Maddie Nossek took full advantage of a chance to showcase her considerable skills on the statewide stage by earning two gold and two silver medals at the 3A Arizona state track and field championships.
In the finals held May 14 and 15 in Sun Angel Stadium at Arizona State University in Tempe, Nossek won the high jump and long jump and was second in the 400-meter dash and 800-meter run.
Qualifying for state in four events and later performing as well as she did in such diverse competitions is a testament to the Payson High School senior’s athletic ability and determination.
Coach Jonathan Ball is among those who has lauded her throughout the year for her work ethic and dedication to a strenuous off-season conditioning program.
In addition to Nossek’s dazzling performances, the Lady Horns’ state cause received a boost from Holly West in the shot put and discus. In the shot, she was second in the 17-qualifer field and in the discus she took 10th.
The performances of the two helped propel the Lady Longhorns to a state third-place finish.
Although the team didn’t earn the 70 points coach Jonathan Ball had his sights set on, the 55 the team earned was third best behind state champ Estrella Foothills (100) and runner-up Sedona (71).
Payson’s tally was also better than those compiled by East region rivals Snowflake (54.5) and Show Low (51.5).
Nossek’s and West’s state performances have earned the talented duo ducats into the Meet of Champions when it is held May 21 at Queen Creek High School.
In it, the two Payson stars will square off against the finest athletes from around Arizona, most of whom won individual champions last week in the 1A to 5A state meets held around the state.
Also during the post season, Nossek is expected to compete in several heptathlons — an event in which she is one of the country’s finest.
Nossek’s winning long jump of 17 feet, 2.5 inches was easily the best among the 21 state qualifiers from the four 3A regions. Runner-up Jasmine Pratt of Estrella Foothills leaped 15 feet, 10 inches.
In the high jump, Nossek cleared 5 feet, 3 inches to win the gold over silver medalist Kim Johnson of Snowflake. Johnson jumped 5 feet, 2 inches.
Although Nossek outdueled Pratt in the long jump, the PHS senior was second to the EF speedster in the 400 meters. Pratt took first in 57.84 and Nossek claimed second in 58.63.
In the 800 meters, Nossek ran a commendable 2:22.04, but finished .77 of a second behind Show Low’s Chastine Virgen.
Nossek’s best time entering the state finals was a 2:27.18 she ran April 30 at the Winslow Invitational.
The state 800 meters pre-race favorite, Wickenburg’s Viviana Ruiz, had to settle for fourth in 2:25.02, a PR for her.
In the shot put, West uncorked a throw of 33 feet, 10 inches that was well short of the 36 feet, 8 inches she threw earlier this season.
The state throw, however, was second best to the 34 feet, 6.5 inches mark set by Santa Cruz’s Nneeka Lankster.
In the discus, West tossed 91 feet, 6 inches, which was also not as good as the 95 feet, 6 inches she threw the past season.
It, however, was long enough for 10th place in the event won by Globe’s Stella Tarango with a mighty heave of 116 feet.
In the 200-meter dash, PHS freshman Morgan Chilson ran 27.18 in the finals to take seventh.
Running earlier in the event’s second heat, she was timed in a faster 26.86.
The speedy frosh also ran a leg on the 4x100 relay team that finished sixth in 52.95. On the team with her were Laura Aaltanon, Jaymi Carlen and Kati Welker.
The 4x400 team of Kyndall Lann, Chilson, Welker and Aaltanon was third in 4:14.82.