The Aztec track and field program has two new head coaches this season. Pete Salazar is the boys head coach and Brian Crane is the girls head coach. Together they are taking over the duties of long-time Corona teacher and head track coach Tim Kelly.
Crane taught physical education at Kyrene Middle School for 12 years and is currently teaching physical education at a high school in Mesa. He has 10 years of experience coaching track including the last three years as the long and triple-jump coach at Corona along with coaching stints at Mountain Pointe, McClintock and Kyrene Middle School.
In addition to the duties as the head girls coach, Crane will continue as the long and triple-jump coach at Corona.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity to coach the girls team and I’m looking forward to working with these girl athletes this season to help them be successful,” said Crane.
Salazar, a special education teacher at Corona, is the boys golf coach in the fall, JV boys basketball coach during the winter and now the head boys track and field coach in the spring.
This season the team had about 160 kids come out for track, according to Crane.
“Out of those 160 kids, we have about 30 returning girls athletes from last season and about 45 returning boys,” said Crane.
Both teams started the preseason by participating in the 9th Annual Susan Mortensen Cancer Run in February, held at Kiwanis Park in Tempe.
Susan Mortensen was a cross-country and track star at Corona who graduated in 2001. She then competed in both sports at the University of Arizona. At the age of 25 she was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer and died not long after.
The money donated at this event will support the Mortensen Turley foundation whose goal is to raise awareness in young people that cancer can happen at any age and that’s it’s important to get checked early.
On March 3, Corona hosted the Aztec Invite where 18 teams, mostly from Division I, participated. Corona’s boys team finished in eight place and the girls team in 10th place.
Senior Adam Knuff was the top finisher for the Aztecs taking first place in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.85 and third place in the 300-meter hurdles setting a personal record of 39.18.
One of Corona’s football stars, senior Kobee Marion, finished third in the 40-meter dash setting a personal record of 5.31.
In the field events, Tyson McLain, only a sophomore, jumped a personal record 6-02.00 in the high jump event to take second place while junior Keb Summers placed fifth in the triple jump and sixth in the long jump.
Junior Michael Hall set a personal record of 138-00 leading to a sixth-place finish in the discus throw.
In the relay races, Corona’s 4×100 relay team of Landon McFall, Jean Boyd, Jack Farley and Summers crossed the finish line in sixth place as did the Aztec’s 4×800 relay of Diego Camino, Wyatt Grubb, Zachary Johnson and Caleb Venjohn.
The Aztec 4×400 relay team of David Keeney, Raymond Mendoza-Lopez, Kaden Williamson and Dylan Waterhouse placed seventh.
Senior Lincoln Johnston, running in the distance races, took eighth place in both the 1600 meters and 3200 meters while junior Joel Wadsworth placed 10th in both the 800-meter and 1600-meter races.
Junior Mendoza-Lopez set a personal record of 52.32 to be one of Corona’s top finishers to finish in eighth place in the 400-meter run.
Junior Casey Barmore placed ninth in the 100meter dash with a time of 11.58 just barely beating his teammate, junior McFall, who finished in 10th place with a time of 1159. Barmore also finished ninth in the 200-meter dash.
“I expect our girls team to improve as the season progresses,” said Crane. “We have a group of girls who are fairly good listeners and pretty good athletes come out for the team this spring who are working really hard to get better which is what you need to be successful in the running and field events.”
Kelsy Lum started her senior season as the top girl finisher at the Aztec Invite with a third place in the 300-meter hurdles and a fourth place in the 100meter hurdles. Lum set a season record with a time of 16.82 in the 100-meter hurdles.
Corona’s 4×800 relay team of Emily Rugg, Mia Da Rosa, Katie Carroll and Audrey Weidner place fourth while the 4×200 relay team of Abigail Holmes, Zoe Johnson, Mariah Olsen and Taylor Daugherty came in sixth.
Junior Meg Horvath was seventh in the 100meter dash while senior Riley Wright was12th in the 1600-meter race.
In the field events, Amber Burrell placed sixth in the shot put and ninth in the discus while junior Brooke Schmidt was eighth in the discus and Olivia Nesky was eighth in the javelin throw.
Junior Jolynn Fleming placed seventh and junior Marina Bafaloukos was 10th in the pole vault while Lum competed in the long jump taking ninth place.
Junior Lauryn White and freshman Kayla Cortez tied for ninth place in the high jump event clearing 4-10.00.
