Running is in their blood.
Or as Ben Trotter explains, in their genes.
In either case, something makes Ben, his older sister, Chardae, and their cousin, Brandon Trotter, fast sprinters on the Mountain Pointe track and field team this season.
“It’s genetic,” said Ben, a sophomore sprinter and long jumper. “Our dad was very athletic and played football, basketball and ran track.”
But it’s more than that, Pride track coach Jeff Griffin said.
“Somewhere along the way they had to get the bug to like track and field.”
Some of that infectious bug may have come from Ben and Chardae’s sister, Polyanna, another standout sprinter for the Pride, who won the girls 5A-I state 200-meter sprint championship before she graduated in 2007. She was also third in the 100 meters that same season.
“I want to be better than her,” Chardae said with a bit of sibling rivalry. “I want to win state, too.”
She was sixth in the 200 as a sophomore and a junior.
This could be her year. Chardae is a senior and running the same event as her sister in addition to the 100 meters, 4x100 and 4x400 relays.
“The 200 can be tough because you’re running on the curve,” she said. “But I seem to pick up speed on the curve.”
Chardae is also the lead runner in the 4x400 relay, a spot where she feels comfortable.
“I think the first leg is better for me because I have a chance to give my team a lead,” she said.
Brandon excels at 400 meters but Ben feels he is best in the flat-out 100 meters, but he also runs to 200 and is on the boys 4x100 and long jump, an event where his speed comes in handy.
“You need speed in the long jump, too, just to get that distance in the air,” he added.
It takes more than the right physical build and speed to reach the level the Trotters have this season.
“I’ve seen a lot of kids who look like they should be able to run, but aren’t always successful because they really don’t like what they’re doing,” Griffin explained.
And when they’re on the track they’re on their own.
“It takes a special person to line up against someone else and say, ‘I’m better than you,’ knowing you’re not going to be getting any help from your buddies,” Griffin said.
This year’s state championships will be spread out over three days starting on Wednesday, May 12, through Saturday, May 15, at Mesa Community College. A majority of the sprint and relay finals will be held on Saturday.
The Trotters get a chance to see how some of the competition has evolved over the season today at the HoHoKam (formerly the Tribune) Invitational hosted by Mesa Westwood High School.