For the past four years, Corey Reid and Maddie Preston have been the king and queen of track and field at Carson High School.
They have been the Senators’ most valuable and versatile performers, racking up valuable points at invitationals and dual meets alike in several events.
And, between the two of them they hold four school records. Reid is the leader in the 400 (47.15 in winning state last year) and his 21.79 tied him with George Pincock for the top spot in the 200. His 6-6 high jump puts him an inch off the school record. Preston, meanwhile, holds the record in the high jump at 5-feet-7 (2015) and triple jump at 37-3 3/4 (2014).
All good things must come to an end, however, and Carson’s dynamic duo wrap up their high school careers Friday and Saturday at the NIAA State Track & Field Championship at Del Sol High School.
“I don’t want to discount others in the program, but Corey and Maddie have elevated this program with their performances over the years, and they have represented Carson track well on and off the competitive field,” Carson coach Robert Maw said. “They are both great kids. They are not cocky kids.
“Maddie is leaving a legacy in the jumps like Kayla Sanchez did in the hurdles. With Corey, it’s his work ethic that stands out. He does so many events, and does them all so well. I can put him in any event. There is no quit in him. He hates to lose. How many times have we seen him come down the stretch and beat somebody?”
And both have shown tremendous leadership qualities, Maw said.
“A couple of weeks ago, Corey went up to one of our younger kids who isn’t in the ‘in crowd’ and asked him if he wanted to go out for some ice cream or yogurt,” Maw said. “Corey is always willing to help out a teammate on the track, and you’ll see him during meets giving advice and support.”
Reid, who’s headed to Azusa Pacific to become a multi-sport athlete, has pretty much accomplished most of his goals. He won state in the 400 last year, and could repeat.
“I feel pretty good (about my career here),” he said before a recent practice this week. “I’ve pretty much set all the goals I made. My freshman year I sat down and wrote what I wanted to accomplish (in each event). I’ve been able to do them all except the 800 (2:01), and I just haven’t run that event enough.”
He added to an already impressive list of accomplishments earlier this spring when he won the decathlon at the Arcadia Invitational, scoring more than 7,000 points and winning three individual events.
The only thing Preston hasn’t accomplished is winning a state title. She came close last year, and she’s a threat to win twice this weekend. She said to go out with a state championship in her final year would be the ultimate.
“I want to leave Carson with a state title,” she said.
Reid is in four events — the 200, 400, high jump and the 800 relay — all on Friday. He is in top physical shape and ready to go. Four firsts are not out of the realm of possibility for the talented senior, who won the state 400 title last year, nosing out McQueen’s Sebastian Feyersinger at the finish.
“I’m not worried about that,” Maw said. “Because of his decathlon training, he’ll be ready. He may be fatigued at the end of the day, but he’s mentally tough.”
His main competition in the 400 comes from familiar names, McQueen’s Connor Ross, Damonte’s Ivan Giron-Burnham and Green Valley’s Ian Mack. Reid turned in the fastest qualifying time with a 47.27 which was a regional-meet record. Ross also broke the mark with his 47.29. Mack turned in a 48.15 last week. He and Ross have a great rivalry going, both in the 200 and 400.
“I’m looking to PR (current best is 47.15 at state last year),” Reid said. “I’d like to get under 47. I need to be faster out of that first turn. Ian ran a 47.9 earlier this year, but he hasn’t done that lately.
“Connor and I are friends. When we go to meets we do hang out. We’re not mean competitors. I have a lot of respect for him. I’ve always been able to out-lean him at the end. I beat him by .02 each of the last three years.”
Maw believes Reid is due for a big weekend.
“I think he can PR in the 200 and 400,” Maw said. “He’s been training toward this.”
There are three Vegas runners in front of Reid time-wise based on last week’s qualifying — Mack (21.13), Basic’s Frank Harris (21.64) and Las Vegas’ Elias Miller (21.78) not to mention Damonte’s Burnham, who gave Reid all he wanted in the 200 and was third in the region in the 400. Reid will certainly be in fast company, which could help lower his PR in the event.
“Mack is fast,” Reid said. “I think he’s second in the nation in the 100.” Reid has concentrated more on the high jump this year, and he jumped 6-6 last week at regionals. He thinks he’s capable of getting up to 6-8 providing he can get his technique and steps down.
“I tickled the bar at 6-7; hit it with my heels,” Reid said.
It’s definitely an event he’s capable of winning.
Preston is in three events — high jump (Saturday), long jump (Saturday) and triple jump (Friday). She strained her right hamstring and was scratched from the 800 relay, The triple jump is Friday and the other two are Saturday. She has been rehabbing since Monday with Carson trainer Adam Hunsaker. She will wear a wrap for protection.
The timing of the injury wasn’t great for two reasons. She wanted to be healthy entering the meet, and she can’t run the anchor in the 800 relay. The triple jump, according to Maw, will be more of an issue with her leg because she will be jumping off her right leg. In the long and high jump she takes off with her left leg.
Earlier this week, Preston was down in the dumps about being pulled from the relays. She certainly understands the reason why.
“I was bummed,” she said. “It would have been my first running event at state.”
Preston has done some running events in the past, but she has competed a lot more in running events this year in addition to competing in the heptathlon at Arcadia. She runs in the 26s, and could probably get down in the 25s if she did it all the time.
“I was talking to college coaches, and they were all asking me what my 100 time was,” Preston said. “I told them I didn’t know because all I did was jump. One of them told me that all the great jumpers are great sprinters.”
Preston hasn’t run a 100 this year, but at 17.09 she’s probably the team’s best 100-meter hurdler. She ran a 26.80 200. The tools are there to be more than a jumper if she decides to branch out.
Her best bet to win a first-ever state championship is in the triple jump. Last week she jumped 37-1 1/4 to beat Douglas’ Olivia Abbott by six inches. The top qualifier from the Vegas area is Valley’s Eimani Thomas-Palmer, who went 36-1 3/4 last week,
“I know I can do it,” Preston said. If her injury doesn’t get in the way, she’s the overwhelming favorite in the event
Preston usually has to long jump and high jump in the same period of time, but she has a little break this weekend.
The field is looking up at Vashti Cunningham of Bishop Gorman in both events, however. Cunningham cleared 6-4 in her regional, and Preston, Neva Newling of Desert Oasis, Legacy’s Victoria Wuest and Galena’s Emily Etter were at 5-2.
Preston freely admits everybody is jumping for second place behind Cunningham in the high jump, and the Carson senior firmly believes she can take second place.
“She should take second place if she jumps like she is capable,” said Julie Reid, Carson’s high jump coach. “This will be a luxury for her to concentrate on one event at a time.”
Preston has jumped a school-record 5-7 this year at the Husky Invitational in Sacramento, but admits she has been up and down. It’s all about technique and form, and Preston is hoping she can put everything together on Saturday.
The long jump is her favorite event even though she’s had more success in the triple. She believes she can win the long jump.
“It’s my favorite right now,” she said. “Vashti has gone 18-3 one time. Most of the time she’s in the high 17s. I feel I could get her.”