Corona competed at the Brophy Prep AMDG Invitational March 9 at the Brophy Sports Complex against 23 other, mainly Division I, teams.
Highlights from the boys team included a second-place finish and a personal record of 10.79 for Knuff in the 100-meter dash, a fifth place for Lincoln Johnson in the 1600-meter run where he set a personal record of 4:26.31 and a fifth place for freshman Lucas Hertel in the triple jump.
Wadsworth set a season record of 2:02.45 in the 800-meter run to take sixth place while the 4×400 relay team of Knuff, Keeney, Mendoza-Lopez and McFall pulled it together to finish in third place out of 22 teams.
Jolynn Fleming, setting a personal record of 8-06.00 to place fifth in the pole vault, was one of the highlights from the girls team along with the 4×400 relay team of Meg Horvath, Kelsy Lum, Audrey Weidner and Riley Wright taking sixth place.
Up next, both teams are scheduled to compete March 23 at the Red Mountain Rampage and the 78th NIKE Chandler Rotary March 23-24.
McClintock Track and Field
McClintock’s boys and girls track and field teams competed at the Aztec Invitational held March 3 hosted by Corona del Sol against 11 Division I and six other Division II teams.
Sophomore Davieon Center was the top finisher for the Chargers boys team taking fourth place with a 47-01 meter put the shot put event. Center also placed 13th in the discus throw.
Senior Jonathan Warner ran a personal record time of 51.73 to take fifth place in the 400-meter race while senior teammate Adam Torregrossa crossed the finish line right behind him to take seventh place with a time of 51.79.
Other top finishers for McClintock’s boys team included a seventh place for senior Sergio Medina in the 300-meter hurdles and a 14th place for fellow senior Davon Williams in the same event.
Junior William Roberts placed 12th in the long jump with a leap of 19-04.50 and sophomore Jeremy Huckaby came in 20th in the 200-meter race.
The top finisher for the girls team was sophomore Navaria Ortiz who placed sixth in the 100-meter dash and eighth in the 200meter dash.
Freshman Selema Ortiz ran a personal record of 2:28.17 in the 800-meter race to take seventh place.
The Chargers also competed at the Brophy Prep AMDG Invitational March 9 at the Brophy Sports Complex against 23 other, mainly Division I teams.
Highlights from the boys team included a second-place finish in the 4×400 relay of Boyd, Torregrossa, Warner and Medina.
Senior Torren Baker placed third in the 800-meter run while Boyd was third and Warner seventh in the 400-meter run. Medina placed seventh in the 300-meter hurdles.
In the field events, Center set personal records in both the shot put and discus. He took third place in the shot put with a PR 48-04.50 and third place in the discus with a PR of 143-01.
McClintock’s girls 4×400 relay team of Navaria Ortiz, Selema Ortiz, Rachel Early and Kennedy Nichols placed fourth in that relay event while freshman Selema Ortiz took ninth place in the 400-meter run.
The Chargers next big meet with be the 78th NIKE Chandler Rotary March 23-24.
Marcos de Niza Track and Field
The Padres competed against 33 teams from Division I-IV at the Saunders Montague Desert Classic on March 2 at Queen Creek High School.
The top finisher for the boys team was senior Carlan Naisant who placed first in the javelin and fifth in the shot put.
Junior Orion Hunter pole vaulted 12-00.00 setting his season record and taking fourth place while TJ Thiel placed 11th in the same pole vault event.
Senior Joseph Tyreman placed eighth in the 3200-meter run.
The top finisher for the girls team was senior Melahni Washington’s 15th place finish in the high jump event.
The 4×800 relay team of Leisly Argota, Anna Bell, Macy Ruiz and Morgan Mcalphin took 18th place out of the 33 teams who competed at Brophy while the 4×100 relay team of Ashley McGee, Jacqueline Soto Vasquez, Alohna Taylor and Washington to 20th place.
The 4×400 relay team of Washington, Argota, Tamera Rivera and Neveah Rivas placed 22nd out of 33 teams.
Marcos de Niza’s Carlan Naisant was the only member of the Padre track and field team to compete at the Willie Williams Classic Invitational March 15-16 at the University of Arizona.
Naisant, a senior in his last season of high school track, took first place in the javelin event setting a personal record of 202 feet 10 inches.
Both the boys and girls teams are scheduled to compete at the 78th NIKE Chandler Rotary March 23-24.