Jamee Swan finished sixth in the Division I Shot Put.
MARANA – The Marana and Mountain View athletes competing at the Division I state track and field championships had to adjust to a number of changes. Despite several curve balls, some expected and some unexpected, both the teams fared well for the number of athletes they had in the competition at Mesa Community College.
The Marana girls finished 13th overall, with 13 points, while the Mountain View girls, who qualified just two athletes, still managed a 20th place finish thanks to a pair of top-five finishes.
With just one competitor in the field, the Mountain View boys still managed to finish 33rd.
The teams knew that thanks to the new AIA realignment that the competition would be much tougher than it had been in years past. Mountain View used to compete in the old 5A-II, the second highest classification, while Marana was in 4A-I, the third highest. Now both schools are in Division I, the highest division with the most populated schools. Most of the schools Marana competed with in 4A are now in Division II.
In addition to the stiffer competition, Wednesday, the first day of the competition, was cut short due to wind and lightning. This meant that most of the events that were scheduled for Wednesday had to be moved to Saturday, the final day of the event. This meant a very long day as all four division were competing and the preliminary rounds of Division I and II had to be completed first. Competition began at 11 a.m. and ran until well after 10 p.m., causing many athletes to stay at the venue for over 12 hours as the gates opened at 9 a.m. To make matters worse, temperatures flirted with 100 degrees, and were likely well over the century mark on the track surface.
“It was definitely harder this year,” Marana senior Ali Yetter said of the changes and postponements. “It was a lot different.”
“I was kind of nervous at first,” said Tiger sophomore Kile Hagerstrand of Tigers step up in competition against much bigger schools. It turned out okay, I had a fun day.”
Defending state champion Jamee Swan finished sixth in the Shot Put.
Despite a throw that would have won the 4A-I state title a year ago, Jamee Swan had to sweat out a spot in the finals. She won her flight with a throw of 37-10.25 but qualified sixth after the preliminaries.
“That throw won state last year,” Swan said a bit dismayed after her initial three throws on Saturday.
Swan threw a 38-07.25 on her first throw in the finals, then fouled on her next two attempts. That first throw was good enough for sixth.
Buena’s Ashley Weber won the state championship with a 41-09.5.
Swan, a senior in her final high school event, almost didn’t make the finals. She fouled on her first throw and then her second throw went just 35-09. With the pressure on she eclipsed 37-10, taking her flight and earning the spot in the finals. She still had to sweat out a final flight which had a number of throwers whose qualifying throws during the season were greater than Swan’s tournament throw.
“There is so much competition here,” Swan said. “There are so many good athletes.”
Sydney Madrid finished seventh in the 300 Hurdles, then had an identical seventh place finish in the 100 Hurdles.
Junior Mally McGarity had a time good enough to qualify for state, but an ankle injury prematurely ended her season.
It was a good meet for sophomore Kilee Hagerstrand. She finished 13th in the 100 Meter Dash took seventh in the Long Jump with a 17-04 jump in the finals.
“I feel good about what I did today,” Hagerstrand said. “I did about as well as I could as a sophomore.”
Fellow Tiger Christina Defour finished eighth in the Long Jump. Her best jump of the finals was 16-11.
Shalise Borden had the highest finish of the day for the Tigers with her fifth place finish in the Discus. The junior threw for 122-08 to earn her top-five finish.
“I feel pretty good,” Borden said. “I was consistent with my throws all day.”
Although Borden felt good about her performance, the junior is still looking forward to her senior season.
“I need to work hard to improve next year and hope to do even better,” Borden explained.
The Tigers did well in relays as well. Defour, Yetter, Madrid and Hagerstrand teamed for a ninth place finish in the 4x100. Their time of 49.82 was less than a second out of fifth place. Hagerstrand and Madrid also teamed with Moana Hala’ufia and Bailey Davis to finish 14th in the 4x400 Relay.
Ali Yetter finished 15th in the High Jump, clearing 5-0 in what proved to be her final high school sporting event. She, Swan and Defour are the only senior girls in the event, meaning the future is still bright for the team, especially if they get McGarity back to full strength after two injury plagued seasons.
On the boys side senior Derek Wengert finished 21st in the 110 Hurdles.
Mountain View qualified fewer athletes, but had all three of their competitors finish in the top-six. Sonja Berge and Karina Kelly tied for fourth in the High Jump. Both cleared 5-4 in the event.
Dominick Chicago was sixth in the Triple Jump with a best lead of 44-10.25.
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