Originally Published: March 2, 2012 10:54 p.m.
Young and talented, the 2012 Bradshaw Mountain High track and field team appears to have a promising future on the horizon.
Now what the Bears really need to do is start measuring how they stack up against their competition.
BMHS will engage in its initial test when it kicks off the spring season at 3:30 p.m. next Wednesday in a dual meet against fellow Division II member Prescott High at Bill Shepard Field.
Veteran Bradshaw Mountain coach Mike Simon said this year's boys' squad looks fairly strong, particularly in the middle-distance and sprinting events.
In the middle distances, standout senior runners Esteban Morales, Ryan Madler and C.J. Unruh return to guide the unit.
Last spring, Morales was an All-State selection, while Madler finished ninth in the 800-meter run at the 2011 state championships.
Simon added that Morales, Madler and Unruh also return to run in the 4x800m relay.
In the sprints, junior Damian Otero - a speedy defensive back on the Bears football team - will compete in the 100m, 200m and 400m as well as the 4x400m and 4x100m relays.
"He's much improved from a year ago," Simon said of Otero.
The rest of the sprinters are underclassmen, including sophomores Mathew Moreno, Isaac Peña, Carter Thompson and Jeff Dougherty, and freshman Brian Sanchez.
Moreno, Peña, Thompson and Dougherty are all expected to compete in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, and perhaps even in the 4x400m relay. Sanchez will run in the 100m, 200m and the 4x100m relay. Dougherty could also participate in the long jump.
In the throws, Simon said junior Matt Ehrlich should make an impact in the shot put and discus. (Duane Ehrlich, Matt's brother, will contribute for the squad when he returns from injury over the next few weeks.) Freshman Ryker Wells will toss the discus, too.
As for the hurdles, senior Tim Voth will lead the way in the 110m high hurdles and the 300m intermediate hurdles. Sophomore Casey Huntley will also run in the 110m high hurdles.
Junior Ian Jones will contribute in the pole vault and in the sprints.
On the girls' side, sophomore Lindsey Lowman is a returning state qualifier in the 300m intermediate hurdles (an event she set a school record in last spring), 100m high hurdles, and as a member of last spring's all-freshman 4x100m relay team.
Sophomore Kylie Morris, who started for Bradshaw's varsity girls' basketball team this winter, joins Lowman as a returnee on the 4x100m relay team. She will also take part in the triple jump. Jocelyne Nuñez is the fourth returning athlete on the 4x100m relay squad.
In the sprints, BMHS will lean on multi-talented freshman Ashlie Dowdy, another Bears varsity hoops player, who will run in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay. Simon said she should also participate in a fourth event, most likely the long jump or the 4x400m relay.
Junior Nicole Pino, who doubles as a varsity soccer player, will race in the 100m and 200m sprints in addition to the 4x100m and 4x400m relays. Sophomore Sarah Wadsworth will contribute in the sprints and in the pole vault.
In the middle distance and distance events, sophomores Heidi Madler and Athena Dias will guide the Bears.
Madler, a versatile multi-sport athlete, will compete in the 800m, 1600m and 3200m as well as in the 4x400m and 4x800m relays.
Dias, who pieced together a strong cross-country season last fall, will join Madler in the 800m, 1600m and 4x800m relay, and possibly in the 400m.
Freshman Amanda Lopez and sophomore Madison Brevik should bolster the Bears in the 800m and 1600m in addition to the 4x800m relay. Junior middle-distance runner Kayla Hegland could provide help in the 4x800m relay as well as in the 400m, 4x400m relay and the open 800m.
In the throws, hard-working freshman Rebecca Grant will participate in the shot put and discus.
This season, Bradshaw Mountain will play host to only one meet, the annual Yavapai County Championships at 2 p.m. April 27.
Simon said that under the Arizona Interscholastic Association's new division format it will be more difficult to qualify for the state championships, which this spring are being held May 9 and 12 at Glendale Community College. The former classification system separated schools into regions that used to conduct their own postseason qualifying meets but are now defunct.
Nonetheless, Simon remains confident with the group he has.
"We're still looking to get more athletes to the state championships than a year ago," the coach said. "The future is very bright."
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