For the 2017 season the Sedona Red Rock High School track and field team moved from Division III to Division II, but maintains a balanced squad with high hopes for the 2017 Arizona Interscholastic Association State Championships.
Head coach Harry Schneider believes at this stage of the preseason, the girls team is second-best in the state, and the boys are top five.
“The girls team, if they stay healthy, will be one of the best in the state knowing what we have,” Schneider said.
The field events are where they do their damage, winning last year’s Yavapai Championships with them alone, according to Schneider.
Pole vaulting is the Scorpions girls’ strongest field event: Junior Julia Koss, who was also a finals qualifier in high jump at last year’s state meet, finished third in the pole vault. Senior Alexandra Hawes finished fourth and sophomore Angeleah Merchant also qualified for the finals.
Senior thrower Hannah Ringel returns as a two-time Division III State champion in the shotput and last year’s runner-up in the discus. Junior Brittany Medel is a returning finalist in the discus, too.
Senior Sophia Perry qualified for the 2016 AIA State meet in high jump, long jump and triple jump. Junior Collier Trcic is a returning State triple jumper as well.
Aside from the field events, junior Chenoa Crans was the fourth-place finisher at State in the 300-meter hurdles and qualifier in the 100-meter hurdles, and freshman Jackie King is expected to contribute as well.
The question marks for the girls reside with the sprinters and distance runners, which Schneider finds to be ironic.
“It’s funny ‘cause we’re a distance school, it’s just the way it happened this year,” Schneider said.
Schneider hopes for a breakthrough by a couple more girls to give them the extra boost toward the state title.
Likely the biggest challenge will be to perform at a high level in all of their events, given that the majority of them do two or three.
Three weeks into practice there have been a number of injuries on both sides, none of which are serious, and according to Schneider training has not be extremely strenuous either. He chalks them up to a lack of preparation on the athletes’ part, but fortunately for them the first meet is not until Saturday, March 4, when the team goes to the Chandler Invitational.
Sprinters and middle distance runners are the stronger events for the boys.
Newcomer junior Javier Pacheco is expected to contribute immediately in the sprint races and relays. Seniors Joe Glomski and Dawson Stevenson are a couple of top returners.
In 2016 Glomski qualified for State in the 100-meter dash and was a triple jump finalist while Stevenson was a finalist in the high jump and long jump.
Senior Justin Aleman, in the shotput, is the only returning thrower who qualified for the state meet a year ago, but three more are improving daily. Multiple Scorpions are learning to pole vault to provide depth in the field events.
The Scorpions boys lost depth to graduation in the long distance races, but junior Tennyson Wilson returns. Others are in training, and the hurdles events can be filled in by all-around freshman athlete Dylan Beattie.
Red Rock hosts its first of three home meets at 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, and volunteers are needed to help run the event. Anyone interested should contact Schneider at 203-9468.