Sprints have become Winder’s track haven
Sahara Winder freely admits there was a time when she didn’t like track, in particular the 400-meter race.
If you know her background, it’s a strange statement. According to Carson High coach Robert Maw, Winder was one of the top 400 runners in the nation as a middle-school athlete.
“She was running 60-second 400s,” Maw said earlier this week. “She ran 61 as a freshman, but her sophomore and junior years she was running 62s and 63s. I think she lost her focus; her drive.”
Winder kept running, but the results weren’t great.
“I didn’t like the 400,” she said while preparing for this weekend’s State Track & Field Championships at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas. “It was a hard race. I just always hurt at the end.”
Winder reached state last year as part of the 400-meter relay with ValerieSue Meyer, Athena Favero and Josilyn Daggs. The team finished third in 49.43, and she’s also part of the 400 and 800-meter relay teams this year with Favero, Meyer and Hailey Palotas, who has been subbed in for Maddie Preston, who has anchored the team this year in the latter event. Preston strained a hamstring last weekend, and Maw indicated he wanted to keep Preston fresh for her individual events.
Winder had found her niche. She was a sprinter, and her performance this year backed that up.
Winder reached state in both the 100 and 200, finishing third in both events with times of 12.61 and 25.76, respectively.
“She looks really good,” Maw said. “She looks fast and strong. We’ve been working hard on the front side of her knee lift.”
“I got in the 12s and the 25s, and that’s what I was hoping to do this year,” Winder said. “I started to like track again last year.”
Carson’s 800-meter girls relay team, which won the regional championship in 1:45.01, has the fourth-fastest time in the field behind Arbor View (1:42.75), Rancho (1:43.07) and Centennial (1:43.68).
“The girls have three days to work together,” Maw said. “We don’t lose a whole lot with Hailey. She is a strong runner. We’ll be looking at using ValerieSue or Sahara at anchor.”
The 400-meter group will start in the outside on lane eight based on its third-place regional finish. Centennial (48.72), Arbor View (49.20) and Liberty (49.37) are the top qualifiers out of regionals.
Corey Reid is ranked first in the 400 (47.27 last week), fourth in the 200 (21.79 PR, tied school record) and tied for first in the high jump with a qualifying mark of 6-6.
“I think he can PR in the 200 and 400,” Maw said. “He tied the school record last week in the 200 (George Pincock). We’ve been moving our training toward this (PRs, improved times).
In the 200, Reid will butt heads with Green Valley’s Ian Mack, who qualified with a 21.13, and Damonte’s Ivan Giron-Burnham, whom he edged last week at regionals. In the 400, it will be Reid, Mack and McQueen’s Connor Ross. Expect all three to be in the 47s. Reid tied a career-best in the high jump last week at 6-6, and he thinks he’s capable of 6-8 if he can get his technique down. Teammate Greg Wallace, who has gone 6-6 this year, enters the event at 6-4.
Ian Schulz enters the fray ranked third in the boys discus (162-3 qualifying mark and 167-11 career best). Liberty’s Darrell Kaanaana leads the shot qualifiers (53-9 1/2) and his teammate Cyrius Vea (176-2) leads in the discus. The 176-2 is tops in the state.
Asa Carter is the top triple-jump qualifier with a best of 46-6 1/4 and a qualifying mark of 45-9 last week. Teammate Aaron Woodbury sits eighth at 43-6. Carter is the seventh qualifier in the long jump, and he likely needs a 22-foot jump to get into the top three.
Carter runs on the Senators’ 800-meter relay team, and Maw has opted to switch the assignments around. Carter will now run the lead leg with Hector Gomez Barrios and Brandon Basa running the middle legs. Carson barely got in last week, as Carter and Reid were phenomenal. Reid’s split was 19.9.
“We had him times at 20 by hand,” Maw said. “We ran it back several times and found that he went a little faster than that.”
Meyer will also be busy with three events, the two relays and the 400. She ran an impressive 57.37 en route to a second-place finish at state last year as a freshman.
Preston was second in the triple jump (37-3 1/4) last year, fourth in the long jump (17-1 3/4) and eighth in the high jump at 4-10. If she can get her strained hamstring healthy, she has a great chance to go top-three in all three events, and maybe win the triple where she’s ranked first. She’s second to Gorman’s Vashti Cunningham based on last weekend’s qualifying and she comes into the high jump tied for second at 5-2 in the high jump.
Favero comes off a season-best of 46.47 last week, and she’s ranked second to Coronado’s Charleen Jordan.