Carson High track team pushing for state berths

Everything the Carson High boys and girls track teams have trained for comes down to one day, today, at the Northern 4A Championships at Reed High.

And Carson coach Steve Nelms remains confident his team will be at its best again with state qualifying berths on the line. The top three finishers in each event today will advance to next week’s State Championships in Las Vegas.

“Everything they have gotten they have earned,” Nelms said. “I couldn’t be more proud of their effort.”

All of Carson’s athletes who were expected to advance to today’s regionals did so last Saturday at the regional qualifier at CHS.

“It went really, really well,” Nelms said. “Our kids ran well. A lot of PRs, which is super good.”

Among the highlights was the blazing time turned in by Annika Wick, Katherine Oppedahl, Abby Pradere and Ashley Britt, who finished the 4x400 in a Northern 4A best 4:04.71.

The foursome is less than three seconds off the school record. “They have a decent shot at that,” Nelms said.

Natalyn Wakeling also ran well for CHS, posting the second fastest time in the north in the 100 at 12.94. Wakeling, Erica Basa, Oppedahl and Taryn Encinas also posted the second fastest time in the 4x100 at 50.39. The 4x200 team of Wick, Encinas, Oppedahl and Britt also had the second fastest time on the 4x200 at 1:46.76, .09 off the fastest time.

Britt is on pace to qualify for state in four events as she had the third fastest time last week in the 100 hurdles at 16.29 and the fastest time in the 300 hurdles in a season best 46.90.

Pradere, the defending state champion in the 800 and 1600, remains the favorite in those events. Another top performer for the CHS girls was Merce Tarrayo who broke out with the second best throw in the shot put at 36-2 and improved her best mark in the discus by nearly nine feat with a Northern 4A-leading 121-4.

“She picked the perfect time to throw incredibly well in the shot and the discus,” Nelms said.

On the boys side, the highlight came when Hunter Rauh, Walker MacKenzie, Zach Sever and Ethan Byasse posted the north’s best time in 8:12.65.

Ben Granados also has a chance to qualify for state in four events in the 100, 200, 400 and 4x400. CHS posted the fourth fastest time in the 4x400 of 3:31.18 last week.

CHS is making a change to its 4x400 as Granados, Nick Batien and Rauh will be joined by Misreal Becerra. Nelms said he’s been prepping Becerra for the relay all year and added he had a good workout on Monday. Nelms said he hopes Becerra will be able to shave off a couple of seconds off of Carson’s time. “That’s going to be a really, really close race,” said Nelms about his 4x400 team qualifying for state.

Nelms added the 4x200 of Hunter Matthies, Gilbert Vasquez Polanco, Dominic Martinez and Becerra have an outside shot of making state in the 4x200. “You never know what can happen,” he said.

Others who have an excellent chance to make state are Rauh in the 800, Jakob Heller in the triple jump and Sever in the 3200. Byasse had a tough time last week as along with the 4x800, he also ran the 800 and 1600.

Byasse safely qualified in the 1600 at 4:45.12, but was well off the 4:33 range he’s capable of running, a range that gives him an excellent chance to qualify for state.

“It’s very tough to run those three races all in the same day,” Nelms said. “He’s focused. I have no doubt he’ll bounce back with excellent times.”

Carson also had three runners qualify for regionals in the girls 200 as Wick finished in 26.89, Oppedahl finished in 27.00 and Encinas finished in 27.17. In addition, Angelica Germain-Sanchez, Erin Cartier, Claire Cartier and Kaitlin Schulze qualified for regionals in the girls 4x800.

For Carson’s boys, Manuel Vasquez qualified in the shot put and freshman Kai Miller qualified in the pole vault.


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