The track and field season for the Ahwatukee area tends to bring in a boatload of success stories and along with it medals galore.
And 2013 shouldn’t be any different.
The Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista programs return tons of talent that should only get better, while Horizon Honors has been one of the smaller division’s quality programs in recent years.
“We expect to compete at a high level at the big meets we enter and finish with a top five finish at state,” Pride coach Jeff Griffin said.
The Pride boys are coming off a third-place finish at state and return many of the main contributors this year.
It starts with school-record holder Travonn White, who looks to break 25 feet in competition in the long jump after doing just that in USTAF event in Flagstaff recently, while Paul Lucas is expected to make a push to be among the top sprinters.
“Our strength is in the sprinters and we will have some surprises in the distances,” Griffin said. “Travonn White in the jumps and Paul Lucas on the track could make runs at records.”
Other top returners are Kejavon Moore (sprints), Jacob Richmond (high jump), Avi Daputi (distance), Sean Higgenbothem (distance), Ryan Green (throws), among the boys; while Kevina Godfrey (sprints), Cera Hassinan (distance), and Hannah DeMarr (throws) led a strong contingent of athletes on the girls team.
Desert Vista will be pushing to be among the best dual program in the state yet again. There are very few Division I schools that can be counted on to finish in the top eight in boys and girls annually.
The Thunder could very well be at it again this year with talent, depth and experience to make both squads contenders.
The Desert Vista boys will be led by senior Ryan Dykstra (distance), Dylan Fischer (throws) and Scott Marshall (pole vault).
State is nothing new to this trio, and look for Fischer (shot put) and Marshall to take a run at the school record in their specialty.
As always with the Thunder there will be others to garner plenty of points as Desert Vista always seems to be at its best in the end.
“We are youthful in some areas, but we are always looking to compete,” Thunder coach Chris Hanson said. “We will rely on work ethic, enthusiasm and coaching.”
The Thunder girls will be led by Dani Jones (middle distance), Tess Davis (hurdles), Vanessa Davis (pole vault), Alexa Homewood (middle distance), Octobria Staddler (sprints), Damali Britton (long jump), Makenzie Holmes-Digiovine (throws), and Victoria Wadsworth (throws).
The foursome of Jones, Tessa Davis, Homewood and Saddler are all sophomores with a chance to develop into one the state’s top 4x400 relay teams.
“There is no doubt in my mind they can get there,” DV girls coach Cassandra Cline said last season. “They’ve all run in national meets and they are already comfortable at this level. They will get (the record).”
Horizon Honors will have a quality girls season with Samantha Weeman (sprints), April Vidal (400), Mikaela Martin (distance) and Shaila Homan (distance) leading the way; while Conor Pendleton (400) will need some help on the boys side of the things to keep the Eagles competitive.
• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.