Chandler freshman ready to dominate track - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler freshman ready to dominate track

April 10th, 2022 SanTan Sun News
Chandler freshman ready to dominate track
Sports and Recreation

By Zach Alvira
Sports Editor

S’Niyah Cade looked over to her mother, Keri Suell, to see her reaction when she finished the race.

Cade, a freshman at Chandler High School who is still a bit shy and reserved at times, wasn’t sure how to react after running the 100 and 200-meter dash events at the Nike Chandler Rotary. Suell had a smile on her face and tears in her eyes when Cade’s time came across the screen.

That’s when Cade began to celebrate, too.

“I was hoping I broke 12 seconds because I was right at 12.10 or something,” Cade said. “So, I was just getting mentally prepared for that. I was excited I broke that.”

Cade capped off a strong showing at the Brophy AMDG by running an 11.97 in the 100. A week later at the Chandler Rotary, she won the 100 and 200 with times of 11.98 and 24.29 seconds, respectively. She beat out the likes of Highland sprinter Lainey Jones and Mountain Pointe’s Trinity Henderson, who raced in her first meet after transferring from Chandler this season.

Henderson, widely looked at as the best sprinter in the state with numerous state titles under her belt at this point in her high school career, is someone Cade has always looked up to. But she’s also been intimidated at times by her and Jones’ presence due to their speed and skill on the track.

But racing against them at the Rotary she remained calm. And that ultimately allowed her to stamp her name into the conversation for a state title in both events come May.

“I was only really nervous about my block start,” Cade said. “I was just ready to get the race over with.”

Cade’s journey to Chandler was one that was, for the most part, set in stone.

Suell ran under current Chandler track coach Eric Richardson on the Arizona Cheetahs, a longstanding track and field youth club team. She began to make a name for herself in that setting and carried it over to the track at Chandler, where Richardson became head coach after leading the Boys Ranch to two state titles in the late 1990s.

The two families became close. Richardson is Suell’s godfather. Suell’s development as an elite sprinter continued under Richardson. In 2002, she ran a blazing 11.69 in the 100 with a fractured tibia.

She and Cade often discuss what it will take for her daughter to beat her time on the track. Often, it comes with jokes about that never happening. But in reality, Suell knows it’s only a matter of time.

“Her progression has blown me away,” Suell said. “She doesn’t even realize how fast she has run. It honestly blows my mind. I can’t wait to see what she does at state. Hopefully, by next year, she will be running 11.6.”

A self-proclaimed sneaker head and foodie, Cade often bargains with Suell for rewards after events. But only if she hits certain marks.

She most recently received a new pair of Nike Dunks and Air Jordans from her mom. She also requested a crab leg dinner. But Suell has yet to give in that much.

The rewards make for a fun bonus to the hard work Cade already puts in on a daily basis. She wants to break her mom’s record. She wants to be the best on the track. And whether or not she knows it, she is well on her way to doing just that.

“She should do well in the state meet if we can keep her going in the same direction,” Richardson said. “She’s responded to the weight room a lot better than we expected. She’s got a chance to do something special.”

Chandler’s girls’ team has won 14 state championships dating back to 2006. In 2015, Mountain Pointe upset the Wolves. In 2020, a state championship wasn’t held due to the pandemic.

This season, the Chandler girls seem poised to yet again win a title. Elite sprinter Jocelyn Johnson, who routinely competed right alongside Henderson when the two were both at Chandler, will once again be one of the top athletes in the state.

The girls’ relay team had strong showings both at Brophy and the Chandler Rotary, where some of the top competition from the state and the southwest competed.

Then there’s Cade, a 14-year-old that was widely unknown until her blazing runs at two of the biggest meets outside of the state championship. She knows the type of expectations that come with running for Chandler. That’s something she has learned to embrace from her mother, Richardson and her teammates.

She also knows the likelihood that she faces off against Henderson and Jones again with a gold medal up for grabs. She’s learning to embrace that challenge on practice at a time.

“She’s always competed with some of the best,” Suell said. “Her being able to compete at that level, she was very intimidated coming into high school. But we let her know there’s nothing to be afraid of.

“Me being a freshman when I won my first championships in the (100 and 200), if she follows in my footsteps will be more than exciting,” Suell said. “If she does that, I’ll probably be dancing in the middle of the field and do a backflip.”

Richardson’s projection for Cade mirrors what Suell believes her daughter can accomplish in high school. They both agreed she can work her way to somewhere in the 11.4 or 5 range in the 100.

It’ll take hard work, but that’s something she is already used to. Overall, Cade could very well become the next dominant sprinter in the state over the course of the next four years.

“You have to have some luck, especially with injuries and stuff,” Richardson said. “If we can keep her focused in, I think she has a chance to be among the elite in Arizona history.”