The Division I state boys and girls track and field meet has more than its share of elite athletes. When the qualifiers come together Wednesday May 7 and Saturday May 10 at Mesa Community College, there are perhaps as many as two hands worth of individuals capable of mulitple titles.
Field events Wednesday begin at 1:15 p.m. followed by some lane-event prelims and some lane-event finals at 3 p.m. On Saturday field events begin at 1 p.m and lane event finals commence at 3 p.m. Defending team champs are Chandler girls (seeking a ninth consecutive title) and Brophy Prep.
Top male athletes to watch are Mountain Pointe junior sprinter-long jumper Paul Lucas; Corona del Sol senior distance runner Nate Rodriguez; Brophy senior hurdler-sprinter Bobby Grant and Hamilton senior thrower Beau Eggers. Elite female athletes to watch are Chandler senior sprinter-thrower Ky Westbrook; Desert Vista junior distance runner Danielle Jones; Hamilton senior jumper-hurdler Ashlee Moore and North Canyon junior sprinter-hurdler Jasmine Gray-Stauffacher.
Lucas is eyeing state records in the 100 and 400. Grant broke the state record in the 300 hurdles last week by .15 of a second. Westbrook has the 200 state record and has a shot at the 100. Jones is close to records in the 800 and 1,600. Here's a look at the individual events with the favorite mostly by seed and a top competitor or two:
DIVISION I BOYS
Pole vault: More wide open than most events, but Desert Vista's Jakob Alme has the top vault heading in at 15 feet, 6 inches. Alme finished 12th last year. Shot put: Hamilton's Beau Eggers couldn't best now-graduated Desert Vista's Dylan Fischer last year. Egger's got the best throw this season (57-11) and placed second last year. Mesa High's Samieula Taueli isn't far behind with his best toss. Discus: Eggers again tops the charts with a heave of 174-1. He's out to top last year's third-place finish. Top challenger appears to be Desert Vista's Jordan Rezac. High jump: Corona del Sol's Sam Shoultz has a leap of 6-9, but North Canyon's Bryant O'Georgia (6-8), the defending champ, and several others have shot. Long jump: Lucas excels in this event, too. He has top jump at 23-0 3/4. He has company in Chaparral's Sam Tooker among others. Triple jump: Buena's Ben Sims has gone 46-1 1/2 and took third a year ago in a talented field. 110 high hurdles: Corona's Tevin Mayfield has posted a time of 14.13. Grant is right behind at 14.20. Grant was fifth against very good competition last year, including former teammate and state champ Devon Allen. 100: Lucas' seeded time is 10.52. He's the defending champion and ran 10.44 to win last year. He's aiming at the state record of 10.33. 1,600: Last year it was Cibola's Bernie Montoya that tripled in the distance events. Rodriguez is out to mimic Montoya in his final state meet. Rodriguez's seeded time is 4:11.10. Best challenge could come from Mountain Ridge's Nick Dale. 400: Lucas seeded time is 46.86, 2 seconds faster than the next closest. The state record is 46.47. 800: Rodriguez has the best seeded time of 1:54.44. Trying to deny Rodriguez just a fraction behind with his best time is Perry sophomore Cade Burks (154.90). 200: Lucas was runner-up in this event last year to Brophy's Allen. Lucas' seeded time is 20.91. 300 IM hurdles: Grant owns this race. He's gone 36.24 and shooting to better the state record he broke last week with that mark. Second a year ago to Allen. 3,200: Rodriguez is the guy everyone is chasing — seeded time of 9:07.38.
DIVISION I GIRLS
Pole vault: Desert Vista's Vanessa Davis has cleared 13 feet and hopes to go bit beyond that. The state record is 13-4. Shot put: Westbrook and Chandler teammate Bianca Finn are the tops in this event. Finn has gone 44-7 1/4. Westbrook won last year (45-2). Westbrook set the state record last year at 47-9. Discus: Finn also has the best seeded best throw 140-10. Westbrook is right behind at 140-0. High jump: Moore leaped a career best 5-8 this year. She's a two-time champ in the event. Finished second last year so motivation is high. Long jump: Moore's best this year is 18-9 1/4. She won at state in 2013 going 19-9 1/2 and is two-time champ. Triple jump: Sandra Day O'Connor's Juliette Cossey was third in the event last year. Her top-seeded leap is 37-8 3/4. 100 hurdles: Here's Moore again. Season best is 14.04. She took third last year in talented field. 100: Westbrook has the ability to best the state record of 11.31. Her seeded time is 11.64, but she's run 11.33 prior. She's a three-time champ. 1,600: Jones won it last year and pursuing a state record. She's run 4:49.28 and the record is 4:49.11. Push figures to come from Highland's Lauren Ellsworth. 400: Gray-Stauffacher is the two-time defending champ in the event. Her career best and seeded time is 54.69. 800: Jones has the best time (2;09.24) of the year with Ellsworth right behind (2:10.97). State record is in reach at 2:08.61. Jones won the event last year. 200: Westbrook's seeded time is 24.42. She's run much faster. Holds state record at 23.39 and is three-time champ. 300 hurdles: Gray-Stauffacher's season best is 42.27. State record is 42.01. 3,200: Jones didn't prevail in this event last year, bowing to Xavier standout Sarah Fakler. The 3,200 is Jones best race so winning it for the first time could allow her to triple if she takes care of business in the 800 and 1,600.