It's a funny thing about track and field athletes' times and results. Athletes, as the theory goes, would rather peak at the end of the season than early. Yet, with the state meet being the ultimate goal, athletes aim to capture their state-qualifying times as early in the season as possible.
Welcome to track and field's midseason point.
The Prescott and Bradshaw Mountain teams had an opportunity to size up their Yavapai County peers Wednesday when they joined a foursome that included Cottonwood's Mingus Union and Camp Verde for an afternoon meet at Bill Shepard Field at PHS.
"I thought we matched up well," Bears head coach Mike Simon said. "I think all those teams are just very competitive not only in the county but also at the state level. I thought we did well and we were strong in a lot of events."
Both the Bradshaw boys and girls teams placed second at the meet in the overall team scores. The PHS boys easily won with a score of 101.5, while the girls placed third. The Mingus girls, the defending Div. 3 AIA state champions, won the meet.
A handful of Badger athletes have already
punched their individual tickets to next month's state meet at Mesa Community College. Vincent Arminio and Hosava Kretzmann will both run in the 3200 and 1600, and Simon Paige has also qualified. For the girls, Claren Fraher and Jordan Twombly-Ellis' consistency this spring has paid off with state nods.
The spring season is as much as about fitness and conditioning as it is about homework. Athletes can easily track the most current times setting the standard at www.athletic.net, and many of them check frequently to set their goals.
"The more experienced ones do," Prescott head coach Clark Tenney said. "Jordan, for instance, track is kind of new for her, so she likes to go on there and then she's surprised to see that she's on there. Claren and Vincent and Simon and Hosava particularly get on there regularly. There are things that I as a coach have to look up, and sometimes they'll let me know about it."
The Bradshaw Mountain squads are looking for their first state qualifier. Hannah Madler, currently ranked sixth in the 800, will most assuredly be running at Mesa next month, and the boys' and girls' 4x800 relays are likely to be there representing the Bears as well.
"You're trying to pay attention to results from around the state to know where your athletes stand when looking at the state championships," Simon added. "You're trying to get those state qualifying marks at invitationals. It's how you put together your training plan for the season."
Both Prescott and Bradshaw Mountain have a handful of meets left in the regular season. Prescott will entertain another county squad, Chino Valley, and Boulder Creek at home this coming Wednesday. The Cougars, who are competing at the Sedona Invitational this Saturday, are coming off a strong showing late last week at the Tiger Co-Ed relays in Phoenix.
The Bears head to Phoenix for the Greenway Invitational this Saturday. Then virtually every high school in Yavapai County that has track and field teams - or, even just some individual runners - will meet at the Rotary Yavapai County Championships on April 26 at the Bradshaw campus.
There are other local challenges for distance runners to test their endurance, including next month's Whiskey Row Marathon in Prescott. Simon himself will take on the full marathon. His wife, Randi Simon, who won the women's division last year in her first full Whiskey Row Marathon in a time of 3:32.56, will run the half-marathon this time around.
Of course, Randi's training was interrupted somewhat. She had a baby boy three months ago.