MESA – The culmination of the track season signified anything but the end.

Not with the group of young talent rolling through the Ahwatukee schools these days.

There were seniors like Horizon Honors senior distance runner Mikaela Martin, Desert Vista senior throwers Makenzie Holmes-DiGiovone and Jordan Rezac and Mountain Pointe senior hurdler Trey Lauer finishing in the top eight, but just about every other athlete who made an impression over the last three days at Mesa Community College will back again.

“They’re all just babies,” Desert Vista Cassandra Cline-MacKenzie said. “We are so young on the boys and girls teams. This is just the start.”

Mountain Pointe isn’t exactly a bunch of greybeards either as sophomore Autumn Smith rebounded to finish third in the 300 hurdles after struggling to perform in the 100 hurdles.

“It (the poor performance in the 100) was in the back of my head, but I finished strong,” she said. “I shouldn’t have been last in the 100.  I didn’t run a good race and stumbled to where I couldn’t recover so it was good to come back and perform.”

Pride junior Paul Lucas won the long jump and the 100 (10.66) before a hamstring injury, while freshman Kayleigh Conlon finished fifth in the discus on Wednesday and competed in the shot put on Saturday but didn’t place.

The epitome of the weekend’s performance that saw Desert Vista boys and girls finish as state runner-ups in the final team standings came from the Thunder’s 4x100 team.

The Desert Vista boys got a huge lift from its 4x100 boys relay team when it won the event with a time of 41.93.

“We were building to this,” said anchor Isaiah Ford, who also finished fifth in the 200 with a time of 22.44. “It was the race of the year.”

The Thunder came in as the second seed with time of 42.09 behind Mesquite, but blew that away on Saturday with a team that included two freshmen in Kendon Walker and Ryan Bender and sophomores Connor Watson and Ford.

“That’s huge for our program,” Desert Vista boys coach Chris Hanson said. “Huge.”

Watson also picked up a sixth place in the long jump (22-03.50) and sophomore Torrey Hickle (153-05) was fourth in the discus.

On the girls side, Dani Jones won the 3200, 1600 and finished second in the 800, while Mason Swenson, Baylee Jones and Mandy Davis, all of whom finished in the top six in all three distance races, will all be back.

In other word while season might be over, it is really just beginning for athletes like sophomore pole vaulter Vanessa Davis, who won her second state title with a 13-0 clearance.

“I was so close to getting 13-5 this year,” she said. “I wanted to get the state record (13-4), but it didn’t happen. I know I can get it, but I thought it was going to happen this year. I know I have some time, ya know, I wanted to have that going into next year.”

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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