Track and field coach Jonathan Ball is practically doing cartwheels over his team’s performance at the prestigious 27-team Queen Creek Invitational.
His elation wasn’t with the points the teams scored — the girls finished tied for ninth with 16 points and the boys were 16th with nine points — rather the jubilation was for how well individuals performed when pitted against some of the finest athletes from 4A and 5A “big schools” around Arizona.
Drawing plaudits among the boys were Ian Dillon, Blake Brown, Forrest Waddington and Dustin Isles.
Among the girls, Morgan Chilson, Maddie Nossek, Laura Aaltanon and the 4x800 relay team of Maddie Nossek, Lauren Nossek, Sarah Cliff and Liz Harpe drew praise.
Dillon caught the coach’s attention by turning in a personal record time of 24.19 in the 200 meters.
Blake Brown set a personal record mark in the long jump soaring 19 feet, 1 inch. It was the first time this season he had broken the 19-foot barrier. In the fastest heat of the 800 meters at QC, Waddington ran a 2:02.26 to finish eighth among the fastest half-milers in Arizona.
Waddington’s previous best was 2:07.5.
“I put him in the fast heat to see what he could do,” Ball said. “He was not intimidated in the least in a very strong field.”
Waddington’s performance prompted the coach to predict, “he could be a state contender both this year and next.
“He has become a running machine.”
For Isles, the invitational was a chance to show he could run with the big guns in the hurdles events.
He took full advantage of the opportunity, finishing second in the finals of the 300 hurdles in 39:13.
of earning her an outside qualifying berth to state.
“She will get it next time,” Ball predicts.
Among the others who are improving with each meet is Aaltanon. She spent much of the early season on the injury list, but appears now be ready to contribute to the team cause.
At QC, she set a PR in the 200 meters of 28.68 and in the 400 of 1:104.43
“She has been injured for most of the season and is still out of shape,” Ball said. “As she continues to get in shape, her times will go down and she will be a big part of this team.”
The 4x800 relay team was at its best at QC, running a state-qualifying time of 1:04.43 that also earned the foursome an eighth-place finish.
Following the showing, Ball applauded Maddie Nossek for her leg of 2:27.
“Maddie continues to surprise me at every meet,” he said. “We put her in difficult situations so she can help our team and she responds well every time.”
Only minutes after running the relay, she reported to the high jump pit where she cleared 5 feet, 3 inches to finish first.
“I can’t imagine high jumping after running the 800, but Maddie did,” Ball said.
Nossek also competed in the long jump and took fourth with a leap of 17 feet, 1.75 inches.
“I feel this was her best meet ever,” Ball said.
Track action continues tomorrow, April 24, for the younger members of the team. PHS will host the annual Rotary Freshman-Sophomore Invitational set to begin at 10 a.m.
“That time was impressive, so good that it earned him second team All-American status on the Web site Milesplit.com,” Ball said. “It was the fourth fastest time in the state in any classification.”
Isles was the second PHS athlete this season to earn All-American status.
Maddie Nossek earned it earlier this year for her long jump at the Chandler Invitational.
The Lady Horns
For the girls team, Chilson turned in a 100-meter clocking of 13.36 which was her fastest of the season and just .01 seconds off