Sedona Red Rock High School track and field coach Harry Schneider was hoping Mother Nature would be on his side on March 22 when the Scorpions held the first of three home meets for the 2017 season.
Clouds loomed, but no sign of rain came until the last event of the evening, the 4x400-meter relay, allowing for a smooth competition between the Scorpions and nine other schools.
However, part of the Red Rock team is weathering injuries in the early part of the season, namely the absence of top boys sprinters senior Joe Glomski and junior Javier Pacheco.
“Otherwise things are going well,” Schneider said. “We’re really just rounding into shape, we’re just getting there.”
The meet marked the fifth of the season for the Scorpions, and a successful one for a number of them.
The senior throwers produced thundering performances; Hannah Ringel threw a lifetime-best 124-08 in the discus, 23 feet, 3 inches farther than second place and good for fourth best in the entire Arizona Interscholastic Association. She also threw 39-11 in the shot put.
Chas Rescigno claimed automatic qualification to the 2017 AIA Division IV state meet in the discus with a throw of 125-00.25, taking third. Fifth-placer finisher Jake Christenson and Justin Aleman threw season-highs at 114-11 and 109-04, respectively, enough for provisional qualification to state.
Aleman took home a third-place medal in the shot put with a 40-09.5 throw. He, Christenson and senior Edgar Verdugo finished in the top six with provisional distances.
“We’re all throwing well, we all get along great so that helps,” Christenson said. “Everyone knows what they’re doing so we’re able to help each other finally.”
Junior Julia Koss finished sixth in the discus as well, having already claimed a provisional distance at the Tolleson Invitational on Saturday, March 18.
Before the season’s start, Schneider said that the field events were where the girls were strongest, and they proved him right.
Senior Sophia Perry made a gold medal sweep of the jumps with three season-high leaps: 32-09 in the triple jump, 15-05 in the long jump and 4-10 in the high jump. Only the long jump was not enough to automatically qualify for state.
Junior Collier Trcic was second in the triple jump at 31-09.5, a season high by a wide margin and automatic qualifying distance. In the long jump, she finished third while junior Chenoa Crans leaped 14-07 for fifth, best since her freshman season.
Koss won the pole vault with a 10-foot vault and senior Xan Hawes came in second at 9-06.
“Overall we’re pretty strong as a unit,” Hawes said. “…Both Coco [Tricic] and Sophia are breaking down barriers and just reaching new PRs, so we’re right in the primetime where things start to happen.”
Senior Dawson Stevenson pulled off a gold-medal double in the high and long jumps, leaping 6-00 and a season-high 19-09.5, respectively. Junior Reaston McManus took third in the triple jump and ninth in long jump.
Senior Luke Doerner and sophomore Drake Ortiz cleared 10-06 to go two-three in the pole vault, both good to automatically go to state.
Red Rock runners turned in lightning-fast times, too. Crans took first in the varsity 100-meter hurdles with a season-best 17.27, but was edged out by one-hundredth of a second by Scorpions freshman Jackie King in the freshman/sophomore heat. Both times automatically qualified the duo to state.
Crans, who had already qualified for state in the 300-meter hurdles, claimed silver in the event, finishing in 50.21 seconds.
Doerner took second in the 400-meter dash in a season-best 54.86 seconds. He scratched in the 800-meter race, but senior Nathan Hoyer took fourth with a time of 2:11.01.
Junior Ulu Gonzalez-Dysart took 16th in the 100-meter dash. The boys 4x200-meter would have pulled off a fourth-leg comeback had it not disqualified.
Many Scorpions runners scratched from their respective races. Outside of the hurdles, no Scorpions girl competed in the running events at the varsity level.
“I think we’re all improving and [personal besting] this season, especially the girls,” Crans said. “If we keep improving we have a chance at winning state …we’re all kind of still working up to our best.”