The Highland High School boys’ track & field team didn’t win this year’s Division I state championship. But its runner-up finish broke open a log-jam that has been in place for more than a decade.
Nearly every year since 2006, either Chandler High School or Desert Vista High has been crowned champion or finished runner-up. The lone exception was 2013 when Brophy Prep took the title and Corona del Sol HS finished runner-up.
Last year, Desert Vista took its turn at the top after taking the crown away from Chandler, which had won it the previous two years.
But this year Chandler reclaimed the D-I title.
On the girls’ side, Chandler has been even tougher to take down. For the last 13 years, the Wolves have dominated the sport, giving up its claim to the big-school title just once. Mountain Pointe HS took it away in 2015 – but it took a Chandler error for that to happen.
That was the year that a dropped baton in the 4×400 cost the Wolves the championship. The miscue in the final event of the day cost Chandler 10 points. They lost by just seven.
This year the Chandler boys’ team used a win in the 4×400 to put the finishing touches on a narrow win over Highland. The Wolves totaled 113 points and Highland was right behind with 97.5 points.
So, where was Desert Vista? The Thunder had to settle for third place this year with 91 points.
And, as usual, the Chandler girls literally ran away from the field. Their 189 points gave them a large cushion when the totals came in. Highland also managed a second-place finish in the girls’ competition, but the Hawks’ 75.5 points were well behind the winning tally, and third-place Queen Creek High School managed just 68 points.
The Chandler boys sealed their title win on the last event of the day when the 4×400 relay team clocked its best time of the season, finishing in 3:19.24 to pull away from Highland. And they did it without their freshman phenom, Quaron Adams.
Adams was replaced by Latrell Tellis on the anchor leg after Adams made his major contributions to the team victory in three other events. He posted his best time of the season in the 100 meters, winning that event in a time of 10.49, and then finished second in the 200. And he anchored the 4×100 relay, which clocked a 41.49 winning time.
Adams’ time in the 100 is the ninth-fastest time ever for a freshman in this country and puts him in the top five all-time in Arizona. His time of 21.61 in the 200 gives him the fastest on record this season for a freshman, a top national mark.