The Mountain Pointe High School girls track team accomplished something over the weekend that Desert Vista High almost pulled off last year. And something no other Arizona high school team could do during the last decade.
At last year’s Division I state finals, Desert Vista came within six points of dethroning Chandler High‘s girls’ team, but the Wolves managed to stave off the challenge and added a ninth straight team title to their span of dominance in the sport.
This year, Mountain Pointe put an end to the streak. Their 108 points gave the Pride the title, just seven points head of Chandler’s 101.
And the real irony is that the event that salavaged the title last year for Chandler played a big part in losing it this year. Last year it came down to the 4×400 relay, the final event of the day, which the Wolves had to win in order to defend their title, and did. This year, they lost that race on disqualification after dropping the baton, and the 10 points they would have earned for the victory could have clinched the team title.
It looked like the field events were going to propel the Wolves to the title, with Corneisha Mitchell winning the discus with a 135’4″ performance and Jai Gruenwald claiming the long jump title with a leap of 18’11”. But the collapse in the relay was too much to overcome.
Another long reign also came to an end over the weekend, but only because Ky Westbrook graduated last year. Westbrook, who is competing now at USC, owned the sprints during her four years at Chandler High and was never beaten in state tournament competition. Last year she wrapped up her prep career by winning the 100 and 200 events for the fourth straight time and finishing at Chandler with 12 state titles. As a junior she set a new state record in the 200, breaking a mark that had stood for almost a decade.
So teammate Nastasia Peevy stepped into the void, winning the 100 in a time of 11.57, short of the 11.69 that Westbrook ran last year at State, and also took the 200 title with a 24.79 performance, again a bit off the 24.33 pace set by Westbrook. Unfortunately, it will be a short one-year reign since she, too, is about to join Westbrook as a Chandler graduate.
The other high-profile competition came in the distance events, where Desert Vista senior Dani Jones also closed out a record-setting prep career, winning the 800-meter run, the 1,600, and the 3,200. Her time of 10:19.2 in the 3,200 is the third-fastest girls’ time ever run at State. And her anchor leg of the 3,200-meter relay rounded out a week in which she won four gold medals.
Jones also helped the 4×800 relay team post a time of 9:1.5, which is reportedly the best time in the country, as she closed out her time at Desert Vista with eight state titles, putting her right up there with the best distance runners this state has seen.
This was the first state team title for the Pride girls in 14 years, and Autumn Smith played a huge role by winning both the 100 and 300 hurdles and also anchoring the winning 400 relay team.
On the boys’ side, it wasn’t much of a horse race as Desert Vista used its depth and numerous placements to accumulate 109.50 points and easily outdistance runner-up Tucson High School (52 points). It was a particularly sweet win for the Thunder after coming in runner-up last year to Corona del Sol High School and signals the school’s return to the top of the mountain. Desert Vista’s last team title was in 2009, but that win was its third straight championship.
Elijah Mason and Torrey Hickel gave the Thunder a big boost this year, with Mason winning the discus and picking up more points for placing in the shot, and Hickel taking the shot title and placing in the discus.
A lot of attention was focused on the hurdles, where Isaiah Oliver won both the 110 high hurdles and the 300 intermediates. His time of 36.54 in the 300 event now ranks as the third-best in the state’s record books. The Brophy Prep senior also anchored the Broncos’ winning 1,600 relay team.