Chandler wins 2nd straight title at Nike track nationals

All seven girls on the Chandler track team that won the high school national title last year were expected to be back to try again this year.

But California Long Beach Poly, a track & field power, was nonetheless inserted as the favorite to win the 2011 title.

So Chandler went about proving why that was a mistake.

The Wolves girls’ track team scored 8,096.71 points to capture its second straight championship at the Nike Track and Field Invitationals in Eugene, Ore.   They edged out second-place Poly and Clovis West from Texas, which took third.

That makes the Chandler High Track Club the only champion at the invitational, since last year was the inaugural event.  Nike is working to make the invitational an important summer event, flying the teams into Eugene at the shoe maker’s expense and filling the stands with thousands of spectators.

Chandler actually won more individual events last year, but scored fewer total points.  Hannah Carson led the way in 2010 by sweeping the shot put (42’04”) and discus (132’04”) events to lead the squad to a 7,721.65 point total. This year, the senior finished second in the discus with a throw of 134’10” and third in the high jump with a leap of 5’5 3/4″.

Each participant in the national event is allowed to compete in a maximum of two events, and a decathlon-style scoring system is used.

A total of 24 boys and girls teams from around the country are invited to the Nike Invitational, based on a ‘virtual competition’ that comes from inputting times and records set during the regular high school season.

Jasmine Todd stepped up again this year, winning the long jump by clearing 19’6 1/4″ for a meet record.  The Arizona Republic girls’ track Athlete of the Year also won the event last year.

The Wolves had two more firsts at last year’s event, as Haley Bowser won the pole vault and Cadija Harris won the high jump.  Bowser took fourth this time around.

Also contributing points this year:  Ky Westbrook took a second place in the 100 meters to close out her freshman season, hitting the 11.73 mark; Sherelle Jordan also had a second-place finish, with hers coming in the 100-meter hurdles;  Bianca Finn finished third in the shot put; Bacall Sterling added an eighth place in the 400-meter run; and Desirae Elias finished ninth in the 800-meter run.

The Chandler girls program has also continued its dominance on the state level.  The Wolves won their sixth straight state title last season by outdistancing the competition by some 153 points.

And its chances for continuing that streak look pretty good.  Chandler will have Todd, Westbrook, Sterling, and Finn back next season.