For the second time this season, Corona’s girl’s track team has set a new school record. The Lady Aztec 4×800 meter relay team of Victoria Haun, Kelly Naumann, Hallie Swenson and Mason Swenson led from the get-go taking first place at the 73rd Chandler Rotary Track Invitational and setting a new school record March 23.
“Yes, our girls 4×800 relay team broke the school record at the Chandler Rotary with 9:40.69,” said coach Tim Kelly. “Overall, we had some great results at Chandler.”
Chandler went this year to a non-scoring meet, but, according to Kelly, Corona would probably have finished second in points if it has been a scoring meet.
“We added the points up and if they had scored the elite featured meet held Saturday night, which was the best of all entries in two heats and times, we would have come in behind Long Beach Poly by only three points,” said Kelly. “We are definitely making some headway.”
Further highlights from girls team at the Chandler Rotary included Hallie Swenson taking 5th place and her sister Mason 9th in the 800 meter and Lauren Lucky taking 11th in the shot put.
Corona’s boys team placed several runners in the top ten including a 2nd place and personal best finish of 9:28.89 for Ryan Normand in the 3200 meter run who shaved 40.37 seconds off his fastest time last season.
Nate Rodriguez, who took 3rd in both the one mile and 1600 meter races, completed the mile in 4:16.75 and the 1600 a little more than a minute faster in 4:15.30.
Interestingly enough, Rodriguez, one of Corona’s high hopes for a Division I state championship, finished both races behind Andy Trouard of Salpoint Catholic who was the Division II state champion last season. Rodriguez’s only other competition was an out-of-state runner, Jordon Cross, of Odgen.
The Chandler Rotary was the fastest Rodriguez had run the 1600 during his track career at Corona shaving off 2.94 seconds from his fastest time last season when he ran 4:18.65 at the state meet.
Bernie Montoya, out of Cibola, beat out Rodriguez at the state meet last season but proved his was beatable in the 1600 by finishing at the Chandler Rotary in 5th place with a time of 4:18.53 or 3.23 seconds slower than Rodriquez.
Rodriguez also ran the second leg of Corona’s 4×400 relay team of Patrick Buck, Tevin Mayfield and Nicholas Creasman helping propel them to a 3rd place finish.
Mayfield had a great outing for Corona at the Chandler Rotary in the hurdles events finishing 2nd in the 300 meter hurdles and 3rd in the 110 meter hurdles. Mayfield set a new personal record in the 300 meter shaving off .33 seconds from his best finish from last season.
Other notable finishes for the boys team included Quinn Robertson’s 6th place finish in the 300 meter hurdles and Jacob Whitney’s 13th place in the 3200 meter run.
Aaron Simons was the top finisher for the Aztecs in the field event with a 5th place in the discus. Wyatt Larson came in 9th in the triple jump.
Aery Ware was the top finisher for Corona’s girls team in the Open section with a 2nd place finish in the 400 meter dash.
Corona’s last meet before press time was another championship at the 8th Annual Basha Co-ed Relays held at Basha High School, March 28.
“Our boys and girls really stepped it up at the Basha Relays for a fifth consecutive championship,” said Kelly.
There were several top finishes for the Aztecs relay teams including first place for the Girls 4×100 Meter Relay, Girls 800 Sprint Medley, Boys 4×400 Meter Relay and the Boys 4×800 Meter Relay.
Top five finishers for the girls team included Grace Ashu, 3rd in the 100 meter dash and 3rd in the 100 meter hurdles, 4th place for Samantha Moore in the 1600 meter run, and a 5th place for Kelly Naumann in the 800 meter run.
The boys team has several top finishers including 1st place in both the 800 and 1600 meter run for Rodriguez and a 1st place for Mayfield in the 110 meter hurdles. Creasman finished 3rd in the 800 meter run and Normand was 3rd in the 1600.
The team did well in the field events too including the mixed throwing events were Simons, Sam Radford, Lucky and Marina Lay took 1st while the Aztecs broke another record, this time in the mixed triple jump.
