Jasmine Todd and Sherod Hardt were just selected by the East Valley Tribune as its high school Track Athletes of the Year among schools in the East Valley.
But they would just as easily qualify as two of the best in the state.
The nice thing about the award selections made the the Trib staff is that they cover just their readership area, which means high school athletes that might not get a shot at state-wide honors do get recognition in a narrower field. That pertains particularly to their First Team and Second Team selections.
But Hardt and Todd would be somewhere near the top of any list this season.
Hardt is a senior that has performed well throughout his high school career, but was constantly running in the shadow of Brian Shrader from Sinagua, who was just named the Gatorade Arizona Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year. Shrader, running for Sinagua HS in Flagstaff, won four state titles in his last season, including the 800m, 1,600m, 3,200m and as a member of the 4×800 relay.
This year, Hardt and Shrader weren’t competing head-to-head because Hardt’s Queen Creek HS was moved out of Sinagua’s classification.
Hardt responded by winning three individual state titles in his last season and led Queen Creek to the 4A-I boys state championship. His titles came in the distance events, where he has always excelled – the 1,600m, and 3,200m – but he added the 800m. And he did it in dramatic fashion, winning the 800m championship in the last event of the day.
But Hardt admitted he liked the rivalry with Shrader. “That competitiveness gives you something to work for when you’re training,” he told a Trib writer.
On the girl’s side, Jasmine Todd didn’t wait until her senior year to begin accomplishing big things.
Todd was a sophomore at Chandler HS last season when she captured four state titles at a single championship meet. She won the 100m, triple jump, long jump, and ran a leg of the 4×100 relay to play a major role in her school’s fifth consecutive state championship.
She owns the third-longest triple jump in state history at 40’01” and the fourth-longest long jump in the nation, with a leap of 19’11”. The long jump mark is also a 5A-I record.
The four state championships this year make it six overall in her short two-year start to what should be an amazing high school career.
And she’s not resting on her laurels over the summer. Todd will be competing in both the Nike Track Nationals in Oregon, where she will be entered in the 100m and long jump, and the National Junior Track & Field Championships in Iowa.
Here’s a look at the All-Tribune First Teams:
Boys First Team: (100m) Anders Battle, Desert Vista HS (200m) Jordan, Hamilton HS (400m) Dylan Hambright, Arcadia HS (800m) Sherod Hardt (1600m) Thomas Williams, Brophy Prep (3200m) Matt Whitlach, Corona del Sol HS (110HH) Cameron Taylor, Westwood HS (300IH) Harry Danilevics, Brophy Prep (shot put) Gerard Ingallina, Hamilton HS (discus) Geoff Roxborough, Brophy Prep (high jump) Breylan Uchytil, Mountain View HS (triple jump) Lewis Todd, Chandler HS (long jump) Aaron Hill, Williams Field HS (pole vault) Alex Bishop, Brophy Prep.
Girls First Team: (110m) Shannon Jacobs, Highland HS (200m) Mackenzie Flannigan, Chandler HS (400m) Alexis Roberts, Chandler HS (800m) Yasmine Yacut, Desert Vista HS (1600m) Ashley Workman, Queen Creek HS (3200m) Jessica Tonn, Xavier Prep (100H) Alexis Clay, Chandler HS (300H) Sarah Geren, Horizon HS (shot put) Kitsia Rivera (discus) Hannah Carson, Chandler HS (high jump) Cadija Harris, Chandler HS (triple jump) Jasmine Todd (long jump) Shantella McCoy, Marcos de Niza HS (pole vault) Shaylah Simpson, Desert Vista HS.
(Photo: Milesplit/Margot Kelly)