Salpointe Catholic junior Kylie Wild (center) at The 2022 Nike Chandler Rotary Invitational.
The 2022 AIA State Track and Field Championships are here following a season filled with eventful moments. This year's championships are set up a bit differently, with the entire meet spread out over a week starting on Saturday, May 7 and ending on May 14. All the finals for each division will take place on one day, May 14, at Mesa Community College. With a handful of the state's top athletes performing at the level of the nation's best, the week is poised to be highlighted by impressive performances.
State Editor Logan Stanley previews the meet -- who and what to watch for in Division III.
Notre Dame Prep senior John Ruvo has been the division's top sprinter the whole year, opening up his season with a 11.01 in the 100m and dropping it down to 10.86. Ruvo is the top seed in the 100m and is one of only two athletes to have run under 11 seconds this season. The other is Peoria senior Isaac Moreno, who ran 10.89 at the Peoria District Meet in mid-April. ALA Gilbert freshman Jeremiah Wallace (11.00) is looking to become just the 10th freshman in state history to have run in the 10-second range. Marcos de Niza junior Jamaal Young (11.01) also should be in the mix as well.
The top seed in the 200m is not Ruvo -- it's Coolidge sophomore Antonio Carrola, who is entered with a 22.03. Ruvo is second at 22.19, and both will look to dip in the 21's for the first time this season. Barry Goldwater sophomore Josiah Anderson (22.49), Douglas senior Anthony Duronslet (22.52) and ALA Gilbert North Justin Provenzano (22.54) all will be fighting for a podium spot as well.
In the 400m, Anderson is the top seed at 49.38. Anderson, who is the favorite to win, is the only athlete to have run under 50 seconds this season. Then there are four athletes who have run in the 50-second range and are separated by a mere .49 seconds.
For the hurdles, one of the state's best will be competing -- ALA Queen Creek senior Logan Hubler. He is the reigning state champion in both the 110mH and 300mH. Hubler is the top seed in the 110mH at 14.28, but one of his teammates -- junior Kawai King -- is not far off in 14.55. Poston Butte senior Nicholas Patterson is the third seed at 14.66. Hubler is also the top seed in the 300mH at 38.56. Poston Butte senior Octavious Joe (38.98) is the second seed and King (39.20) is the third seed.
Empire junior Kaydance Sherwood is the top seed in the 100m with her time of 12.38. Snowflake junior Lydia Szabo is the second seed at 12.52, and Prescott freshman Violet Williams is the third seed at 12.64. Sherwood is the favorite to win, but Szabo is someone to definitely watch for.
The seeding is flipped for the 200m. Szabo is the top seed in the at 25.32 while Sherwood is in second at 25.47. Salpointe Catholic Ashton Stamatapoulos (26.02) and Williams (26.05) should be battling it out for third place. Sabino senior Eva Bruce (26.28) is a potential player for the podium as well.
For the 400m, Szabo is again the top seed. Szabo, who is attempting the arduous 100m-200m-400m triple, is entered with a time of 56.84. Szabo has a sizable lead on the second seed, Stamatapoulos (58.18), and third seed, Salpointe Catholic freshman Taliyah Henderson (58.30).
In the hurdles, Seton catholic junior Larissa Blanchard is the top seed in the 110mH with her time of 14.96 and is the favorite to win. ALA Queen creek sophomore Remy Romney is the second seed at 15.74. Mingus Union senior Brooke Patterson (15.84) and St. Mary's Catholic freshman (15.89) will fight it out for third place. Bruce is the leader in the 300mH (47.32), although Thatcher senior Kylee Dodge is right behind at 47.35. Poston Butte sophomore Julia Harris (47.66) and Prescott senior Emma Stover (47.87) look set to duke it out for the final spot on the podium. This race could go a number of ways though with the top four only separated by .55 seconds.
The top seed in the 800m is Snowflake senior Caleb Anson, who ran 1:54.09 at the Snowflake Last Chance Meet on April 29. Then there are a pair of Shadow Mountain athletes, junior Jack Rea (1:55.85) and senior Nate Pestka (1:57.33) who will be fighting for a podium spot. Although Pestka has the slowest time of out of the top three seeds, he is someone to keep an eye on he as is the most well-rounded distance runner in the division (1:57.33, 4:19.06, 9:06.40).
Anson is again the top seed in the 1600m with his time of 4:16.67. Pestka is the second seed, and is the only real threat to taking down Anson. Salpointe Catholic junior Michael Urbanski (4:23.76), Rea (4:25.85), Lee Williams sophomore Wyatt Pickering (4:25.15) and Rio Rico Jorge Trujillo (4:25.15) will be slugging it out for the third place.
In the 3200m, Pestka is the top entry -- and it's not close. Pestka's 9:06 is 30 seconds faster than Anson's 9:37.13. Urbanski is just behind Anson at 9:37.17. Those three figure to make up the podium, but Trujillo (9:42.09) makes for a sneaky upset at third.
Despite in only competing in two 800m races this season, Taliyah Henderson has managed to record the division's top time with her 2:17.97 at The Nike Chandler Rotary Invitational. She will look to win her first state title in her first season at the high school level, a significant accomplishment for any athlete. Henderson has a relatively comfortable lead over the second seed, Gilbert Christian sophomore Ryley Nelson (2:19.31), and third seed, Salpointe Catholic junior Kylie Wild (2:21.57). But with Wild's experience and mile speed, don't be surprised if the senior puts in impressive performance to push the leaders.
