Two unexpected finishes put gold medals in the hands of two Maricopa High School athletes while a third won silver and bronze at the Arizona Interscholastic Association Division II Track & Field Championships Saturday in Mesa.
Senior Tylen Riley-Coleman, who had already been on the medal stand earlier in the week with a fourth-place finish in shot put, pulled off a massive upset in the discus. His second-flight throw of 172-08 was more than 20 feet farther than his previous best of 150-09 and more than three inches farther than his closest competitor in the finals.
“I don’t know where that came from,” said Coleman, who had yelled in elation after hearing the measurement. “I’m just blessed.”
In the first round of competition Saturday, he had been more than thrilled with a throw of 163 feet, which came between two fouled attempts. But the second-round throw catapulted him to the top of the medal stand, an unfamiliar position for the football star.
“I don’t know what to do with myself,” he said.
Even in practice, he said, he had not gone beyond 150 feet with the discus. In fact, shot put has usually been his stronger event. Parker Bays of Ironwood Ridge had been a heavy favorite but finished third.
By scoring a personal best in the discus, Coleman set another school record. He also holds the MHS record in shot at 52-9.
At any other time, MHS senior Logan Taylor’s result in the hurdling events would not have been surprising, but Saturday was not like any other time.
Taylor, the school record-holder in both the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles, had finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in those events in last season’s state championships. His goal was gold this year.
That seemed to get scuttled this week when he opened a gash on his right knee that required 20 stitches. His family and head coach Corey Nelson left it to him to decide if he would compete in the state meet.
Taylor is known for challenging himself and did so again in the 110-meter hurdles, shouting out as he crossed the finish line in front. Main rival Jadon Pearson of Williams Field had crashed out midway through the event and did not finish.
“I wanted to run my best race,” Taylor said. “It was probably going to be the last one, so I wanted to make sure it was good. I’m really happy with how it turned out.”
It was also one of his better times, in 14.64, just off his best of 14.56.
The knee, however, did not hold up through his effort in the 300-meter hurdles. Though he leaped out to an early lead, he struggled down the stretch to finish sixth in 41.07 (his top time is 39.09). His father helped him off the ground at the finish line and to the trainer’s tent for treatment.
Meanwhile, MHS’s sprint master Jacob Cowing, who earned gold last year as part of the Rams 4×100-meter relay team, had his hands full with Trayvion White of Sahuaro. In the 100-meter dash finals Saturday, Cowing matched White stride for stride but finished second at 10.78 behind White’s 10.73.
In the 200-meter dash, White, Jacob Samford and Cowing all finished within a fraction of a second. White won in 21.65, while Cowing came third in 21.95. After picking up his medal, he had his right thigh wrapped in ice.
Overall, Maricopa’s boys’ team scored 27 points in the state meet, a top five finish.
The girls’ team did not score points but had two make a good showing Saturday. Senior Kayla Boich was 12th in the high jump finals at 5-00. Sophomore Shakira Gillespie finished 15th in the long jump at 15-10.5.