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State Track Preview- Phil Lawton

Published by
John Dixon of RS/NV   May 18th 2012, 7:41pm

Centennial Goes for Track Sweep


In 2011, Centennial’s girls won state handily with 106 points, ahead of runner-up McQueen (62), but the Centennial boys finished second, four points behind Silverado (66-62). This year Coach Roy Sessions wants it all.


“This group (boys team) has had one goal in mind this season, sending the seniors out with a state title, and they have worked so hard as a team. Nick (Hartle) will have a full plate, but he’s also a great athlete; if anyone can pull it off he can.”


Hartle, as a junior in 2011, set new state records in the 800 and 1600, also won the 3200, and finished 4th in the 400.


This year Hartle again won the 800, 1600, and 3200 at the regional meet and was the #2 qualifier in the Sunset 400. Joining Hartle in his second attempt at the quad at state will be sophomore Jackson Carter, who finished runner-up to Hartle in the 800, 1600, and 3200 at the regional. But instead of running the 400, Carter anchors Centennial’s 4x8 relay team, which qualified #1 from Sunset.


Between the two of them, Hartle and Carter could cop as many as 74 points for Centennial from just those five events. The Bulldogs are seeded #3 in the 4x8 relay, behind Carson and Green Valley by only a second or two.  


“Jackson Carter has given the team a tremendous boost this year; he is one of the hardest working kids I have ever coached,” said Sessions, “and willing to do what ever it takes to help his team.”


The Bulldogs also hope to pick up some points in the field events. They have one entry each in the pole vault, the long jump, and the shot put.


Reno is expected to give Centennial a strong challenge for the team title. The Huskies, winners of the North 4A Regional, are led by Nicholas Norton, winner of the 300 meter hurdles and runner-up in the 110 hurdles and the 200; Matt Schneider, winner of the 800 and runner-up in the 400; Rex Nowak, winner of the 1600 and runner-up in the 3200; and Jordan Cardenas, winner of the 3200.


Hartle and Carter against the Reno trio of Schneider, Nowak, and Cardenas in the three distance races. The results of those match-ups could well determine who wins state.


Sunrise team winners Liberty could also be in the mix for the team title. The Patriots are especially strong in the throwing events, having grabbed five of the six Sunrise qualifying spots. Sophomore Reno Tuufuli won the shot put, and senior Jordan Kapeli was runner-up in both the shot and the discus. Liberty sophomore Martin Ponce qualified for state in both the 1600 and the 3200; junior Colin Schultz won the Sunrise 800; junior Nate Creiger won the pole vault. 


“I most certainly believe that we can make some waves and represent the Sunrise Division well,” said Head Coach Dave Butler. “Our throwers, vaulters, and distance kids have been just outstanding this year and continue to generate personal, meet, and school records,”


The boys 100 and 200 will showcase one of the top sprinters in the country, Jayveon Taylor. The Bonanza sophomore—who won the 100 at state as a freshman—will be the number one seed in both the 100 (10.58) and the 200 (21.25). His likely challengers include Donnell Pumphrey (Canyon Springs), the Sunrise winner in the 100 and 200; Lonnie Jackson (Hug), winner of the North 100; and Josh Gingras (Reed), winner of the North 200.


Foothill junior James Henderson will try to carry on a family tradition. Winner of the Sunrise 400, he has the top qualifying time going to state (48.67). If he wins, he would join his father, Greg Henderson, who won the 400 state title in 1983 for Las Vegas High, and older brother Deshawn Henderson, who won the 400 at state, running for Basic, in 2004.


The field events will feature a 7-foot high jumper, Green Valley’s Durrell McDonald, and a match-up of two outstanding pole vaulters. Nick Maestretti of Douglas (16’-1.25”), the defending 4A champion, and Tanner Fulmer from Desert Oasis (15’-8”) are both nationally ranked in their event.


 The 4A Girls meet should be less close. Centennial’s girls dominated the Sunset Region meet, winning 10 events and qualifying athletes for state in 12 of the 18 events.


Sydney Badger, runner-up at state in the 1600 and 3200 as a freshman, has become the dominant distance runner in Nevada in 2012. The Centennial sophomore is ranked #1 on the Nevada Honor Roll in both 1600 and the 3200 and #2 in the 800 (behind Mary Jo Wright of 3A Elko). Badger won the 800, 1600, 3200, and anchored the winning 4x8 relay team for Centennial at the Sunset Regional.


