Prep boys track previews
Last year: Fourth in Division I
Top returners: Bernie Montoya, sr., distance; Jose Garcia, sr., relays; Keanu Nakasawa, jr., relays
Key athletes: Zach McClanahan, sr., pole vault; Michael Decorse-Hall, soph., sprints; Derek Monroe, soph.; T.J. Smith, soph., jumps; Abraham Thompson, soph., throws
Coach Brett Pavey's comments: “We'll be younger then in past years, but all those are returning varsity athletes. So we'll be young but not inexperienced.”
The lowdown: The Raiders have ruled the region and are coming off back-to-back Top 5 finishes at the Arizona Interscholastic Association Division I State Meet. A big question mark this year for the Raiders will be whether they can fill the void left from the graduation of Deante Gaines, who finished second in the high jump and fourth in the triple jump at the state meet. However, Pavey is confident that they will take care of it by a committee instead of one jumper. Also, it doesn't hurt when you bring back Montoya, who won state in the 800-meter (1 minute, 52.49 seconds), 1,600 (4:14.69) and 3,200 (9:08.70).
Last year: Did not place at state
State returners: None
Key athletes: Albert Aguilar, sr., sprint/mid-distance; Clifton Ross, jr.; Haden Beaty, sr., hurdles
Coach Tom Spanton's comments: “I need some of these newcomers to wow me at this upcoming meet but I've heard good things from all my coaches. I would love to be battling for second place in the region.”
The lowdown: Spanton has been impressed so far with Beaty, who he said ran a 110-meter hurdles time that would place him fifth at last year's meet. It is looking like Ross will anchor the 1,600 relay for the Kings — which finished 13th at last year's Arizona Interscholastic Association Division I State Meet. Jesse Kruse, their only individual representative at the state meet when he qualified as a freshman in the 100, is not competing for the Kings this season.
Yuma Catholic Shamrocks
Last year: 15th in Division IV
State returners: Donovan Rooks, soph., triple jump; John Barczynski, sr., throws; Ivan Torres, jr., throws; Jaime Casillas, jr., throws/distance; Becket Edwards, soph., distance; Ricky Hampton, jr., 400 relay; Andy Determan, sr., 1,600 relay
Key athletes: Gabe Nunez, soph., distance; Adam Gump, jr., distance; Treyshon Malone, soph., hurdles
Coach Ralph Farr's comments: “I have some pretty good throwers on the boys side. We hope we can get a top 10 finish this season.”
The lowdown: The Shamrocks return three throwers who qualified for state last season, including Torres, who placed fourth in the shot put with 43 feet, 9-1/2 inches. Rooks took third in the triple jump as a freshman and the person who took second place graduated, which sets him up nicely for another shot at a state title. Farr feels that a few breaks didn't go the Shamrocks' way during last year's state meet, so he expects Yuma Catholic to make a run at a top 10 finish.
Yuma High Criminals
Last year: Did not place at state
State returner: David Stiles, sr., triple jump
Key athletes: Filomeno Munoz, jr., distance; Arturo Vargas, jr.; Luis Castro, jr.; Chris Gonzalez, soph., sprints; Chance Hamilton, sr., shot put; Juan Gonzalez, sr., hurdles
Coach Curt Weber's comments: “The boys side should be a little better this season. I think we can make a run at third in the region.”
The lowdown: The Criminals' only individual state placer last year, Stiles, ended up not recording a valid result at the Arizona Interscholastic Association Division II State Meet. However, Weber brings back his 3,200-meter relay team that finished 15th with a time of 8 minutes, 34.75 seconds. Munoz was also the only member of the Yuma High cross country team to qualify for the state meet this fall.