Carson High's Tilor Smith and Shay Tom finished as leaders in their respective events during the first day of qualifying for the Northern 4A Regional Track and Field Championships Friday in Sparks. But it was Stephen Waicul in the boys discus who sprung the major highlight for the Senators at Reed High's Dave Nolte Northern Nevada Regional Track.
Waicul shattered his previous lifetime best with a throw of 156-feet, 10-1/2 inches which was the second best mark, behind only Josh Mauga of Fallon (162-7). The top eight in each event qualified for the finals, which will be held at Reed next Saturday.
"Stephen was a pleasant surprise today," Carson coach Todd Ackerman said of Waicul, a junior. "He hit 149 a few weeks ago, so we knew he was capable of hitting the 150 mark."
The top three finishers in each event at the regional finals move on to the NIAA State Championships on May 14-15, also at Reed.
Waicul was not the only highlight of the day for Carson, by any means.
Smith posted the best mark in the boys long jump with a 21-8-1/2, more than a foot-and-a-half ahead of the next best mark, a 20-11 by Galena's Hunter Mulhall. Another highlight for Carson was sophomore Jeremy Gray qualified fifth at 20-5.
"We really thought Tilor would make it, but Jeremy was right on the bubble and he p.r.'d today," Ackerman said of Gray.
Tom finished as the top qualifier in the girls shot put with a throw of 38-2, more than a foot better than Reed rival Jennifer Onyeagbako (36-11-1/4).
Sophomore Josh Heilman won his heat to advance to the finals of the boys 200-meter dash with a personal best time of 23.73. Heilman won the heat over teammate Mike Horrigan, who finished 10th overall to miss the finals by two spots.
Carson and Douglas will both be represented in the boys high jump finals. Nine athletes remained alive in the event by clearing 6-feet, including Carson senior Mike Dittenber and Ryan Bertucci, a sophomore at Douglas. Bertucci qualified to jump at the Junior Olympic nationals last summer in Miami.
Other Carson qualifers were: Matt Moore, fifth fastest in the 110-meter high hurdles; Annie Brinson, seventh in the girls 3,200 (season-best 12:43.48); while Nick Rebholtz and Rob Ghiglieri qualified seventh and eighth in the discus. Ashley Terry had a personal best of 33-2 in the triple jump, but missed making the cut by five inches.
One of the best competitions of the day took place in the boys 4x200, where two seconds separated the top six teams. Carson's 1:32.05 mark was fourth fastest.
"The boys 4x2 going to be an interesting race," Ackerman said. "It's going to come down to handoffs and how much you want it."
Carson's girls qualified fourth in the 4x400 relay and eighth in the 4x100.
For Douglas, Iani Dunbar advanced in the boys 400 with the fourth fastest time (52.47) and Harmony Bennington qualified in the girls 300 low hurdles (personal record 50.18).
Qualifying action continues today, with field events starting at 8 a.m. and running events at 11.