Anna Foreman wins the 15-16 girls 400m with the days fastest time. Photo from Arizona Milesplit archives.
Arizona has one youth indoor meet each year but it tends to attract top talent from across the state and even other states, at least in the sprinting and field events. Having been at the same venue for the past 24 years, local fans know to block the Sunday of Presidents day weekend off and make hotel reservations in Flagstaff. This weekend did not disappoint with some thrilling finishes.
Possibly the most exciting race of the day was the 15-16 year old girls 400m featuring Chandler's Anna Foreman and Corona Del Sol's Jackie Martin. The 400m dash on paper looked to be one of the premier events and it lived up to its billing. Anna Forman didn't take the lead until the final home stretch in a photo finish. Anna recounted, “Usually I finish the second half stronger, I just pumped my arms and went for it." She got it, in fact her time was so fast that it would have won the 17-18 year old division as well. Anna enjoys running the 400 since according to her, “It helps me get my 800m time down." This spring look for her to specialize in both the 400m and the 800m for Chandler High School.
The 15-16 year old boys 400m was just as exciting. Tre Harley won in an equally tight of finish. “I just did it like I do in practice," he recounted, “I just finished hard since I didn't want to get caught." He didn't get caught. In fact, his time would have certainly been competitive in the upper age group as well. Tre looks forward to competing with the junior and seniors come outdoor track season, “It will help me get better since there are more people that are a lot faster."
Off the track, the pole vault featured not only some of the best vaults in the state, but some from Colorado and California as well. Highland High Schools Nicki Baker won the event with a vault of 12'6" dispatching teammates Shannon Fritz and Vanessa Davis. In the process she was also able to take down Aspen Colorado's Taylor Alexander who has been practicing with Jeff Guy and the Ultimate High Track Club this past week. Not only where there high school girls, but some post collegiate were involved in the competition as well. Nicki welcomed the challenge, “It's nice to vault against girls who are out of college. It's a challenge that helps get you prepared for the season." While Nicki appreciates the challenge, she doesn't take much time to focus on them during the actual competition though. “During the meet I zero in and focus on myself."
The shot put featured last year's Division 2 state runner up Hunter Jones of Desert Edge High School and his little brother Tyson Jones. Though, calling Tyson little is like calling Little John in Robin Hood little. Even though he is on the younger half of the age division, Tyson destroyed the competition with a heave of 45-06. The runner up, Sebastian Coleman was a full five feet behind. Though both of those throws are very good. Hunter Jones threw 45' at this meet last year and went on to place second in the state. This year he threw 51-11, almost matching his state performance from last year. Runner up Torrey Hickel came in at a solid 48-05 followed closely by Tyler Grissom at 45-02.
Being a zonal championship meet this meet features athletes from a lot of different state. Lyndsey Lopes of Edison high school in Fresno California tied for first place in the girl's high jump with Shannon Fritz. “I am very used to travelling, it's fun to go different places. I think being up here at altitude I feel like it helps me jump higher, but after I am done running I can't breathe."
In other actions at the Great Southwest, William Wagner won the long jump in 21-6. Those results are available here. Results from the West Zone Championships will be available as soon as I receive them from the timer. Live tweets with partial results can be viewed here.