Snowflake hosted the “Last Chance” track meet on April 29 to allow track teams and athletes a chance to qualify for the state track meet, which will be held at Mesa Community College May 10 and 14.
20 schools registered for the meet, with all of the mountain schools in attendance.
Both the Snowflake boys and girls teams won the meet, with the girls scoring 267 points and the boys picking up 264 points. The Show Low and St Johns girls teams finished 2nd and 3rd, while Winslow and the Show Low boys finished 2nd and 3rd.
There were 6 “Elite” performances as scored by the MileSplit US standard. Snowflake had Lydia Szabo run a 56:84 in the 400 meters while Caleb Anson ran 1:54:09 for the 800. I believe both were school records for Snowflake. Szabo also ran an outstanding time in the girls 800 and made another school record.
Kimberlee Eich, of Snowflake, threw the javelin 130-0, while Quinton Maxwell threw 174-0 in the discus and 57-7.75 in the shot, and Jeff Jue of Winslow jumped 23-0 in the long jump.
In general terms it appeared the athletes, teams, and coaches are ready for the next and final step of the season with many making appearances at the state track meet.
It is difficult to align the schools to competition in each division when they all compete at the same meet. Snowflake, Show Low, Alchesay, and Blue Ridge all compete on the division 3 level while St Johns, Round Valley and Mogollon compete in division 4.
Snowflake once again appears to be in a position to make a strong push for the podium on both the boys and girls side. While it is often common to see a representative from each school on the mountain competing at a high level, you often see several Snowflake athletes competing in each event. It is often a luxury other schools don’t get and helps set them apart from the competition.
Show Low has consistently finished in the top 3 of the meets they have attended for both the girls and boys teams. The throwers are a strength for Show Low and they finish well in the sprints. Blue Ridge has strength in the distance events and field events. They do have one of the top pole vaulters on the mountain adding depth to the team.
Round Valley is growing this year. It appears the team has picked up additional athletes and is looking to continue to build the program. They have strength in the distance events and are represented well in the throwing and jumping events.
St Johns is small in numbers, but they show up to compete. The girls team of 11 also has a chance to finish on the podium, if not taking the championship. The girls are well rounded in the sprints, distance events, jumping and other field events. Even if they don’t place first, they often have girls finish high enough to score points. The boys team for St Johns appears to be smaller than the girls team, but they will also show up to compete.
Mogollon is not the odd team out. Although they compete in different divisions during the fall and winter sports, they do not skip a beat in competing in division 4 for track. They are represented well on both the boys and girls teams, and have several outstanding athletes perform at a high level in several events.
No doubt the competition will be tough at the state track meet, but I expect many individuals from the mountain to find success in their events, and I am sure a team or two will have more to say on how they finish the 2022 track season.