The 1600m is where Wild excels the most. Wild is the top seed at 5:02.35 and is ranked No. 4 in the state overall. This race is expected to be Wild at the front, and then a large gap until the chase pack. The second seed (Wild's sophomore teammate Alex Montano) and third seed (ALA Queen Creek junior Evelynne Carr) are both at 5:16. Nobody else has run under 5:20 in the division.
Wild is again the favorite in the 3200m, and is the top seed by a wide margin -- 43 seconds to be exact. Her time of 10:41.51 is second overall in the state. Saguaro freshman Evangeline Dunckley is the second seed at 11:24.85, with Carr coming in third at 11:43.99.
The shot put is spread out, with Show Low senior Quinton Maxwell as the top seed at 60-1.25. Safford senior Garrett Pritchard is the second seed at 54-10.5 and is comfortably ahead of the third seed, Combs senior Brodee Tucker at 52-6. Maxwell has even a bigger lead in the discus with his mark of 178-3. The second seed, Pritchard, has yet to eclipse 160 feet (159-2). Pritchard's teammate, junior Tanner Emery, is the third seed at 153-1.
In the javelin, a state champion is looking to defend his title. Eastmark junior Mack Molander, who won this event last year at the state meet, is the top seed at 181-1. The second seed is ALA Queen Creek junior Mitch Jensen, who has thrown 169-7 this season. Dawson Smith, a junior from Benjamin Franklin, is the third seed at 162-1.
Safford junior Rios Jasmyn is entered as the top seed in the shot put with her mark of 37-4.25.Then there will most likely a be two-person battle for second place, between ALA Ironwood junior Maleah Tucker (37-0) and Show Low senior Shea Paredes (36-10). Jasmyn is also the top seed in the discus at 136-7, and is easily ahead of the second seed -- Snowflake senior Kaelyn Hipps (117-1). Paredes is the third seed at 113-10.
Like the other throw events, the javelin also features a wide gap between the leader and the rest of the field. Snowflake senior Kimberlee Eich is the top seed at 130-0. Estrella Foothills senior Emma Barber (118-9) is the second seed and ALA Queen Creek Tatum Mathney (116-3) is the third seed. Consider Eich the clear favorite to win.
Gilbert Christian junior Zach Hohmann comes into the meet as the top seed at 6-6. There are two athletes, Coconino senior Matthew Reber and Snowflake senior Kaden Brewer, who are both tied at 6-3 for the second seed. Three more competitors are tied at 6-2. While Hohmann is the favorite, there will be a lot entertainment to see who gets the final two spots on the podium with so many athletes bunched up with one another.
In the long jump, Winslow senior Jett Jue is the division's top jumper and is No. 5 overall in the state for the long jump (23-0). Isaac Moreno is the only other athlete close to Jue with his 22-7.5. Jue and Moreno are the only ones in the division who jumped farther than 22 feet. There are four athletes -- Combs junior Hunter Clarke (21-10.5), Mingus Union junior Brasen Durkalec (21-10), Prescott junior Jack Mason (21-9.5) and Sabino junior Gage Hull (21-9) -- who all could realistically finish in third.
For the triple jump, there's a clear leader-- Thatcher junior Cody Jones (44-11) -- and then a close pair after that. Clarke is the second seed at 43-11.5 and Moreno is the third seed at 43-10.25. Mesquite senior Avion Stephens is on the bubble at 43-7.75.
The pole vault has been dominated by Gilbert Christian senior AJ Krahling for the whole season. Krahling is the easy favorite to win with his mark of 15-2. The second seed, Snowflake junior Mason Mortenson, is the only other competitor (14-1) who has cleared 14 feet in the division. Safford senior Allen Lines and Coconino senior Mason Palmer are tied for the third seed at 13-7.
Salpointe Catholic senior Paris Mikinski is entered as the top seed at 5-6 in the high jump. Tatum Rollins, a junior from ALA Queen Creek, is the second seed at 5-4. Rollins is followed closely by Walden Grove junior Mia Dionisio at 5-3. Then there are nine athletes who have jumped between 5-2 and 5-1, so a number of outcomes could be produced for the final spot on the podium.
While Mikinski is the favorite in the long jump, she's the clear No. 2 in the long jump behind Sabino senior Azariah Foster. Foster is the top seed at 19-4.5 while Mikinski is in second at 18-4.5. Eva Bruce, the third seed at 18-1, has the best chance out of the rest of the field to get a medal. Foster is also the favorite in the triple jump with her mark of 37-9, which is almost a foot ahead of Salpointe Catholic sophomore Madison Martinez (36-9.5). There should be a nice battle for third place with two athletes -- Mingus Union senior Alexandria Carey and ALA Queen Creek freshman Paris Magee -- both tied at 35-4.5.
In the pole vault, Mingus Union senior Brooke Peterson is the top seed at 10-9. But that mark was recorded indoors back in early March at the NPA Skydome Classic. Peterson has yet to reach that same height this outdoor season; 10-6 is the highest she has gone. That's still higher than the second seed though (Carey, 10-2). A pair of sisters will look to battle one another for the third and final spot -- Sabino senior Emarie Sooter and Sabino sophomore Ava Sooter are both at 10-0.