Ky Westbrook had one more honor left to cap off one of the most dominant high-school track careers in Arizona history – an invitation to compete against the fastest runners in the nation at the prestigious Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle, Wash.
And the recent grad from Chandler High School made the best of the opportunity by clocking a time of 11:66 in the girls’ 100-yard dash for a third-place finish, just .05 seconds behind runner-up Krystal Sparling from St. Thomas Aquinas High in Florida.
Arizona was well represented this year, with four of the state’s top track athletes competing.
Tevin Mayfield and Nathan Rodriguez are not only from the same state, but the same school. Both just graduated from Corona del Sol High School in Tempe, the boys’ reigning Division I state champion in both cross country and track & field.
Mayfield, who was a 6’1″ wide receiver on the Corona football team and competes on the track in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles, came back from Seattle with a third-place finish in the 110 hurdles, clocking a time of 14:10 – not quite up to his personal best of 14:06. During the regular season, he also competed on the 4×400 relay team that broke a school record and is headed for Colorado State in the fall.
Rodriguez proved himself to be the top distance runner in the state this year by winning individual state titles in the 800 meters, 1,600m, 3,200m, and also running the anchor leg of the 4×800 relay. His 800m time of 4:15.85 earned him a 12th-place finish at the Brooks event. Iowa State is his next destination.
Rounding out this year’s Brooks invitees is a sprinter who has a year left to make her mark on the prep track scene. Lauren Ellsworth will be a senior in the fall at Gilbert High School and will return to defend her state title in the 800 meters – an event she has already won twice. She was also part of the winning 4×800 relay team.
Ellsworth, who broke a state record in the event by turning in a top-10 national time of 2:07.61 at the state championships, ran the 800 at the Brooks. But her time of 2:12.96 over the weekend was well off that pace, forcing her to settle for eighth place in an event that was insanely fast. The winning time by Alexa Efraimson from Washington was 2:03.26.
The Brooks PR was the first time Ellsworth has been able to participate in an event outside of her regular school schedule. So competing with some of the best talent in the country in an elite event many miles from home can do nothing but make her better prepared for her senior season.
And, besides, Ky Westbrook was there to shoulder the weight of high expectations and keep the glare of the spotlight away from Ellsworth.
Westbrook has grown used to having a target on her back. She dominated the sprint competition since her freshman season and just wrapped up a prep career in which she has never been beaten in state competition in either the 100-meter or 200-meter events. Over those four years, she collected 12 individual state titles.
Now she will begin all over again at USC. And, based on what we saw in Seattle, there are few sprinters out there who can keep her from an equally impressive college career.
(Photo: AZ Milesplit/Brandon Miles)