Chandler High girls track team wins state title SanTan Sun News

Chandler High girls track team wins state title

May 23rd, 2018 | by SanTan Sun News
Chandler High girls track team wins state title
Sports and Recreation
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By Brian Benesch, Sports Editor

 

Girls track and field programs from across the Valley gathered last week at Mesa Community College for the state finals, but the tournament showcased one special group of superstars – the athletes from Chandler High School.

For the third time in as many years, Coach Eric Richardson’s team brought home a Division I title. The girls’ 185 total points were more than enough to edge out second-place Desert Vista High’s 74.5 points.

While Richardson has been the driving force behind Chandler’s run of dominance, he was quick to pass the praise over to his student-athletes.

“We’ve had a long line of success for our kids. They’ve built a legacy that people want to follow,” the coach said. “The young kids come in and there’s an expectation for them to do well. It’s a self-imposed pressure.”

Jai Greunwald stole the show, winning four individual state titles, including the triple jump, for Chandler as the senior went out in style.

“Jai had just a phenomenal track meet,” Richardson said. “Any time you can win four events, it’s mind-boggling. Her doing that was just fantastic.”

Joining Greunwald on the podium was Morgan Foster, in addition to several other Chandler athletes. Foster’s win in the girl’s 800 may have been the highlight of the tournament for the talented track squad.

“Anything Morgan does right now is extraordinary after that devastating car accident she was in. She’s lucky to be alive, let alone back on the track. Everybody performed up to expectations,” Richardson said.

Of course, Foster’s journey was not the only emotional storyline emerging from the Wolves’ terrific season. Longtime throwers coach Ted Williams passed away during the year.

According to Richardson, his spirit was alive and well on Saturday.

“He and I had been together for the better part of 25-30 years,” he said of the late coach. “It makes the win that much more special to get that done in his honor. We’ve certainly dedicated the season to him and everything he stood for.”

It was a seesaw affair between Chandler and Desert Vista all tournament long. The Thunder girls finished second only to the Wolves, while Chandler’s boys were runners-up to Desert Vista.

On the boys’ side, the Thunder claimed a state title after two consecutive second-place finishes as Desert Vista parlayed day-one wins by Kevin Fairchild and Deshon Toney into one of the event’s more impressive outings from start to finish.

“They are a machine,” said Jared Stone, head boys coach at Mountain View. “I was able to see Fairchild (Wednesday’s javelin champion), and he did a great job. My javelin thrower wants to do the same stuff he’s doing.”

The Toros’ Stone had reason to celebrate his own team’s performance as Sam Jarvis took home a title in the pole vault on the first day the meet.

“We were very pleased with his performance. He really upholds the tradition of good vaulters at Mountain View. To be in that 15-foot vault club, it’s a really big deal. He’s on our top 10 list now. He just had an outstanding meet,” Stone said.

The boys and girls of Mountain View pulled together two top 10 overall finishes at the event.

-Contact Brian Benesch at 480-898-5630 or bbenesch@timespublications.com. Follow him on Twitter @AZBenesch.

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