The lasting image of Paul Lucas’ junior track season is one of him sprawled out on the track at Mesa Community College.
He still won, by the way, but it signified the end of one of the best individual seasons in Arizona track history.
The Mountain Pointe sprinter had the state’s best times in the 100, 200 and 400 along with posting the best long jump of the season.
At the state meet he won the long jump but felt a twinge in the hamstring. The twinge became a strain near the end of the 100 when he won the event in 10.66 seconds despite the pain that forced him to pull up near the finish line and fall on the track.
It was a disappointing end — to him and track fans — but it did not tarnish the season he had on the way to being named the Tribune Boys Track Athlete of the Year.
“It’s part of God’s plan,” he said at the time. “It happened for a reason. I have more to look forward to and that’s all I can focus on now. There are bigger things ahead. I just have to be smart about it.”
One of those bigger things happened this weekend when Lucas competed in the Great Southwest Classic this weekend in Albuquerque, N.M. He ended up not competing in the event.
Once Lucas, who has more than 10 football scholarship offers, gets in a top field — just like he did at the renowned Arcadia Invitational during the season — he tends to be at this best.
“As good as a athlete Paul is, he is a great competitor,” Pride assistant coach Larry Todd said. “He brings a strong work ethic to practice every day and doesn’t shy away from the difficult workouts. He also has the ability to retain coaching information and the body awareness to evaluate his races and jumps. When an athlete gains an understanding of what they are being taught it makes it easier for mistakes to be corrected and Paul has the ability to not only help himself but his teammates as well with technical issues.”
The best part of Lucas’ season might have had nothing to do with posting a record time or finishing strong, but taking time out help others.
The Pride had a special needs student with Down syndrome work with the team this season and one of the athletes who showed the most interest in getting him to practice was Lucas.
“I don’t look at it like a challenge,” Lucas said early in the year. “It’s a fun learning experience working with him. God blessed me with all of these abilities and not everyone has them. I definitely know not to take them for granted.”
• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.
2014 All-Tribune Boys Track
Event Name Year School Comment
100 Tre’von Myles Sr. Mesquite Div. I runner-up had best time of 10.59
200 Paul Lucas Jr. Mountain Pointe More to come from elite speedster; ran 20.84
400 Carter Brown Sr. Mountain View Rose to the occasion to win Div. I title in 48.63
800 Nate Rodriguez Sr. Corona del Sol Closed career with best time of 1:52.97
1,600 Nate Rodriguez Sr. Corona del Sol One of best in nation with time of 4:09.01
3,200 Lucky Schreiner Jr. Campo Verde Div. II champ; top time of 9:08.10
110 HH Tevin Mayfield Sr. Corona del Sol Steady improvement produced Div. I title in 14.02
300 IH Tevin Mayfield Sr. Corona del Sol Dropped below 38-second barrier with 37.78
HJ Sam Shoultz Sr. Corona del Sol Burst onto the scene with a personal-best jump of 6-9
LJ Paul Lucas Jr. Mountain Pointe All that speed produced a Div. I title with 24-4 1/2 jump
TJ Conner Watson So. Desert Vista Outstanding young talent went 46-3 1/4 to place 4th in Div. I
PV Connor Stevens So. Hamilton Emerged from crowded pack to win Div. I title at 15-3
SP Beau Eggers Sr. Hamilton Best throw of 57-11; was third in Div. I
Discus Beau Eggers Sr. Hamilton Div. I champ was 4 feet clear of rest of state with throw of 175-8
Track athlete of the year: Paul Lucas, Mountain Pointe
Coach of the year: Gabe Bolton, Campo Verde - The Coyotes rode a strong distance crew to a second-place finish in Div. II, the most competitive division at the state meet, and were just six points away from claiming their first state team title.
Event Name Year School Comment
100 Weston Barlow Jr. Queen Creek Div. II state champ ran 10.86 into strong wind
200 Kenneth Owens Jr. Williams Field Div. II champ got better as year progressed, ran 21.83
400 Mykeal Ham Sr. Westwood Closed career with 2nd-place finish in Div. I at 48.77
800 Cade Burks So. Perry Second in Div. I with 1:54.22; has potential for multiple titles
1,600 Lucky Schreiner Jr. Campo Verde Div. II champ made jump to elite status with 4:14.08
3,200 Tyler Day Jr. Mesquite Had great close to season with runner-up finish in Div. I
110 HH Josh Davis Sr. Mesquite Was 2nd in Div. I with time of 14.05
300 IH Elijah Williams Sr. Hamilton Became a contender this season with top time of 38.05
HJ Reed Bussey Jr. Queen Creek 2nd place in Div. II with personal best jump of 6-8
LJ Zach Rucas Sr. Basha Consistent performer went 22-11 to place 4th in Div. I
TJ Ryan Rodriguez Sr. Seton Catholic Won Div. III title with jump of 43-7 1/2
PV Jacob Alme Sr. Desert Vista Best clearance during season was 15-6; was 2nd in Div. I
SP Samiuela Taueli Jr. Mesa Showed great improvement; had best throw of 55-10
Disc. Jordan Rezac Sr. Desert Vista Third at Div. I meet; best throw was 171-5
Tribune staff writer Steve Burks complied the All-Tribune squad.