Arizona Boys 400/800--Where Are We Now?

Jaedyn Carpenter was the first Arizona athlete of the season to drop below 48 seconds for the 400.

Historically, there hasn't been a lot of overlap between 400-meter and 800-meter types, except--perhaps--when it comes to relays. But, that's slowly starting to change. While the 400 has long been regarded as the long end of the sprints and the 800 as the short end of distance, savvy coaches have begun to take notice that a solid 400 runner can frequently extend successfully to the 800 and a strong 800 type often has enough speed to be a great 400 as well. 

And, the program that has a stable full of 400/800 types is typically a program to be feared at state.

With that in mind, we take a look here at which teams are showcasing best this spring at the 400-meter and 800-meter distances.

Division 4

The midseason advantage in this crowd belongs to North Phoenix Prep. At 51.60, Richie Johnston has the #3 400 time. But, it gets better at 800 meters. There, Johnston's 1:58-and-change leads the field. And, Johnston is backed up by teammate--and presumably sibling--Sammy Johnston at 2:04-and-change. That's currently #4 in the division. Lurking in the shadows is Max Kinney at #10 in the 400.

Arete Prep has a nice pair in Helaman Forsyth at #3 in the 800 and Christopher Akpede at #4 in the 400. Jason Rozas at #10 in the 800 is worth a second look here as well. Presumably, these guys hold the makings of at least one good relay as well. 

Valley Christian answers with Jose Garcia. Mr. Garcia is standing in with the #2 400 time at 51.59 and the #5 800 time at 2:05. We don't have a relay in view here, but Garcia should be good for state points in both events if he chooses to run both events. 

Jackson Schaumberg is sniffing at 50 seconds in the 400 and leads the rankings in that event, but Arizona Lutheran isn't giving Schaumberg any company yet. They could easily come away with 10 points at state, but probably not more than that.

Jonah Archer of Northwest Christian has a 2:02 for second in the 800, but, like Schaumberg, he isn't seeing many more reinforcements marching his direction. Luke Poarch is just barely on the radar screen at this point with a #12 in the 800. If that changes, for the better, Northwest Christian goes into state with a stronger hand.

Division 3

Pierce Vittone of St. Mary's Catholic is assuredly the top 400/800 type in the classification. His 1:55 has him clearly atop the 800 rankings, and his 50.15 in the 400 has him at #2. Unfortunately, Vittone is alone as a contender for state points at 400 and 800 meters, at least from what we've seen thus far.

Combs, Salpointe Catholic, and Snowflake form the field competing for the best team presence at 400 and 800 meters, though each might be hard-pressed to match the current projection of at least 18 points for St. Mary's Catholic in the two events.

Combs builds their case on Isaac Nelson (currently #2 in the 800 at 2:01-and-change and #10 in the 400) and Chris Diaz (#8 in the 400).

Salpointe Catholic is likely a hair stronger with Nicholas Coonan-Bailey at #4 in the 400 and Wyatt Preble at a matching #4 in the 800.

Snowflake's hand has Heber Espinosa at #6 in the 400 plus Kaden Clark at #12 in the 400 and #7 in the 800. 

Slade Shupe of Thatcher is under 52 seconds in the 400 and currently at #3, but his event history suggests there's not a prayer of him extending to 800 meters. There might be a better chance of Peoria's Kyle Vonnahme, currently #3 in the 800, dropping down to pick up the 400 as well.

Division 2

Every so often, Division 2 produces the Arizona leaders in some events. This would be one of those times.

Jaedyn Carpenter of Millennium leads the state in the 400 at 47.96, while Dayton Carlson of Casteel leads the 800 at 1:55.16. I don't know that the chances are good of either one venturing into the other's territory for a showdown, but you probably should be willing to pay good money to see them race at 600 meters.

Interestingly, both teams have a solid 400/800 meter presence to accompany their headliners.

At Millennium, Carpenter is complemented by Alexander Rafferty, who is nipping at Carlson's heels in the 800. Tyler Rafferty--I'm presuming a younger brother to Alexander--is just about ready to break through two minutes himself. Millennium is solid at the 400/800 pairing.

Casteel, on the other hand, has Jayden Davis at 48.50 and #4 in the 400 rankings. That's fast, no matter how you slice it. Then, Joseph Meagher is at 1:58-and-change for 800 meters, which is currently good enough for #6.

We could see something of a Casteel-Millennium showdown at state. 

Were it not for these two Titans, McClintock would figure as being in an excellent position. Avaunt Ortiz, just outside of 48 seconds, is ranked #2 in the 400. Tyler Schierenberg, almost a second under two minutes, holds down #7 in the 800. 

Team-wise, things get a little scattered in the rankings after there, but Ayden Schlib's 1:55-something in the 800 is worthy of mention here as well. It's a tough year when you can run 1:55 barely a month into the season and only get to #3.

Division 1

Currently, Jarron Stephens of Desert Ridge makes a solid claim for the best 400/800 type in Division 1. Stephens' 1:56.56 leads the field in the 800. His 49.92 is fifth in the 400. 

But, there aren't many 400/800 double-dippers to be found at the Division 1 level.

Jordon Guevara of Liberty leads the 400 pack at 49.14.

Going to the more general team picture, Hamilton appears to have the upper hand at the moment. That would be owing to a pair of #2 places in the rankings--Christian Anaya in the 400 and Cade Russo in the 800. It's not clear that Hamilton goes any deeper than that at state meet kind of quality, but it's a good place to be even so.

Chandler is solidly represented by Otis Knapper and Danny Jenkins, #4 and #6 in the 400, but they aren't yet jostling for position in the 800. Brophy has Jackson Moran and Charlie Fallon at #4 and #8 in the 800, but no presence in the 400. We might say something similar about Red Mountain. They have Noah Cjazkowski and Joseph Hamilton at #3 and #7 in the 800.

Desert Vista, who might be good for a surge later in the season, has Luke Stalus and Jacob Gonzalez at #4 and #12 in the 400, plus Nolan Billeter and Noah Jodon at #9 and #12 in the 800. Somehow, though, you're left with the impression that Jodon doesn't realize have his eyes on the 800.

Beyond that, we're seeing what looks for the world like random scatter from the other teams represented in the latest 400 and 800 meter rankings for Division 1. Figure that the top team coming out of state has been mentioned somewhere above.