Tigers on track to state finals
Ten Douglas High School athletes will compete today and Saturday at the NIAA State Track and Field Championships in Carson City.
Running and field events in all four classifications — 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A — will get underway at 3 p.m. today and 8 a.m. Saturday at Carson High’s Jim Frank Track and Field Complex.
Here is a breakdown on the Douglas qualifiers and their events:
3 p.m., 1A girls high jump, followed by 4A girls — Douglas junior Hannah Carr, in just her first track and field season, now reigns as the Northern Region champion. Carr jumped 5-2 at the region finals and had a personal record 5-4 one week before at the Sierra League meet. She now faces a talented field that includes defending state champion Jacquelyn Fields, a Palo Verde senior, who comes in as the Sunset Region champion with a season-best 5-6 set on March 16. Sunrise Region champion Rae Burrell, a senior from Liberty, went 5-6 on March 13. Centennial senior Anyese James-Kirkland jumped 5-4 to place second at the Sunset meet. Another jumper to watch is Silverado freshman Grace Cunningham, who has jumped 5-4 this season and went 5-6 during a 2017 summer meet. Cunningham’s older sister, Vashti, was the 2016 World and USA national indoor champion (their father, Randall Cunningham, played quarterback 16 seasons in the NFL).
5:10 p.m., 4A girls 4×200 Relay — Douglas comes in as the Northern region champion and with the fifth fastest time of the season statewide with its quartet of Sophia Bottino, Kyla Hinnant, Megan Veil and Madison Smalley. Defending state champion Desert Oasis posted the fastest qualifying time, a season-best 1:42.44 to win at the Sunset Region finals, however, Sunrise Region champion Rancho is the team to beat based on its season-best 1:37.21 set on April 7 at the Arcadia Invitational in Southern California. Shadow Ridge and Palo Verde also ran sub-1:44 at the Sunset finals.
6:45 p.m., 4A Girls 400 — Smalley, a sophomore, has been close to the 60-second mark all season and placed second at the region meet (1:02.09). The runner to beat is defending state champion and UNLV signee Gizelle Reid of Rancho. Reid won the Sunrise Region race and ran her personal record 53.64 at the Arcadia Invitational. Arbor View senior Hannah Esparza, the 2017 state runner-up, won the Sunset race in 56.49.
3 p.m., 3A girls discus, followed by 2A girls, 1A girls and 4A girls — Douglas senior Kindra Ruckman returns for her second state appearance. She threw a personal best 119-2 to place third at the 2017 region meet and then placed ninth at state. She now comes in as a region champion (113-0) with a season best of 117-1 on April 10 at a home conference meet. Sunrise champion Athiya Iese, a senior at Liberty who was the state runner-up last year, threw 120-5 last Saturday and posted a season-best 140-1 on April 21 at the Mt. SAC Relays in Southern California. Bishop Gorman junior Jill McPherson, the Sunset champion, threw 117-1 last week and posted a season-best of 135-2 on April 17. Liberty junior Aaliyah Soa also threw 131-2 on March 17.
9 a.m., 1A girls shot put followed by 4A girls — Douglas sophomore Meleeah Mckown qualified third from the North at 37-6¼ that fell just one-half inch short of her lifetime best. Mckown’s mark comes in as the ninth best statewide. The athlete to beat is Liberty’s Soa, who threw a season best 41-8½ to win the Sunrise title. Zowie Manuma, a senior from Bonanza, threw 38-2½ to win the Sunset title.
11:45 a.m., 4A boys 400 — Douglas junior Luke Gansberg placed third on a windy day at the region finals and took first-place at the league meet one week before in a personal record time of 52.84. Predictably, the South has some speed burners, led by seniors Tre Harley of Centennial and Jeriel Thomas of Legacy, who went 1-2 at the Sunset meet with respective times of 48.23 and 48.67, and they went 2-3 at the 2017 state meet. Harley ran 47.40 at state last year and Thomas ran a state best 47.83 earlier this season. Las Vegas sophomore Myles Davis ran 49.41 to win the Sunrise title on Saturday and finished seventh at last year’s state meet. Northern Region champion Evan Moore of Reno placed fifth at state last year (48.89).
2 p.m., 4A girls 4×400 relay — Douglas placed third at the region meet as the team of Serena Tomassi, Maya Smith, Bottino and Smalley ran a season best 4:05.30. The team to beat is defending state champion Rancho, which ran 3:53.58 to win the Sunrise title on Saturday and posted a season-best 3:47.35 at Arcadia. The state meet record of 3:48.64 set by Cheyenne in 2005 could be in jeopardy. Sunset champion Desert Oasis ran a season-best 3:53.12 on Saturday, just ahead of Centennial at 3:56.34.