Nevada’s elite put records in danger

When Nevada’s elite athletes converge for the state high school track meet this weekend at Silverado, more than titles will be on the line. It figures to be a year when records fall.

Centennial’s Sydney Badger is the No. 1 seed in all three girls distance events, and her times put her within reach of the records in all three events.

Her best shot at a record probably will come today in the 1,600-meter run, where she set a Zone/Region record with a time of 4 minutes, 55.9 seconds at the Sunset Region meet. She has a best of 4:52.16 this season as she chases the record of 4:52.93 set by Reno’s Marie Lawrence in 2006.

Badger also hopes to qualify for an event at the adidas Grand Prix on May 25 in New York.

“One goal this year is to get Sydney qualified for the Dream Mile,” Centennial coach Roy Session said. “It will probably take something around 4:50 to make the field (of 14).”

Competition in all four divisions begins at 3 p.m. today and resumes at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Liberty junior Ashlie Blake, last year’s state champion in the shot put and discus, already holds the state record in the shot (50 feet, 6 inches). She is ranked No. 1 in the nation in the event with a mark of 51-3½ and No. 6 in the discus (157-0), according to athletic.net. She’ll go after the discus record of 156-0, set by Silverado’s Lara Saye in 1999.

Gorman siblings Randall and Vashti Cunningham will have a shot at records in the high jump.

Randall Cunningham has posted the nation’s best mark this season at 7-3 and will go after the boys state mark of 7-0, set by South Tahoe’s Bryan Barton in 1983.

Vashti Cunningham, the top seed in the girls high jump and long jump, has cleared 6-0¼ this season, the top mark in the nation and more than an inch better than the state record.

Bonanza junior Jayveon Taylor, who won the Class 4A 100 and 200 last season, has posted the best time in the nation in the 200 this season at 20.82. He’ll have a chance in each event to break the state record, held by Valley’s Garic Wharton, who ran 10.39 in the 100 in 2009 and 21.1 in the 200 in 2008.

Badger is one of several Centennial girls expected to lead the Bulldogs in pursuit of their third consecutive state championship, this time in the newly established Division I.

Tamera Williams, last year’s Class 4A champion, is expected to battle Canyon Springs’ Courtney Robinson in the 100. Williams also will contend with Reed’s Adriana Newell, last year’s Class 4A winner, and Las Vegas’ Creshonda Carter in the 200.

Tyler Rowlette, the Sunset champion, is one of the favorites in the 400, and Tiana Bonds is the No. 1 seed in both hurdle events for Centennial.

Williams, Bonds and Rowlette also make Centennial solid favorites to win the 800 and 1,600 relays.

Coronado, the Sunrise Region winner, is led by Sara Dort, winner of all three distance races and the anchor on the Cougars’ Sunrise-winning 3,200 relay team. But Coronado and Northern champ McQueen appear to lack the depth to seriously challenge Centennial.

The boys Division I team championship should come down to Sunset champion Centennial and Northern champ McQueen. Both teams have 14 individual and relay qualifiers. Liberty, the Sunrise Region winner, has only seven.

Centennial is led by its distance quartet of Jackson Carter, Dajour Braxton, George Espino and Justin Galaviz, who have qualified for seven spots in the three distance races.

Liberty can count on quality points from throwers Reno Tuufuli and William Ashby and distance runners Martin Ponce and Colin Schultz.

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