By Charles Whisnand
Appeal Sports Editor
Kayla Sanchez was hoping to be one of the few track athletes who receive full-ride scholarships.
But the Carson High senior also knows a fantastic offer when she sees one. Arizona State has offered Sanchez an 80 percent scholarship and the CHS track standout undertstandably gave the school a verbal commitment last month. Sanchez will sign with the Sun Devils on Wednesday, the first day of the winter signing period.
Full scholarships are rare in track and since Arizona State is the defending indoor and outdoor champion in women's track, the fact that it decided to offer Sanchez as much of an 80 percent scholarship is definitely a feather in her cap.
"Oh my gosh, it's really flattering," Sanchez said. "I couldn't pass up an opportunity like that. They're like the best right now. They're obviously the national champion."
The reason why Sanchez is so coveted is she's so versatile. Sanchez has won nine NIAA 4A State titles in track so far. She's a sprinter and a hurdler and almost won a 10th state title in the long jump, settling for second after finishing out of first by one inch.
Sanchez has won the state title in the 100, 200 and 300 hurdles three straight years. This year she will focus more on the 100 hurdles and hopes to win state titles in all four events to go out with a bang.
"Something like that would be the best, being the end, my senior year," Sanchez said. "I couldn't even imagine."
But just as coveted for Sanchez is a team state title, something that has eluded the Senators after finishing second the past two years.
"That would be awesome, too," said Sanchez about winning a team title. "We're close. If we could all take it as a team that would be even better."
Sanchez also seriously considered the University of Nevada, Long Island and Boise State. But Sanchez also wanted to run in warm weather, so obviously Arizona State was an attractive choice.
"I really, reall like running in warm weather," Sanchez said. "That was a pretty big factor, too."
Sanchez said she was told by Arizona State that it plans to use her mainly in the 400 hurdles and the 4x400 relay and could also use her in the 100 hurdles and the sprints.
She has a best time of 42.3 seconds in the 300 hurdles. She ranks seventh overall in the nation among high school 300 hurdlers and fifth among seniors.
"I really want to drop down my 300 hurdles time a lot," said Sanchez, saying she has a goal to drop her time to the low 41s this year.
She also has best times of 15.0 in the 100 hurdles, 11.92 in the 100 and 24.23 in the 200.
"Obviously all my times I want to drop this year," Sanchez said. "I'm just going to be really working hard to do that."
The chance to run at Arizona State likely won't sink in until she actually steps on the campus, Sanchez said. "It's pretty exciting," she said.