By Joycelyn Cabrera
After taking bronze medals in the track & field state championships last year, Maricopa High School’s 4×100-meter relay team is hungry for more. Consisting of junior Jacob Cowing and seniors P.J. Austin, Frank Jones and Longman Pyne, the team’s top time of 42.35 (accomplished at the Greenway Invitational April 7 and better than their state time of 42.76 last year) is the second-best in Division II and qualifies them for the Arizona Interscholastic Association competition this week.
The team talked to InMaricopa intern Joycelyn Cabrera about what’s ahead.
Learn about other qualifiers and see an MHS track & field gallery below
What are you expecting from State this time around?
Longman Pyne: “This year our mind is set on gold, but just being able to go there again and compete among the best is an accomplishment.”
Jacob Cowing: “I’d say we’re just trying to win the meet this year. We came up short last year, so it’s time to get a win for all the seniors who are going out this year. And for our 4×100, we got third, so we’re trying to win it this year in D2.”
Frank Jones: “Individually, we want to set high standards, make state records and such.”
Phillip Austin: “It feels great. It feels very important to be the best Maricopa has, and to be top 5 in state overall.”
Cowing: “I think it’s important for us and for Maricopa to be considered one of the best. Also, the middle school kids coming up and trying to have a competing time after we leave from our high school time – it’s kind of important to our community that we’re here to compete with others.”
Jones: “It’s important because our relay team is doing something that no other [MHS] relay team has ever done. We’re basically setting a legacy that younger generations like the elementary schoolers and the middle schoolers can have – to see what they can do.”
How do you prepare for competition individually and as a team?
Pyne: “I just try to block out everything that doesn’t have to do with competing. I go to my happy place and zone in. To get prepared as a team, we practice our exchanges vigorously throughout the week.”
Jones: “I just put a standard in my head, like ‘what time do I need to hit,’ personally. I focus on that all week and during practices. As a team, we really just come together in our 4×100 and do what we need to do – run fast and compete with the best.”
Austin: “Our coach has high expectations every week. He sets what we’re supposed to do, and then when it comes meet time, focus, listen to what he tells us to do. For our 4×100, we as a team have great chemistry, so it starts to become easy.”
MHS athletes also rank high in individual events. Junior Logan Taylor has Division II’s second-best time in the 110-meter hurdles in 14.64. He is fifth-best in the 300-meter hurdles in 40.23.
Jones’ best 200-meter time of 21:95 is sixth in the state, while Cowing ran 22.25, and Austin hit 22.12. The three are competing in the state meet.
Pyne qualified to run in the state meet in the 400-meter dash with a time of 50.77.
Austin’s top result in the long jump, 23-2.5, was fourth best in Division II, and junior Tylen Coleman ranked fourth in the shotput with his top throw of 49-2.5. Coleman also qualified for discus throwing, with a throw of 144-4.
Devin Parady and Coleman both qualified for javelin throwing, with Parady having a throw of 152-0 and Coleman throwing at 138-1.
Parady also qualified for the triple jump, with a leap of 42-1.25.
Cowing’s 100-meter time of 10:87 is eighth best in the division. Austin’s and Jones’ 10.93 in the same event puts them 14th and 15th, respectively. Senior Samual Coles had a 10th-best jump in the pole vault at 12-10.
Among the girls, junior Shannon Coutre’s 200-meter time of 25.86 ranked her No. 4. Coutre also qualified for the 400 with a school-record time of 59.43.
Italy Brookshire qualified to compete in the high jump with a jump of 5-1.
The 4×100-meter relay team’s best time of 50.55 was 15th in the division. The team includes, Sydni Callis, Destinee Chavis, Jakayla Shaw and Alayja Reynolds.
The AIA state championships are May 2 and May 5 at Mesa Community College.
This is a corrected version, clarifying that Phillip Austin qualified to compete in the 200-meter dash at state.