There were 19 spots on this year’s azcentral sports’ All-Arizona Girls’ Track & Field Team that was announced over the weekend. More than half of those were filled by just two schools.
Chandler High School, which won both the Division I boys’ and girls’ state titles, placed all three of its relay teams on the All-Arizona girls’ squad, and added a couple of individual honors in the 200 sprint, which went to Anaya Bailey, and the long jump, awarded to Jai Gruenwald.
Mountain Pointe High, the girls’ runner-up this year at state, also took up five spots, all in individual events. Autumn Smith was selected for her performance in the 100 hurdles and the 300 hurdles, Nura Muhammad was named in the triple jump, and Kayleigh Conlon filled the shot put and discus slots.
But it was Smith that stepped out of the pack when she was also named the Girls’ Track & Field Athlete of the Year.
Last year was a big deal for Smith because her Mountain Pointe team put an end to Chandler’s nine-year reign as state champs by edging the Wolves by seven points in the final tally. As her contribution, she set state records in winning both hurdles events and also anchored the winning 4×400 relay team.
The Pride had to return the title to Chandler this season, but for Smith it still turned out to be a great season personally to end her prep career.
The senior, who started running hurdles in the seventh grade, went out on top in both hurdles races, winning the 100-meter in a smoking time of 13.99 and the 300 lows in an equally impressive 42.48. According to azcentral sports, her time in the 300 was third-fastest and her time in the 100 was sixth-fastest in Arizona prep history.
This year’s Boys’ Track & Field Athlete of the Year comes from Division II – and the other side of the state.
Justice Summerset, who just finished his final season at Mountain View High School in Marana, won two state titles and, along the way to the gold, set a state record.
The 6’4″ senior is one of those rare hybrids that compete well in both the field events and running events. He won the high jump titles with a leap of 6’9″ – but that wasn’t even his best jump this year. At the Southern Arizona Track & Field Championships in April, he cleared 7-2 1/2 to set a state record in the event.
Summerset also won the 400 meters in a time of 48.93. And that may be his crowning achievement in that event since he has committed to compete at University of Arizona, where he will focus on the high jump and long jump.
A successful college career in the long jump would be the culmination of a journey that began back in 2010 when he first showed real promise competing in the USA Track & Field Junior Olympics and being ranked No. 1 nationally in the event.
He says his goal at Arizona will be to break the school record of 7’7″ that was set by Nick Ross two years ago.