Finish in the top three or you’re done.
That’s what faces the 20-plus members of the Carson High track team as they venture to Damonte Ranch High School for Saturday’s NIAA Division I regional finals. The top three finishers in each event advance to the NIAA State Championships on May 17-18 in Las Vegas at Silverado High School.
Field events begin at 8:30 a.m. and the first running event is at 9 a.m.
Carson coach Robert Maw is encouraged by the number of athletes still competing.
“This is my sixth year, and this is the most people we’ve had at a regional final,” Maw said. “We have a lot of kids on that 3-4-5 bubble. It will come down to how much they want it.”
On the girls side, Carson will have 11 competitors in individual events — Madison Preston (high, long and triple jumps), Elena Thurman (100, 200, triple jump), Eveline Delgado (800, 1600, 3200), Alex Drozdoff (800, 1600, 3200), Kayla Aikins (high jump), Cindy Juchtzer (1600, 3200), Athena Favero (300 hurdles), Sahara Winder (300 hurdles), Maddi Saarem (pole vault), Courtney Hack (shot put) and Teresa Boehmer (shot put and discus). The Carson girls also will have a 3200 relay squad.
On paper, Preston would appear to have a great shot at moving on in the triple jump and high jump. She was one of six to clear 4-feet 10-inches last week, and has the capability to get over 5-feet. She leads the triple jump with a best of 35-7 3/4 last week. She was ranked seventh in the triple jump at 15-5 1/4, and she’ll have leap about a foot longer to advance.
“She has a great chance to move on in the triple and high jump,” Maw said. “In the long jump she has an outside chance. That’s not really a favorite event for her. Her and Elena have been teasing each other about who was going to finish first and second.”
Thurman is seeded sixth in the 100, fifth in the 200 and seventh in the triple jump. Thurman, who is ranked in the top four n the state, struggled in the triple jump last week with three scratches in four attempts.
“We’re going over to Damonte Ranch today so she can get used to the runway and get her marks down,” Maw said. “She didn’t feel she had enough time last week. We’re supposed to be peaking in terms of strength and speed. In the 100 and 200, she has an outside chance. She probably has a better shot in the 200. She had a nice PR last week (in the 200).”
Favero is seeded fourth and Winder sixth in the 300 hurdles. Gabriella Jacobs, Gabrielle Warren and Kimmie Player occupy the top three spots. In the 1600, Delgado probably has to shave at least four seconds off her 5:31.99 of last week to slip into the third spot. Douglas’ Lindsay Adams is the favorite in that event. Saarem most likely will have to go at least 10 feet to be in the running for a state berth in the pole vault. She easily cleared 8-6 which was more than enough to move her to the final. Drozdoff is seeded fifth in the 3200 with a season-best time of 12:05, and she, Juchtzer and Delgado all will have to shave 10 seconds off their entry times to have a chance to crack the top three.
Corey Reid and Dakota Baker lead the boys contingent into Saturday’s event.
Reid, a sophomore, is ranked first in the high jump (6-6) and second in both the 400 (50.23) and 800 (1:59.14). He is also running a leg on the Senators’ 1600 relay team. Baker ran two PRs last week in the 110 (15.34) and 300 hurdle trials (40.38), and stands an excellent chance at moving on in both races. He’s seeded second in the 110s and third in the 300 race.
Aaron Woodbury went 11-6 last week in the pole vault, one of eight competitors. The 11-6 was a PR by a full foot.
“Jim Reid (vault coach) said he had room to spare,” Maw said. “I think he’s got another foot in him. Technically he’s very sound.”
Asa Carter was third in the triple jump (41-8), while Nathan Hazard was fourth in the discus at 136-5 1/2. Carson has three runners in the 800 — Reid, Taylor Bradshaw and Zach Heinz. Bradshaw and Heinz may well have to crack the 2-minute mark to advance. McQueen’s Connor Ross ran a 1:57.80 last week to claim the top spot.
Carson has three in the 1600 — Nick Greene, Anthony Cacioppo and Daniel Jauregui — and they are relative long shots to move on. Carson’s 1600 relay team is seeded fourth with a best of 3:30, and the quartet of Bradshaw, Heinz, Dexter Cummings and Reid may have to dip down to 3:28 to move on. The 3200 relay team of Michael Samii, Heinz, Cummings and Bradshaw are ranked in the top three in the state.