3 throws.
There are, however, teams of even bigger concern.
One of those teams is Snowflake. Right now, Snowflake has nobody in the discus top 10, but Mayson McKinlay is ranked #2 in the javelin at 149-9 and is breathing down the back of #1. Tyler White is #3 in the jav, and Tate Hensley is #8. They've figured out something about that event there in Snowflake. Bradly Ruiz currently resides at #2 in the shot put at 48-11.5.
Another S school with some heft in the current throws rankings is Safford. Garrett Pritchard (121-11) and Tanner Emery hold down the 5 and 9 (tied) spots in the discus. They move up a few notches, with Pritchard at #4 and Emery at #6, in the shot put.
Show Low is similarly well represented when they're not busy playing cards. Quinton Maxwell (127-7) holds down the #3 position in the discus with teammate Nathan Jones in a dead heat at #9. Jones and Maxwell, however, flip-flop in the discus with Jones at #5 and Maxwell at #8.
Continuing on the theme of S schools with nice throwing programs, we have Saguaro. Case Wiggins (125-10) is currently #4 in the discus. The leader in the javelin at 151-0 is Rowan McCullough. While that's only two individuals, they are well-positioned at this time.
The wealth is more generally spread in Division 2 than Division 3, but we do still find some concentrations.
You don't hang around Arizona track and field very long without becoming aware that Casteel has a pretty solid program. That includes the throws. Geordie Ellis (138-2) stands in at #1 in the discus. Austin Young backs him up at #6. Jayce Knutsen is a known quantity in the javelin currently at #3 (151-7); there's a good chance he moves higher before all is said and done.
Especially in a field this scattered, there's plenty of time remaining for other schools to make big moves, but these are the leaders thus far.
And now we move to the biggest schools.
It doesn't take a whole lot of insight to peg Chandler as one of the big contenders, and the weight of that burden rests on the shoulders of Amar Elmore. Elmore leads the discus at 172-7, ranks fourth in the jav at 169-1, and takes up #2 in the shot put at 52-5. Chandler does not appear as yet to have any other potential state scorers in the throws, but Elmore is a load all by himself.
Desert Vista, of course, has both quality and numbers. Mason Hickel is #2 in the discus (169-9) and a prohibitive #1 in the shot put (61-2). But DV hurts you in at least one other way as well. Hayden Gorovitz, a freshman, has the #6 slot in the javelin.
Currently, though, the most impressive program might be the one located at Shadow Ridge. Sit down for a moment if you don't already know about these guys. In the discus, Kaden Passey ranks #3, Jake Railey ranks #5, and William Fussell ranks #7. Jake Railey holds an impressive early lead on the javelin field, with Passey checking in at #5. Railey and Fussell rank #3 and #4 in the shot put. Boom. No other school comes close to that.
There are other programs posting some nice early season results--think Red Mountain, Basha, and Desert Ridge as examples--but not yet that figure to rival any among the top three.
Stay tuned, though, there's a lot of season left.
And now, a request. I write these articles from Colorado. I have an ear to the ground about what's going on in Arizona, but the hardest part is finding photos to use as cover images. If you have good, solid action photos of any athlete at or near the top of the rankings in your classification (and especially so for multiple events), please feel invited to send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org leave the underscores out of the email address, they're only there to confound the scraping mechanisms that fill your inbox with spam if you don't do that. Please also tell me who shot the images so I can get the crediting part right.