Sports Notebook: 120-plus stronger, Aztec runners looking good

Corona’s girls and boys track and field team attracted over 300 athletes this spring, 120 more than last season. Many of these are freshmen and sophomores who, after just a few weeks of training, are starting to hit their stride.

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“We have a very young team this season, on both the boys and girls side,” said boys head coach Pat Scott. “We only have 45 senior athletes combined. Over 60% of the rest
are freshmen and sophomores who were not all that familiar with what’s involved in participating in a high school track and field event when they joined.”

“We’ve had a bit of a learning or teaching curve these last few weeks but we will be more competitive as the season progresses and as our athletes grow within the sport,” said Scott. The young athletes have been gaining valuable experience participating and competing in invitationals every week since their own Aztec Invitational, where they competed against 11 teams, with the boys finishing in sixth place.

The Aztecs also competed at the Devon Allen Invitational, hosted by Brophy College Preparatory, against 40 teams and next at the Red Mountain Rampage against 22 teams, once again taking sixth place. Some athletes have started to separate
themselves from the pack in different racing events, including the sprinters, mid-distance runners and distance runners.

“Currently, our top sprinters are freshman Brandon Holmes, senior Cameron Guss and
senior Zuri Glenn,” said Scott. “Besides providing team points in the shorter distance events, they should help us be able to formulate some competitive relays teams.”
For instance, Holmes was the Aztecs’ top runner in the 100 meters at the Aztec Invitational and Guss was second in the same race. The 4×100 relay team of Holmes, junior Domonick Ruiz, Glenn and sophomore Jude Stevens crossed the finish line in fifth place at the Aztec Invitational and then the 4×100 relay team of Guss, Holmes, Ruiz and Glenn came in eighth
at the Red Mountain Rampage. The mid-distance group has lots of young talent that will shock some people over the next few years,” said Scott.

“For instance, sophomore Aidan Bingham is one of the top talents on the team, and with athletes like freshman Ethan Celaya and sophomore Josh Wiesner, we will continue to grow and improve in that category.” Bingham was the top finisher and Celaya was secondat the Aztec Invitational in the 400-meter race. “Some of the best helpers and mentors on our
team come from the distance crew,” said Scott. “Seniors Zach Wiesner, Stephen Brown and Sean Waters do an amazing job encouraging young talents like freshmen Santiago Araiza and Elijah Rawson. We are blessed to have individuals like them on our team.”
Waters was the top finisher for Corona in the 800 and 1600 meters at the Aztec Invitational while Rawson and Araiza were right behind Waters in the 1600 meters. Brown was Corona’s top finisher in the 3200 meters at the Aztec Invitational, while Araiza was next in line followed by freshman Thomas Ash.

“Junior Ryan McVaugh and sophomore Gabriel Castillo are already a couple of the top hurdlers in the state,” said Scott. “As the season progresses, these two will only get better and be able to help our team score points.” McVaugh crossed the finish line in 6th place in the 110m hurdles at the Aztec event while Castillo raced in the 300m hurdle event finishing 10th. “Corona has a history of doing well in the relay races,” said Scott. “Last year, for instance, we broke the school record in the boys 4x400m relay.”

“Unfortunately, we graduated most of that 4×400 crew and a good portion of our other relay teams, as well,” he said. The 4×400 relay team of Zach Wiesner, Bingham, Castillo and Celaya crossed the finish line in seventh place at the Aztec event, while the 4×400 relay team of Celaya, junior Asher Chacon, Josh Wiesner and sophomore Jamal
Strayhand placed ninth at the Rampage.

“We are still sorting through the young talent we have on this year’s team to see who will work out to be the best runners on each of our relay teams,” said Scott. “In the past, we have been good at getting the right runner on the track for each relay team and getting the baton competitively around the track, so I feel good about our potential in the
relay races going forward.”

“It’s been a while since we’ve been able to say this but we will most likely be relying on our field events to carry the team this year,” said Scott. “We have one of the state’s best long jumpers, Zuri Glenn, to lead ours,” said Scott. “In addition, playing in the sand with Glenn are some other great jumpers, including Dominick Ruiz, Cameron Guss and senior Cory Block. Glenn set a personal record of 22-11.00 ft to take first place at the Aztec Invitational while Guss was 18th with a long jump of 19-05.50 ft. Ruiz took 1st place in the triple jump, clearing 42-00.00 and 8th place at the Aztec invitational in the long jump with a jump of 21-00.25 ft. Block triple jumped 40-05.50 to take third place at the Aztec Invitational while senior Sebastian MartinezMoreno was 12th.

“We also have the big men stepping up to score us some points in the throwing events, including junior Keane Abril, senior Malcolm Flynn, senior Jose Chavez, freshman Colin Duffy, and junior Filipe Ma’ake. Corona had three of these athletes finish in the top seven in the discus at the Aztec Invitational. Abril had a throw of 140.06 to take third place while Chavez was 6th and freshman Colin Duffy was 7th. Ma’ake finished in the top 20. Flynn took 7th place in the javelin at the Aztec Invitational with a throw of 137-03 ft. while
sophomore Aidan Gattie was 10th, junior Landen Sutton took 12th place and junior Benjamin Martinez finished in 17th place out of 33 athletes who competed.Overall, we have a good mix of good future talent combined with some great veteran athletes that will ensure we finish the season strongly while getting ready for future
seasons,” said Scott. “There’s a lot of excitement for us right now and it’s an exciting time to be an Aztec in the track and field sport.”

Up next, Corona will compete at the 84th NIKE Chandler Rotary Invitational held March 22 and March 23 at the Chandler High School outdoor track.



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