Paradoxically, perhaps, the featured race of most track and field meets is the shortest race, the 100. But, although the 100 lasts the least amount of time, the 200 scores just as many points at state.
In this article, we'll go through Arizona's divisions with an eye toward which teams stand to advance their cause the most from the short sprints--the 100 and 200.
There are three big guns in Division 4 sprinting that we can put a finger on right now. Arizona Lutheran's Jacob Holguin leads the rankings in both the 100 (10.85) and 200 (22.33). Clearly, that makes him a big gun.
But, Geoffrey Gribble of Bisbee has a hat to throw in the ring as well. Gribble's 11.11 has him second in the 100 and he also holds down the #3 spot in the 200. Then, there's John Jeanisse of Trivium Preparatory. Jeanisse has a #4 ranking in the 100 and is #2 in the 200 at 22.47.
So, between these three there figure to be a lot of points taken off the board at state.
Teams with multiple presences on the leader board include Morenci, with Christian Mutengela (#7 in the 100) and Donivan Vozza (#11 in the 100, #6 in the 200). Also with multiple presences is Glendale Prep with Carson Schmidt (#6 in the 100) and Ryan Cullum (#10 in the 100 and #7 in the 200). At this point, however, neither of these two teams figures to be a major player in the points hunt.
Currently, the top three in the 100 are the top three in the 200 are the same three guys, just not in the same order. Those three are Tristan Spalding of Palo Verde Magnet, John Ruvo of Notre Dame Preparatory, and Brandon Price of Peoria. Spalding leads the 100 at 10.80 and Price leads the 200 at 21.83. A lot remains to be decided, but these three figure to be prominent among those doing the deciding.
There are other doublers further down the list--guys like Diego Marquez of Salpointe Catholic, Tyrik Jones of Marcos de Niza, and Joel Diaz of Arizona College Prep. There are more as you trickle your way down the list, but no more that make the top eight in both events.
What we have none of right now is a team or teams who figure to be dominating the scoring in the sprint events at state. The talent is spread thinly, with one guy per school being the norm. That suggests lots of schools will be scoring points at state in the short sprints, but none will be taking home a bundle.
To nobody's surprise (at least nobody who has been paying attention), we have an individual leader in Division 2. That would be Dominick Brister of Centennial. And, at 10.58 and 21.56, he also doesn't have much in the way of rivals. If one person a team makes, Centennial has an excellent sprint team.
But, Centennial isn't the only team with a strong hand. The other-team-with-a-strong-hand distinction belongs to Casteel. Casteel, as you may have already noticed, has a lot of ways to hurt you.
Casteel's case is made by Jayden Davis (#2) and Isaiah Newcombe (#9) in the 200, plus Aaron Markee (#2) and Isaiah Newcombe (#5) in the 200. It looks like we have a serious battle for supremacy brewing.
It's possible, but with some further demonstration to be had, that Desert Edge could be a player here as well. Desert Edge currently has D'Haven Valentine at #3 and Andrew Patterson at #4. But, there's a catch here. Valentine's time comes from a tri meet and has no wind reading. Since it comes from a tri meet, it could also be a hand time. Valentine is probably fast, but we need a camera on his speed to trust the mark fully. And, thus far, Desert Edge has no representation in the 200.
So, while we hold some space for Desert Edge to validate (and expand) their case, this really does look like a two-team battle for the biggest bucket of points at state.
Right now, the horses in Chandler's stable appear to be, in sum, faster than the horses in anyone else's stable. Chandler has Quaron Adams (#2), Tyson Tippett (#3), and Eli Sanders (#7) in the 100. Then they come back with Tippett (#2), Adams (#4), and Otis Knapper (#5) and the 200. Can anyone say sprint relays, too?
That's going to be a lot for any other team to handle.
Mesa's Khamis Hassan owns the 100 board at 10.59. Desert Vista's Luke Stalus owns the 200 board at 21.80. Those are great times and all, but neither team is offering their star performers much in the way of a supporting cast.
Aiden Harvey of Sandra Day O Connor (#4 at 100, #5 at 200) and Blaise Nelson of Valley Vista (#6 at 100, #3 at 200) offer some hope for significant points to be sliding their teams' way at state, but competing seriously with Chandler for points is probably not in view.
Oh, and by the way, the 100 promises to be fast. Currently, there are 12 guys under 11-flat. Barring a big headwind, that means it's going to take a sub-11 to make finals. There's a good chance a somebody or two yanks a hamstring trying to make finals. There are no free passes.