Carson relay teams look to medal
Carson High has always put top-notch relay teams on the track during the postseason, and this year is no exception.
Entering Friday’s NIAA Division I State Track & Field Championships at Silverado High School in Las Vegas, both of the Senators’ 3200-relay squads have an excellent chance at bringing home a medal. The girls’ quartet of Jessie Balkwell, Cindy Juchtzer, Alex Drozdoff and Eveline Delgado is seeded third behind Coronado and Damonte Ranch at 9:52.70. The boys’ contingent of Michael Samii, Dexter Cummings, Taylor Bradshaw and Zach Heinz is also seeded third behind McQueen and Centennial at 8:07.
Carson coach Robert Maw said both teams could challenge for championships is they are able to shave some precious seconds off last week’s times.
Maw has elected to not switch his boys group around which means that Corey Reid won’t run in the event and Samii will. Samii ran a 2:05 leadoff leg last week, and Maw said that Samii’s time will have to come down by a couple of seconds. Heinz and Cummings were right round the 2-minute mark while Bradshaw ran a sub 2-minute leg.
“We’re going to ask (Samii) to,” Maw said. “He’s not one to back down from a challenge. I think Dexter has a little more to go, and I hope Taylor runs like the wind. There just wasn’t enough recovery time for Corey between the high jump and the relay.”
Drozdoff, Balkwell, Juchtzer and Delgado all ran under 2:30 for their respective legs at last week’s regional meet. Coronado, led by Sara Dort, qualified with a 9:44.95 and Damonte, led by Meagan Wood, ran a 9:52.60. Wood just barely out-leaned Delgado last week at the finish line.
“I think the girls are going to have to fight for second place,” Maw said.
Dakota Baker has been on a PR string the last week in both hurdle events. He qualified only in the 300 event, winning the regional title in a career-best 39.80. He is seeded second to Rancho’s Isaiah Culverson, who comes in at 39.18.
“He’s been wearing a smile on his face all week,” Maw said. “The field is so strong. I think he can bring his time down even more because he’s still a little sloppy with his arms on the first three hurdles.”
Athena Favero PR’d last week in the 300 hurdles, but she’s sixth coming into the meet at 46.6. The leader is Tiana Bonds of Centennial, who ran a 43.57 last week. Even another PR may not be enough to get her on the medal stand.
In the boys 800, all eight finalists ran under 2-minutes last week. Carson’s Taylor Bradshaw ran 1:57.43, which is the fastest time in the 800 at Carson since David McMasters ran a 1:58.13 in 2010. Connor Ross of McQueen leads the qualifiers at 1:55.16.
“Taylor is going to go after the school record,” Maw said. “He’s feeling really confident, especially after last week.”
Corey Reid and Maddie Preston qualified in two events apiece. Reid qualified in the high jump (6-1) and the 400 (48.89). He’s ranked ninth and third, respectively in his events entering the meet. Preston qualified first in the triple jump last week with a mark of 36-6 3/4, which puts her second in the field behind Silverado’s Jasmyn Garcia, who went 38 feet. In the long jump, Preston is ranked fifth at 17-0 1/4, four inches behind Bishop Gorman freshman Vashti Cunningham, daughter of ex-NFL star Randall Cunningham.
Reid is aiming to break George Pincock’s 2003 record of 48.85. Foothill’s James Henderson qualified with a 48.07. All eight finalists qualified in under 50 seconds last week.
“It will be a battle,” Maw said. “He wants to go for the school record. I think he can get it. It will help competing in less events (no 800, no relay) which keeps him fresh.”
About Preston, Maw said, “both Aarik (Wilson, assistant coach) and I feel she has 37-footer in her, She needs to be more aggressive.”
Randall Cunningham leads all state high jumpers with a best of 7-3, and he jumped 7-feet last week. Three other Southern Nevada kids jumped 6-4 last week, so Reid will have his hands full in that event, too.
Freshman Asa Carter has improved weekly and comes in fifth at 44-5 1/4 in the triple jump. Arphaxd Carroll of Valley leads the field at 47-7.
“Asa has improved by more than four feet this year,” Maw said. “I’m hoping he can make it through (and medal). He’s No. 4 in the nation for freshmen triple jumpers.”
Weight specialist Teresa Boehmer uncorked a PR (32-7 1/4) to make state, and she sits in the ninth qualifying spot. She will throw first in the finals. The leader is Ashlie Blake, who has thrown over 50 feet this year, but qualified at 47-10 1/4.
“It all depends on who shows up,” said Mike Louisiana, Carson’s throws coach. “She threw her best last week by seven inches. Teresa is young. I’ve seen her now for three years (8th, 9th and 10th grade). I think she can throw in the mid-30s. She is throwing first, and she had a big throw on her first try last week. That’s what we’re looking for this weekend.”
On paper, Madison Foley, Joshua Koch, Kaylee Turner, Aaron Elissa have the best shots at placing high this weekend in Las Vegas.
Foley, the Dust Devils’ volleyball star, is seeded first in the high jump (5-2) and fourth in the 100 hurdles (16.64). Koch is seeded second in both the discus (151-5) and the shot put (50-6). Elissa comes in as the top seed in the 1600 (4:40.17). Turner is ranked No. 2 in the shot put (37-5 1/4) and third in the discus (112-9).
Other performers are Katrina Breithaupt (3200, 7th, 12:46.11), Benji Ply (PV, 7th, 12-feet and HJ, 3rd, 6-2), Lettie Lynch (100, 5th, 12.94 and 200, 6th, 26.44), Andrew Goodman (400, 4th, 51.30), Ashley Vickers (LJ, 15-0, 6th), Josh Joyner (SP, 7th, 45-4 1/2 and Rybecca Fletcher (TJ, 7th, 30-8 1/2).