Ryan Talbot (left) and Justin Reay (right) hug after completing the 800-meter race in record time. Both runners set new school records and Justin set the new mark for all of Division-III. VVN/Travis Guy
|Megan Goettl, Penny Fenn and Karen Arellano run the 1600-meter race. VVN/Travis Guy|
Justin Reay, Ryan Talbot and Travis Okie are arguably the three best runners in Division-III track and field, but had never raced each other because Travis runs the 800-meter and above, and Justin and Ryan have been running in the 400-meter and below (save a few occasions Justin has run the 800 this season).
On April 23, that all changed when the three athletes stole the show at the Sedona Invitational and put on one of the most thrilling races of the season.
Justin and Ryan paced themselves behind the experienced 800 runner, until the final stretch when the sprinters gave it one final kick and passed Sedona Red Rock's Travis to deal him his first defeat by a D-III runner this season in the 800.
"I had to beat Travis Okie," Ryan said. "It was a goal of Justin and mine, because we're just really big competitors and it was fun to run against him."
The Camp Verde Cowboy set a new standard in D-III with the race, finishing in 1:55.52, barely edging out the previous mark, which was held by Travis. Ryan was just a beat behind Justin, finishing .34 seconds after him and Travis finished with a time of 1:56.26.
"It was one of the better times as far as, when you look at how the 800 goes, its one of the better times we've seen this year," said head coach Yancey DeVore. "He did a great job with that race, I was really impressed. He's just a phenomenal athlete."
Even though the boys might have been the talk of the meet after the race, there was plenty of action leading up that moment and after.
The boys' team finished the meet in second place, behind Canyon State Academy, with 115 points. This effort was achieved by placing at least one student, sometimes multiple, in each varsity event they participated in.
"We did pretty good as a team. We keep improving slowly," Ryan said.
This was one of the few meets where Ryan did not win an individual event. His only first place medal came from the 4X100 relay team's 44.44 finish. The junior did not run the 400, instead participating in the 200 and 4X400 relay race, in addition to the already mentioned. Ryan's 200-meter race came down to the wire. His main competition in the race came against Trayvon Van Buren from Canyon State. As the two rounded the final stretch and gave one last kick. Trayvon edged Ryan by .06 second, with the Marauder finishing in 22.81.
Junior Gustavo Banks continued his ascent to the top of the distance runners with his performances in the 1600 and 3200 races. He finished second in the 1600 with his second best time of the season, 4:44.20, .62 seconds from his PR. In the 3200, Gustavo crossed the line first in 10:44.10, six seconds ahead of the next person.
Gustavo's 3200 and the 4X100 relay team's top finishes were the only first places for the Marauders, but they were accompanied by a total of 30 top-5 places. With the strong team showing and the insistence from DeVore that each week the team gets better, the boys seem to be peaking at the right time and should have a strong team showing at state, possibly even winning it.
The girls continued their dominance of the season by claiming top honors as a team at the Sedona Invitational. The squad tallied 208 points, 85.5 points ahead of second place Sedona Red Rock.
Senior Delaney Scanlan continued to assert herself as one of the best sprinters in D-III with her 13.02 first place finish in the 100-meter and her first place finish in the 400-meter.
Delaney had not competed in the 400 since March 28, at the Peoria Invitational. There the senior ran the race in 62.16, but this time around Delaney, running against relay teammate Justine Taylor, set a PR in the 400 with a time of 60.46, .32 seconds ahead of her teammate.
In only her fourth event of the season, freshman Megan Goettl has positioned herself as one of the best 1600 runners in all of Arizona. While Megan is new to the team, she is not new to distance running. She has been a member of the Aftershock Running Club, going to the junior national championships for cross-country and placing 50th overall. The freshman may not have hit her time of 5:11.04 from the Mingus Invitational, but she was within three seconds, 5:13.70, and almost a full six seconds in front of second place.
"They weren't my best [performances], but I was pretty happy with them," Megan said. "I feel like I can be a little faster, but I feel like I'm doing pretty good right now. I have a lot of improvement I can do and I can make."
Fellow distance runner Skyler Storie set a season best for herself in the 3200 at the Sedona Invitational. The senior was running behind Eva Wilson from Sedona Red Rock for a majority of the race, until the final few laps where she overtook her opponent and finished 17.70 seconds ahead of the Scorpion with a time of 11:59.40.
Skyler followed that performance up by helping her team to a first place finish in the 4X800 relay. The girls finished with a time of 10:27.10.
Thrower Heather Calandra continued to have mixed results. The junior has thrown the shot put over 40 feet twice this season, but at Sedona was not able to, flinging the shot 38 feet nine inches, her third farthest throw of the year.
In her discus, Heather broke 100 feet for the second event in a row. At the Mingus Invitational, she PRed in the discus with a distance of 107 feet 1 inch, but at Sedona the thrower was 2 feet 5 inches shy of her PR, going 104 feet 8 inches.
With the dominance the girls team showed as a whole at the Sedona Invitational, they should be the favorites heading into the state meet in the coming weeks.
"Overall, and I keep saying this, but we are doing some really good things," DeVore said. "Some PR's today, which is good. Those are kids that continue to improve and again, that's the direction we want to keep going in. We saw a lot of really good individual efforts today and it was a really good meet for us."