Incredible surprise finishes were on display at the Chandler Rotary Track Invitational on Saturday. Richard Obert/azcentral sports
Tyson Jones knew he had a special throw in him during warmups Saturday when he flashed a big smile after easily clearing 60 feet.
With Oro Valley Canyon del Oro senior Turner Washington posing as a big threat, the Goodyear Desert Edge junior ramped it up, winning the boys shot put at 66 feet, 8 inches at Chandler High’s Austin Field.
It was a meet record in the 77th Nike Chandler Rotary Track and Field Invitational – one of the bigger high school invites in the nation. And it was the third-farthest throw in Arizona preps history.
“The competition was really good, something I never experienced before,” Jones said. “Having everybody. Elijah Mason, Turner Washington, both over 60 feet, it was amazing.”
Washington finished second at 64-6 with Phoenix Desert Vista’s Mason third at more than 62 feet. Washington came back and broke Dwight Johnson’s state record in discus with a throw of 215-8, three feet farther than the 1987 mark.
Jones keeps edging closer to Dallas Long’s 58-year-old state record of 69-3. Jones now trails Dwight Johnson, who had the second-longest throw in state history in 1987 at 67- ½.
Some of the meet’s past stars came out to see what figured to be one of the most competitive meets in the long, storied history of the Chandler Rotary.
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Olympic 110-meter hurdler Devon Allen, former Chandler hurdler/sprinter/jumper Jasmine Todd and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Markus Wheaton were among some of the meet’s past record holders on hand.
Wheaton caught up with Phoenix North Canyon junior Tyrees Moulton to congratulate him after he broke the former Chandler sprinter’s 400-meter Rotary record at 47.15 seconds. Wheaton had the record at 47.38 in 2009.
“My finish was strong,” Moulton said. “The guy in lane five helped me at first, the first 200. But the finish was definitely the strongest part of the race.”
In the girls competition, all eyes were on the 1,600 and mile, a combination race, that had a strange twist to the end.
With Rio Rico’s Allie Schadler and Grandview (Colo.) distance phenom Brie Oakley tied at the start of the final lap, they were neck-and-neck at the finish. Schadler won the 1,600 in 4 minutes, 45.39 seconds, followed by Oakley at 4:45.43. But the mile (named for deceased local runner Sally Meyerhoff) is a tad longer, and Oakley edged out Shadler for that title.
“That’s very weird,” said Schadler, who has signed to run at Washington. “It never happened before. But that’s OK.”
Two weeks ago, Oakley and Schadler met in New York for the 2-mile run at the New Balance Indoor Nationals. Oakley won with Schadler finishing fourth. Oakley set a national record in the 5K in that meet, running under 16 minutes.
Oakley, a former soccer player who only began running two years ago, knew Saturday’s mile would be tough with Schadler in her element.
“I definitely need to work more on my shorter distance,” Oakley said. “I had her right on my shoulder and eventually she went ahead of her so I had to chase her. I’ve not seen that very much. So I’m glad I had that race.”
Earlier, Tara Davis of Argoura, Calif., set a meet record in the girls 100 hurdles, winning in 13.50 seconds. That wasn’t a PR. She has run 13.38 in a meet.
“I just wanted to get a 13.5 or lower,” Davis said. “I thought it would be cool to come to Arizona. I had never been here before to do an outdoor meet. It was cool.”
Tolleson senior Trey Johnson came into the meet with a chip on his shoulder.
He originally wasn’t going to be in the meet, but he got in at the last minute as an alternate, and won both the boys 110 hurdles in 13.65 and the 100 dash in 10.57.
He ran in the supposedly slower second heat in both events. He won out of the eighth lane in the 100.
“I wouldn’t call it an upset, but I know a lot of people didn’t think I was going to win,” Johnson said. “I just felt good about this race (the 100), that I’d be able to do it.