The "Where Are We Now" part of this article's title is starting to get a bit more urgent. All that's left of the qualifying part of the season are (for the most part, at least) city championship meets and last chance meets. We're getting down to very few opportunities.
This time, I'll take a look at the boys high jump and pole vault. The two events aren't especially related, except that both are all about getting over a bar, but we do occasionally see athletes doubling in the events at a standard of excellence.
But, enough of the introduction. Let's move forward into a look at what's going on in each division.
We have runaway individual leaders in both the high jump and pole vault. Barring some major disruption, Preston Wilson (6-9) of St. Johns figures to win the high jump and Logan Kelley (16-1) of Valley Christian figures to win the pole vault. There's still a reason why you contest the events at state, but these two guys are prohibitive favorites, and should be.
But, if you've been following these articles, you already know they're much more about which teams stand to gain the most at state from these events, not which individuals, so let's take a closer look at where the team positioning stands.
You can go nine deep on the high jump without any team repeating itself in the rankings. And, behind Wilson, things are pretty tight. That makes it difficult to forecast the high jump. No such problem, however, attends the pole vault.
Among the top seven pole vaulters, Valley Christian claims three and St. Johns claims two. In addition to Kelley, Valley Christian has Corbin Stuber at #4 and Benjamin Meiter at #7. St. Johns claims Eli Richins at #3 and Jacob Scarbrough at #4.
Pole vault appears to be a case of Valley Christian taking the biggest prizes and St. Johns cleaning up a large share of what's left. Adding to Valley Christian's advantage in the over-the-bar events is Jackson Colbrunn standing in at a tie for #6 in the high jump rankings. VC figures to perform well in the over-the-bar events.
While things are close, individually, at the top of the Division 3 high jump, the team standings leave no such ambiguity. We have a clear team leader, and that team leader is Snowflake. Mason Hunt leads the Division 3 high jump rankings by a narrow margin at 6-4. Teammates McKay Wood and Stewart West have both cleared 6-2 and are among a tie at fifth place in the rankings. No other team comes close to having that kind of top-end presence in the high jump.
Over at the pole vault, it's a very similar story, but with a different team. Grant Hagaman of Coconino has a solid lead on the field at 15-8. Hagaman is then joined by teammates Carter Palmer (#3) and Mason Palmer (#6) at lofty perches in the rankings.
The closest any team comes to rivaling Snowflake and Coconino is Salpointe Catholic. They are represented by Aidan Bronstein at #8 in the high jump, Michael Montgomery at #2 in the pole vault, and Rodrigo De Leon Bran and #9 in the pole vault. Even with the combined events, however, Salpointe Catholic is presently a long way out from matching the kind of points one might reasonably expect Snowflake and Coconino to reap from the high jump and pole vault at state.
Realistically, Hagaman and Montgomery are the only two in the hunt for the pole vault title. Weird things could happen, of course, but these two are well ahead of the rest of the field.
In the high jump, however, there are seven guys between 6-4 and 6-2. It's not an enormous reach to think each of these seven has some chance of winning it all. While Hunt leads for now, the most proximate threats come from Aydin Franko of Apache Junction, Levi Tuckfield of Combs, and Ryan Moore of Shadow Mountain.
We'll have to wait and see what the next couple of weeks hold.
In the Division 2 high jump, you have to go a ridiculous number of places down before you meet up with a second competitor from a school, any school. Stephon Daily of Sierra Linda is the leader at 6-6, with Eli Mackowski of Desert Mountain second at 6-5, and Yadon Lott of Williams Field third at 6-4. If anyone but someone from these three is going to win it, he's going to have no make an enormous move, and soon.
The pole vault, on the other hand, has a clear team leader. It's a team leader you've heard about before in Division 2--Casteel.
Although Division 2 lacks a standout pole vaulter, Dallin Clark of Casteel is second at 13-0, Bailey Martin is third at 12-6, Brian Johnson is tied for 4th at 12-0. If we see a surge of improving marks in the next two weeks, some of these guys could be vulnerable, but for now Casteel has a stranglehold on the team standings lead in the Division 2 pole vault.
Leading the Division 2 pole vault at the moment is Sean Grimes of Apollo at 13-1. That's not what we might describe as a comfortable lead. And... the only other guys who've gone higher than 12 feet are from Casteel.
The battle for the most points at state out of the over-the-bar events figures to come down to a four-way affair between Basha, Highland, Hamilton, and Red Mountain.
Basha's case figures to be made in the pole vault. There they have the individual leader in Jacob Kauffman at 16-4.5. But they also have Kolby Lewis at #5 at 14-5. Having all their eggs in the pole vault basket, however, doesn't necessarily work in Basha's favor. They're clearly strong in the pole vault, but it would be nice to be strong in both events. Caden Haggerty has an outside shot at placing in the high jump, but, for the moment, he's on the outside looking in.
Highland's hand holds Adrian Williams, tops in the high jump at 6-6, Cade Robison, tied for #5 in the pole vault, and Austin Bingham, currently on the outside looking in (but close) in the pole vault.
Hamilton may have the strongest case of all. They bring Joel Gant and Rachana Men to the table in the high jump, both at 6-4 and tied for third in the division. Jagger Wilkes is the #2 pole vaulter at 16-0.
But, not to be dismissed easily is Red Mountain. They have Dominick Singer at #3 in the pole vault, plus Yan Vazquez at #2 in the high jump. That's a cast of characters of two, but the two are very well placed.
A dark horse nod goes the Mesa Mountain View, who has three guys in the top 12 of the pole vault in Connor Wilson, Easton Hatch, and Nathan Jerman. On the right kind of day at state, that situation could play out just right for MMV and yield a substantial bundle of points. But, it's still a lot to count on at this point.