Girls 800 Meter Preview:
There are 15 returners with times under 2:20. Here are the top 5.
Kristi Rush (So, Highland) starts the 2011 track season with the 5th fastest 800 time in the state. Krisit’s ran her 5th fastest time of 2:17.13 at the 5A Central Regional Championships, her last track meet of the year.
Tess Berghoff (Sr., Arcadia) has the 2nd fastest returning time in the state with a 2:15.81 placing 2nd at the Meet of Champions. Tess won the 800 in the 4A II State Meet and could repeat a state champion win even though the divisions have tightened. The 800 is her best event!
Katie Penney (Sr., Xavier) has the fastest time in the State with a 2:15.75. Katie took 6th at the Arizona State Meet but went on to win the Meet of Champions the following week with a 3 second improvement. Katie’s best race is the 800 and she will definitely challenge returning State Champion Yasmine Yacut.
Rachel Schifter (So, Xavier) is another fast 800 runner finishing 2nd at the Arizona State Meet. Shifter won the 5A Fiesta Regional Championships with a 2:15.93 and will most likely improve her time during her sophomore season.
Yasmine Yacut (Photo above) (Sr., Desert Vista) is the number 1 returner this season. Yacut does not have the fastest time but she had the fastest race when it counted. Yasmine won the State Championship with a time of 2:16.22 and as the returning State Champion in the 800 Yasmine will be the one to beat!
Also on the radar: Ashley Kealamakia (Sr., Liberty), Marissa Opatz (Sr., Desert Mountain), Mia Townsend (So., Chandler), Kristina Vanderhout (Sr., Notre Dame), Katelin Warren (Mountain Pointe).
Editors Note: Bianca Lewis (Sr., Xavier) was injured last year but returns this year with great enthusiasm. As a sophomore Bianca ran a 56.47 in the 400 and a 2:15.14 in the 800. Look for Bianca to challenge in both events.
Boys 800 Meter Preview:
There are 23 returners with times under 2 minutes. Here are the top 5.
Mark Matiski (Jr, Chaparral) returns this season with the 5th fastest time in the state. Mark earned his 1:55.99 800 while placing 4th at the Arizona State Meet and could challenge Daniel Backlund and Phillip Garcia for the state title.
Phillip Garcia (Sr., Millennium) finished 3rd at the Arizona State Meet with a 1:55.98 and went on to finish 3rd at the Meet of Champions with a PR of 1:55.20
Daniel Becklund (Sr, Rincon University) finished 2nd at the Arizona State Meet with a 1:55.92 with in one of the closest races at the state meet last season. It will be anyone’s race for the state title this season and a much anticipated race.
Tommy Williams (Sr., Brophy) returns as the #2 800 runner this season with a 1:54.65. Tommy earned his quick 800 time at the Meet of Champions placing 2nd to Sherod Hardt. Look for Tommy to challenge for the State Title this season.
Dylan Souza (Photo above) (Sr., Catalina Foothills) is the top returner in the 800 with a brisk time of 1:53.85. The 800 will be the race to watch this season at the Chandler Rotary and the Meet of Champions. Dylan could come out on top at both of them but not without a fight from the other 4 listed and a few more.
Also on the radar: Lindon Claridge (Sr., Flowing Wells), Rex Woodbury (Sr., Catalina Foothills), Billy Orman (Sr., Tuba City), Alejandro Montano (Sr., Catalina) and Daniel Wong (Sr., Canyon del Oro).