April 30, 2013 - 10:11 pm
For the past two years, the Centennial boys and girls track teams have run circles around the competition in the Sunset Region.
Things aren’t likely to change Wednesday when the Sunrise and Sunset region meets kick off at 3 p.m. at Silverado.
The meets continue Friday and finish May 10. Regional competition for Divisions I-A, III and IV begin May 7 at Sunrise Mountain.
“Both teams have worked really hard this year and want to win regionals for their teammates,” Centennial coach Roy Session said. “Our guys and girls really want to compete on a national level and will put in the work to be the best they can be.”
While the Bulldogs lost standout Nick Hartle (UCLA) to graduation, the boys squad has benefited from sophomore Dajour Braxton, a Louisiana transfer, who has joined Jackson Carter, George Espino and Justin Galvez to become a dominating distance team.
The foursome recently captured the 3,200-meter relay at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., and is ranked No. 2 in the country, according to dyestat.com. Carter, Braxton and Espino also are likely to place individually in the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs.
As strong as the boys have been, though, Centennial’s girls team might have more depth.
Led by defending state champions Sydney Badger (800) and Tamera Williams (200), the Bulldogs have the opportunity to top every event in the Sunset.
Centennial’s Tiana Bonds is ranked No. 1 in Nevada in both hurdles events, and teammate Madison Johonnot stands No. 2 in the state in the high jump, behind only Bishop Gorman’s Vashti Cunningham. The freshman is ranked No. 1 in the country after clearing 6 feet, ¼ inch at The Meadows Invitational.
Two other boys to watch in the Sunset are Bishop Gorman’s Randall Cunningham in the high jump and Bonanza’s Jayveon Taylor in the sprints. Cunningham posted a mark of 7-3 at Mt. SAC and is ranked No. 1 in the country. Taylor, a junior and the defending state champion in the 100 and 200, never has lost in the 100.
Casey Hughes of Legacy topped Taylor in the 200 at the Las Vegas Track Classic, his only loss in any race in the past two years.
In the Sunrise Region, the team competition should be much tighter.
Defending boys champion Liberty is led by Colin Schultz, who is ranked No. 1 in the state in the 800. The Patriots also have Martin Ponce, ranked No. 2 in the state in the 1,600, as well as two standout throwers in Reno Tuufuli (shot put) and William Ashby (discus).
Canyon Springs and Foothill could give Liberty a run for the boys team title.
On the girls side, Canyon Springs figures to provide last year’s champion, Coronado, its closest competition.
Sara Dort and a crew of experienced distance runners lead Coronado. Dort, Kristen Morrill, Logan Lucas and Taylor Lauten have shined in the 3,200-meter relay, and Dort is the defending Sunrise champion in the 800, 1,600, and 3,200.
Sprinter Courtney Robinson, who is ranked No. 1 in the state in the 100, will lead Canyon Springs.
Liberty’s Ashlie Blake, the defending state champion in the shot put and discus, is ranked No. 2 in the country in the shot put. Her best throw this year is 51-3½. The next-best throw by a Division I athlete in the state is 37-8.