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Buckeye boys take 4th at state meet

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Casey Pritchard's picture

Darzell Smith wins 110 hurdles despite hamstring strain

Darzell Smith wasn’t at 100 percent for his 110-meter hurdles final, but he gutted through it and won the state championship.

Smith ran a 15.21 to win the 110 hurdles during the Division III state track and field meet May 5 and 6 at Mesa Community College.

I was going into state qualifying for four events, but during the week, during practice, I strained my hamstring and wasn’t able to run three of the four events I was supposed to run,” Smith said.

The hamstring strain happened May 4, and the preliminaries of the 110 hurdles was May 5.

We did a workout as a varsity team, I was running the curve so hard and I stretched out too hard and strained it,” Smith said. “It was awkward how I ran around the curve and strained it.”

Smith iced the hamstring, but wound up only running the 110H the following day. He had also qualified for state in the 300 hurdles and both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays.

During the May 5 preliminaries of the 110H, Smith’s time was just seventh fastest.

I barely made it to the finals, and I was disappointed, but I had the support I needed from my teammates and coaches to allow me to push forward [May 6] and believe in myself that I could win,” Smith said. “After the 110 hurdles, the trainer told me not to run the 300, wait for tomorrow and put all your eggs in one basket for the 110 hurdles.”

Smith said he didn’t feel like he had his rhythm during the preliminaries.

I didn’t really feel that groove I had,” Smith said. “It wasn’t a great day for me.”

That changed in the finals, as Smith ran a perfect race, he said.

It [hamstring] hurt a lot, but my coaches just told me, all you have to do is run hard for 15 seconds, and that’s what I did, won a state championship,” Smith said.

Smith kicked over the final hurdle of the race, as he knew the competition was closing in, he said.

I saw somebody on my tail and I wanted to take that hurdle as fast as possible because I didn’t want to get second,” Smith said. “It was emotional for me. I’m not an emotional guy, but to win that, it was emotional. It was amazing.”

Smith said he is already looking forward to next year and defending his title, while also trying to stay healthy so he can compete in all his qualified events.

Even though I won a state championship in the 110s, I wanted to do more for my team at state,” Smith said. “We were looking to run together as a 4x100 and 4x400 unit. I felt like I let them down because I wasn’t able to run with them, so next year, it’s my priority to be as healthy as possible and win a few more state championships for the community of Buckeye and everybody that’s been watching us. I still have a goal to reach next year.”

2nd-place performances

In addition to Smith’s win in the 110 hurdles, the Hawks also had strong finishes from Nehemiah Brown in the long jump, Heraclio Botello in the 100 dash and the 4x100 relay team.

Brown jumped 22 feet, 7.25 inches to place second in the long jump. Brown also ran a leg of the 4x100 relay, which was second.

He was a transfer kid, he had to miss half the season,” Buckeye coach Kenny Storkel said. “A couple meets went by and he wasn't going to do track, so I said, 'Hey, how would you like to be a state champ in the long jump, the 4x100,' because I knew he had some ability. For him to [finish second] in such little time, it was impressive. It was a good jump for him, a PR for him. Imagine if he had [competed] the whole season.”

Botello was second in the 100 in 11.30 seconds, which was .01 of a second behind state champion Darin Alderman of Mohave.

In the prelims he got out really slow, so I told him he has to work on his reaction; don't listen, react,” Storkel said. “He definitely did that in the finals, and it showed. His prelim race wasn't as good because of that, but he made it up in the finals and ran a great race.”

Demetrio Botello finished fifth for Buckeye in the 100. He ran an 11.58.

The 4x100 relay team ran a 42.99 for its second-place finish. That was .35 of a second from the winning time, which came from Tucson Salpointe Catholic. Buckeye’s 42.92 in preliminaries was the fastest qualifying time.

Buckeye also received points from Jeffrey Parkinson, who was sixth in the 400 at 51.81, and Heraclio Botello, who was eighth in the 200 at 24.11. Demetrio Botello had the fastest preliminary time in the 200, but finished the race ninth because he pulled his hamstring.

When you're running four races back to back, eight races in two days, that's pretty tough,” Storkel said. “That was Demetrio's seventh race, and it just snapped.”

Buckeye also had a good preliminary race in the 4x400 relay, posting the second best time at 3 minutes, 28.31 seconds, but it was ninth in the finals, running 15 seconds slower. Part of that had to do with Smith not being able to run, and Demetrio Botello injuring his hamstring.

At the Last Chance meet at Verrado we ran under 3:30, which put us No. 1 in state,” Storkel said. “Injuries came into play … we had to use some alternates. It was pretty unfortunate.”

Overall, Buckeye placed fourth as a team with 42 points. Snowflake won state with 74 points.

When I added up all the points, looking at the heat sheets, I was like, 'Guys, we can get second just doing this,'” Storkel said. “We went down the list, and we could actually win this thing. They got it in their head, then all those injuries happened in the prelims and it just wasn't going to happen. We missed third by one point, which is unfortunate, but if we would have been healthy, I think we definitely would have made some noise and could have won the thing.”

On the girls’ side, Sidney Rhymes placed in two events. She was second in the high jump at 5-2 and third in the long jump at 17-5.

Estrella Foothills

Estrella had two boys and two girls medal (top five) at state.

For the boys, Francisco Castillo was third in the 110 hurdles. He ran a 15.59. He was eighth in the 300 hurdles.

Larenz Young also earned a medal, finishing second in the 400. His time was 50.50 seconds.

Sarah Stenz and Kyra Gregg each placed fifth on the girls’ side. Stenz’s was in the 800, where she ran a 2:27.09. Gregg was fifth in the triple at 34-6. Kendal Clark just missed a medal, but earned points in the 3,200 with a school-record time of 11:49.59.

 

Casey Pritchard can be reached at caseypritchard@westvalleyview.com or on Twitter @CaseyonSports.



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