Payson High School senior Jaymi Carlen ran, jumped and threw her way to a second place finish in the 37th Arizona State Decathlon Champions that drew some of the finest all-around track and field athletes from around the state.
The prestigious showdown tipped off May 18 and wrapped up the following day at Queen Creek High School.
Prior to entering the decathlon, Carlen’s first, coach Johnathan Ball predicted she had to ability to exceed 4,000 points.
His prognostication was on target as she finished with 4,698 points and was second overall to Mesa Mountain View’s Kaija Bramwell who racked up 5,140 points.
A field of 10 invited athletes, most from so-called Division I and II “big schools” competed.
Carlen’s point total was the third highest ever recorded in the state meet.
“Bramwell owns the two highest point totals and was participating in her fourth decathlon,” Ball said. “Jaymi had never done a few of the events.”
As an example, Ball said she had a 20-minute crash course in the javelin just 30 minutes before the event began.
Despite Carlen’s inexperience, she won the javelin with a throw of 100 feet, 11 inches, which was an Arizona meet record.
She also set a state record in the discus unleashing a throw of 89 feet, 10 inches that was about 16 feet further than the runner-up, Asha Bramwell, Kaija’s sister.
“Both of the Bramwells were more polished as they have been training for the decathlon since they were in seventh grade,” Ball said. “But, Jaymi was by far the most athletic girl in the field.”
“Her raw ability bailed her out several times.”
Carlen also turned a good showing of strength in the shot put finishing second with a heave of 28 feet, 9.75 inches.
In the 1500 meter run, Carlen was fifth in 6:02.12 and in the 100-meter hurdles was sixth in 19.01.
In the long jump she tied for fifth with a leap of 14 feet, 6 inches and in the 100 meters, turned in a 13.45 clock to take sixth just .4 of a second by event champion Kayla Forbis of Queen creek.
Competing in the 400 meters, one of the most taxing events in track and field, Carlen ran 1:03.59 to take third.
She struggled in the high jump clearing 4 feet, 2 inches to tie for seventh place.
By clearing the pole vault bar at 8 feet, 9.75 inches, Carlen tied for sixth.
With her showing in the state championship now in the rear view mirror, Carlen has received an invitation to compete in the decathlon May 31 to June 2 at the Great Southwest Classic on the campus of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
Ball is predicting Carlen will do great things there, “With improvements, she has chance to score 5,000 (points).”
PHS teammates Keith Williams and Levi Sopeland, both pole-vaulters, have also received invitations to compete at the Great Southwest and have accepted, Ball said