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Sanchez honored as track athlete of the year

By Charles Whisnand

Appeal Sports Editor

It was really a no-brainer that Carson High’s Kayla Sanchez was honored as the Gatorade Nevada State Female Track Athlete of the Year for 2007-2008.

But it still came as a surprise to Sanchez. “It’s really cool that I got the award,” Sanchez said. “I didn’t really expect it.”

Sanchez earned the honor, which is presented by Gatorade along with RISE Magazine, after a stellar career in which she won 12 NIAA 4A State titles at CHS. As the Nevada state winner, Sanchez is now a finalist for the Gatorade National Female Track Athlete of the Year which will be presented later this month.

The state award is in recognition for athletic and academic achievement and community service.

Sanchez capped off her career at Carson by winning three more state titles this past spring. She won the 200 meters in an outstanding time of 24.21 seconds and also won the 300-meter hurdles and the long jump with a leap of 17 feet, 4 1/4 inches.

She holds the State 4A meet record in the 300 hurdles at 43.25 seconds and also won this past spring’s Northern 4A meet in the event in 42.82 seconds. Sanchez ranked among the nation’s best in high school in the event.

She ended up winning four state titles in the 300 hurdles and 200 and three state crowns in the 100. She finished second at state in the 100 this past spring.

Sanchez was also an all-Sierra League first team performer in soccer. She maintained a B average while in high school and has helped her father, Louie Sanchez, coach the Nevada Comets in softball. In addition, she has donated her time at middle school track meets.

“She’s the foundation of our team,” CHS track coach Robert Maw said. “You can build a team around someone that talented. If she could compete in more than four events, she’d probably almost win everything. To have someone come through wins state year and year is an anomaly around here.”

Sanchez is now looking forward to competing for Arizona State where she will run in the 400 hurdles, the 4×400 relay and possibly in the 100 and 200 as well. Sanchez said she’s now set to begin her summer training in earnest and will leave for ASU in late July or early August.

She watched last weekend’s NCAA Outdoor Track Championships and said she received extra motivation from watching the Sun Devils fall short of winning their fourth straight national title. ASU settled for second with 63 points as it was edged out by LSU, which won the title with 67.

ASU is the reigning NCAA Indoor champion. “I’m really excited to go down there and start training,” Sanchez said.