“The triple jump tandem of Wyatt Larson, Dakota Summers, Stephanie Allen and Lauren Hightower broke a 15-year old co-ed relay record,” said Kelly.
Corona had busty first week in April hosting Marcos de Niza April 2 and then competing in the ASU Classic on April 4 before several Corona athletes head off to the Arcadia Invitational in Arcadia, CA, April 5-6.
The following week, the Aztec freshman and JV will compete against Desert Vista at home before the Tempe Stampede Invitational at Tempe High School April 19 and the Freshman Showcase at Desert Vista April 20.
Marcos de Niza Track — Senior Savannah Whitehead has a bright future, if her performance in the pole vault at the Chandler Rotary, is any indication. Whitehead jumped 12-07.00 to take home a first place finish.
Aztec Lacrosse — The Aztec Lacrosse team is having one of its best starts in recent years currently sporting an 8-1 record and ranked No. 2 in the standing and No. 5 out of 25 teams based on power point rankings according to coach Cliff Prausa.
The Aztecs recently won two close games the last week in March, defeating Hamilton 7-6 and Chandler 8-7.
On offense, the Aztecs are led by the league’s leading scorer, Garret Howell, who put up some impressive statistics over the first seven games of the season. Howell scored 33 goals or 4.71 goals a game, 22 assists and 55 points.
He is followed by Jared Duvall, No. 18 in the league-scoring category, who scored 19 goals, 5 assists and 24 points over the first seven games.
Other offensive stat leaders on the team include freshman attack Jake Patterson with 11 goals and 4 assists to his credit while only playing in 2 games due to injury. Senior midfield Paul Sion is next on the team with 6 goals and 4 assists while junior midfield Ben Fitzhugh was credited on the league website with 7 goals and 2 assists.
On defense, the Aztecs were only giving up nine goals per game during the first seven games.
“We are led on defense by junior goaltender Alex Tunberg, senior defenseman Zach Cope and senior long stick midfielder Nate Sell,” said Prausa.
Tunberg had saved 74 goal attempts or 55% of the attacks he sustained while on goal.
Other returning veterans are senior defenseman Matt Blevins, senior long stick midfielder Wade Savage, and junior defensemen Tristan Butters, Patrick Surcouf and Trevor Tracey.
New to the varsity team this season are senior defensive midfielder Austin Dulis and junior defensive midfielder Mike Clare who have been doing a great job according to Prausa.
Additional midfielders contributing to the team’s success this season are seniors Kendal Hutton, Sam Waxman, Ryan Connor, Austin Barringer and Brandon Haws, and sophomores Colton Saurland, Logan Horvath and Luke Marois.
With five game left on the season, the Aztecs have the opportunity to improve on their record and even get the advantage of hosting a playoff game on their home field.
“We have some games against last year’s semi-finalist and finalist on our schedule, such as Desert Vista, currently No. 4 in the standings on April 5, and then against the defending state champion Brophy on April 10,” said Prausa. “It will be a good gauge where we are leading into the playoffs.”
Corona Baseball — Aztec baseball, currently 8-6 and 5-3 in their region, has been on a bit of a rollercoaster ride lately.
“We win a couple and lose a couple,” said coach Dave Webb. “Hopefully we can get it figured out heading into the ‘meat grinder’ known as our power point games which start this week.”
Part of the problem may be that the Aztecs lost starting shortstop, Josh Ethier, for over two weeks due to a fractured hand but he should be able to get back onto the field the first week in April, according to Webb.
Other players have stepped up their game to help the Aztecs during this period.
“Jeff Carter, who is filling in at shortstop for us, is tearing the cover off the ball,” said Webb. “Then Nathan Chokey, in center field, is running everything down and batting over .500 for us.”
The first week of April the Aztecs had a brutal week facing off against three power point opponents in back-to-back games. First they were scheduled to play at Hamilton, April 2, at home against Mountain Pointe, April 3 and then at Mesquite, April 4.
Upcoming, Corona will host Gilbert, April 9, and then play against Desert Vista at Chase Field on April 11 before playing at Marcos de Niza, April 12.