PRESCOTT VALLEY - It took them four tries, but for the first time on Friday, the Prescott High boys won the Yavapai County Rotary Track and Field Championships.
Compiling 178 points among a field of six schools in the fourth annual meet at Bradshaw Mountain High, the Badgers pulled away from second-place Sedona Red Rock (131) and third-place Mingus Union (129).
Bradshaw (fourth, 101 points) and Chino Valley (fifth, 57) were among the other locals to place in the top five with the state meet on the horizon next month.
"I was hoping that we'd squeak out a win, but to win by 47 points is a huge win," PHS coach Clark Tenney said. "Sedona, Mingus and Bradshaw are good, strong teams."
Helping lead the way were freshman Justin Castro, who finished fourth in the 400m with a 53.13-second time and scored points in the 100m, 200m and the 4x100m relay, and sprinter Matt Clark, who tied for second in the 100m and was fourth in the 200m.
Prescott posted five first-place individual finishes, including Hosava Kretzmann in the 3200m, Garrett Reed in the 110m hurdles, Chance Mills in the 300m hurdles, and Lukas Stogsdill in the long jump and triple jump. Stogsdill has already qualified for the Div. 2 state meet in the long jump.
"Lukas is a big part of why we did so well (at county)," Tenney said.
Thrower David Rupp was a key component, too, as he was third in the shot put and second in the discus. Distance runners Vincent Arminio and Simon Paige also fared well.
On the girls' side, Mingus Union claimed the county crown by posting 137 points and squeaked past runner-up Red Rock, which registered 134, in an eight-member field.
Bradshaw Mountain was a close third (118), while Prescott was fourth (96).
Bears coach Mike Simon said it looks as though his 4x800m relay team of Hannah Madler, Alicia Cornejo, Athena Dias and Erika Meza will make state. On Friday, they took second to Mingus in 10:31.22.
Bradshaw's 4x400m relay team of Kylie Morris, Rachel Campbell, Madler and K'yanna Bruner is also likely to get in after winning at county with a 4:23 time.
In addition, Madler and Lindsey Lowman should qualify for the postseason, with the former in the 800m and the latter likely going in the long jump and 100m hurdles, Simon said.
"Lindsey Lowman is as consistent as you can ask for," he said. "And Courtney, as a freshman, she's really coming along and excelling this year."
For the Bears' boys, Simon added that he hopes his state qualifiers include their 4x400m relay team of Auggie Espinoza, Casey Huntley, Brian Sanchez and Austin Jackson (second place at county to Mingus Union in 3:35.30), and their 4x800m relay team of Saul Martinez, Eli Shaffer, Nate Poblano and Espinoza (second to Mingus in 8:43.34). Martinez has already qualified in the open 800m, and thrower Matt Ehrlich in the shot put (top three in the state) and the discus.
Chino Valley coach Marc Metz said his 4x100m girls' relay team of Caitlyn Ballard, Rachel Merritt, Elisabeth Cuka and Mariah Hall is presently ranked fifth in Div. 3 and should make state.
On Friday, they finished in second place with a 52.04-second time, narrowly losing to the winning Bradshaw team of Lowman, Courtney Parsell, Kylie Morris and Rachel Campbell (51.09).
"We're aiming for second or third (at state in the 4x100m)," Metz said. "I think we have a good shot with them."
Other girls to keep an eye on for the Cougars at state include Caitlyn Ballard in the high jump and long jump; and Mariah Ahern in the 400m.
The Cougars boys' 4x800m relay team of Zach Ballard, McKenzie and Channing Nez and Travis Rowitsch also has a chance for the postseason.
"We had a lot of stars five or 10 years ago," Metz said. "We don't have as many stars, and with the realignment (to divisions) we face a lot more Phoenix schools. It's gotten bigger and it's gotten better. But now it's like we're earning it. It's a really big deal to make state."
Prescott, Chino Valley and Bradshaw Mountain will attend the Last-Chance Meet early next week, where their athletes will have one final opportunity to post state-qualifying times.