The Lady Bulldogs have three other athletes who have qualified in multiple individual events: junior Tamara Williams, winner of the Sunset 100 and 200; sophomore Tiana Bonds, Sunset winner of both hurdles; and junior Tyler Rowlette, runner-up in the 200 and 400. Plus all three girls run on one or more relay teams. Centennial will be the #1 seed in both the 4x1 and 4x4. 


McQueen also qualified athletes in 12 events. The North Region winner will need big points from senior Katie Hufford and likely get them. The Lancers senior won the long jump (she is the defending champion) and finished second in three events: the 200 and the two hurdles. Another multiple-event winner for McQueen is senior Karyna Armstrong, who won the North Region shot put and discus. 


Coronado, the Sunrise winner, features triple winner (800-1600-3200) Sara Dort, who also anchored the winning 4x8 relay team for Coronado. But the Cougars probably don’t have enough depth to contend for the team title.


“Our distance runners have been a team strength all year,” said Head Women’s Coach Nic'Olai Bolken. “They came to us in great shape after cross country and continued to improve throughout the track season. We're focused mainly on individual effort at State…. hoping for our regional champion relays and individuals Sara Dort, Shaye'e Swaine (400 winner), and Breanna Robinson (300 hurdles winner) to really surprise some people.”


Reed, third at the North Regional (one point behind Reno), likewise may not have enough depth to upset Centennial, but the Raiders feature two athletes who are favored to win six events, three each for Gabby Williams and Adriana Newell. Williams, a sophomore, is the number one high jumper in the country. She cleared 6 feet 1.5 inches at the North Regional. She also won both hurdles, in times that rank her in the Top 30 in the USA. Newell, a junior, won the 100, 200, and 400 and will also be the top seed at state in her three events. Newell’s winning time of 55.53 in the 400 is more than two seconds faster than any other state qualifier.


The shot put and discus will feature two of the top throwers in the country, Legacy senior Avione Allgood and Liberty sophomore Ashlie Blake. Allgood, the defending champion in both events, now fully recovered from her preseason shoulder surgery, will attempt to repeat. Blake, runner-up in both events in 2011, has emerged from Allgood’s shadow by setting records in 2012. No other thrower in Nevada has come close to Blake’s best marks for the shot put (49’-10.5”) and discus (152’-5”) this year.


The girls pole vault will feature two outstanding vaulters from the North: Madison Mills (Bishop Manogue) who has cleared 13 feet and Amanda Brazeau (Douglas), who has a best this year of 12 feet. The South’s top vaulters are Renee Vogel (Faith Lutheran) and Kaycee Luck (Cimarron-Memorial) who both have a season best of 11 feet.


3A team competition—both boys and girls—features match-ups of Churchill County and Elko from the North against Boulder City and Moapa Valley from the South.


The 3A Girls meet will feature one of the top distance runners in Nevada, Mary Jo Wright, a senior from Elko, who won three events—800, 1600, 3200—and finished third in a fourth—the 400—at the 3A Northern Region meet. Wright tops the Nevada Honor Roll in the 800 and is ranked number two—behind Centennial’s Sydney Badger—in the 1600 and 3200. Jessica Tobler, Boulder City senior, also won all three distance races at the Southern 3A regional and will lead her team in their attempt to upset Elko. Moapa Valley’s Emily Mills, a freshman, leads the Pirates. She won the 400 and the 300 hurdles and finished second in the 200 and the 800.


The 2A Boys team title will likely go to either Rite of Passage, which scored a lopsided win in the North regional, or White Pine or Laughlin who dominated the South regional.


Incline, Pershing County, and Laughlin are the leading contenders in the 2A Girls meet. The Meadows Lauren Henry, one of the Top 5 sprinters in Nevada (according to athletic.net), is favored to win the 2A 100 and 200.


The 1A Boys meet will feature a match up of the two teams that dominated their region meet, Sierra Lutheran from the North and Spring Mountain from the South. Beatty and Sierra Lutheran are the leading contenders for the Girls 1A title, each having won their regional by wide margins. 


To sum it up:


“Nevada hasn't had a State Championship Meet with as many nationally ranked athletes (dyestat Elite) as we have this year,” said John Dixon, Competition Director. “Nick Hartle, Ashlie Blake, Jayveon Taylor, Durrell McDonald, Sydney Badger, Tanner Fulmer from the South (and) Madison Mills, Gabby Williams, Nicholas Norton, Mary Jo Wright, Aramda Brazeau, Adriana Newell, and Nick Maestretti from the North. Plus a handful of relay teams.  It's a great year for Nevada track and field.”


 Competition begins on Friday at 3 p.m. at Damonte Ranch in Reno and continues on Saturday, starting at 8 a.m. in all four classes.


(Phil Lawton)




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