When it comes to another possible run at the NIAA 4A State title for the Carson High girls track team, the process is again, quite honestly, similar to working a jigsaw puzzle where it's really not known if there will be enough pieces to complete the project.
"A lot of strategizing," said first-year Carson track coach Robert Maw on what it will take for the girls team to win a state crown.
In the last two years, the Senators have taken second at state and both times just didn't have enough depth to make a run at the state title. It looks like the team is facing the same dilemma this year.
But Maw said he believes as it stands now this year's team still has a chance to win a state crown.
"We're trying to strategize at who needs to be where to make it happen," Maw said. "I think we should have a good shot at it - if we stay healthy."
Maw said he's hoping that possible at least another couple of talented girls in the school will come out for the team and if that happens, Carson's chances of winning state will obviously dramatically improve.
Carson's girls and boys are both coming off an impressive effort at Spanish Springs last weekend and will face their first huge test of the year when they travel to the Sacramento State Invitational on Saturday. "We did really quite well," said Maw about the Spanish Springs meet.
The Senators' three big guns will be Kayla Sanchez, Christy Works and Julianna King. Sanchez and Works have provided the bulk of Carson's scoring at the last two state meets and will certainly be expected to do the same this year while King, coming off an impressive meet at Spanish Springs, provides depth in the sprints.
Sanchez has won nine state titles - three each in the 100, 200 and 300 hurdles - and nearly won a 10th when she finished second in last year's long jump, being edged out by one inch.
Sanchez is also focusing on the 100 hurdles this year. She's ranked among the nation's best in the 300 hurdles at the high schoo level.
It would be logical for Sanchez to run in the 100, 200 and both hurdles, but Maw said he's keeping his options open. Maw said Sanchez will definitely compete in the 200 and 300 hurdles. He wouldn't rule out using Sanchez in the relays or in the long jump.
"We're playing with the other two," said Maw about what events Sanchez will end up in besides the 200 and 300 hurdles.
No matter what events she's in, the expectation for Sanchez at state is as high as can be. "Four firsts with what we need her to do," Maw said.
Carson will need to qualify as many relays as possible for state. Not having enough relays at last year's state meet is what eventually cost the Senators a chance at the title.
Among the runners who will provide depth and should help Carson qualify as many relays as possible for state are Gloria Sosa and Kat VonRumpf.
At Sacramento, Sanchez, Works and King will all compete in the 100 and 400 and Sosa will run in the 400. Works, Sanchez, Sosa and King will also run in the medley and 4x400 relays.
Maw also has high hopes for the boys. "At least we'll be competitive on the boys side," he said. "I don't know how well we'll do, but we'll be competitive."
The boys actually have more depth than the girls. Maw said. "Our boys are actually a little more diversified than our girls," he said.
Among the top performers should be pole vaulter Mike Arnold, who cleared 14 feet, six inches last week at Spanish Springs. Arnold just missed clearing the stadium record over 15 feet. Maw said he had the height cleared, but his approach was off.
Maw said Arnold has a chance to join just a handful of high schoolers in the state who have cleared 16 feet and may even flirt with 17 feet.
Carson is led in the sprints by Caleb Carter and Floyd Hernandez and in the distance events by Richard Shroy. Carter, Hernandez, Arnold and Shroy will all compete in Sacramento. Carter and Hernandez will also run with Mike McSweeney and Robbie Barlow in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays and Luke Carter will compete in the 110 hurdles.
In addition, Maw said Caleb Carter should be jumping in the 20-feet range in the long jump and that Evan Pearson could eventually reach the mid-40s range in the triple jump.