When sophomore Samantha Schadler grabbed the baton, there were five other runners in front of her.
She passed two of them by the time she passed it to sister Allie.
The senior, about 50 meters behind the first-place runner, turned it on and Rio Rico won the 4×800-meter girls title Friday by more than two seconds in the Division III state track and field championships at Mesa Community College.
Rio Rico finished at 9 minutes, 54.25 seconds, ahead of runner-up Tucson Salpointe (9:56.96). Chino Valley was third at 10:09.53. The temperature was 106 degrees during the relay.
“I have a game plan each time,” said Allie Schadler, a senior, who Sunday was awarded Female Athlete of the Year at the azcentral.com Sports Awards at ASU Gammage. “I have confidence.”
Samantha had great confidence in her state-record holder sister.
“I didn’t want to panic about it,” Samantha said. “I knew there would be some distance to make up. I just didn’t know how much. It wasn’t so significant that it couldn’t be made up.
“I told myself I just had to pick off one person at a time. I knew that Allie’s competitive spirit would kick in.”
Allie Schadler isn’t competing in the 3,200, the event in which she broke the state record in April at the Arcadia (Calif.) Invitational.
She will compete in the 400 finals on Saturday, along with the 1,600. She will also be part of Rio Rico’s 4×400 relay team.
Schadler advanced to the 400 finals with a time of 59.29 seconds. She has never competed in the 400 at state before now. She says she has run a 57-second 400 in a meet.
“This is my last year, and my dad just wanted me to have fun,” she said.
Schadler is close to the 1,600 state record. She beat out a nationally competitive field of distance runners at the Chandler Rotary Invitational in late March to win the 1,600 in 4:45.39, just off former Phoenix Desert Vista standout Dani Jones’ state mark of 4:44.46 set two years ago.
It is expected to be cooler on Saturday when she runs the 1,600, the final individual race of her brilliant four-year high school career.
“She’s close, and she’s in pretty good shape to do it,” said Stephen Schadler, Allie’s father and coach. “But with the conditions, it will be cooler, plus 20 mile an hour winds. It’s going to take a little help from Mother Nature to make that happen.”Gilbert Christian girls took the 4×800 Division IV state title in 10:09.09, with Scottsdale Prep second at 10:17.95.
The Division III and IV track preliminaries and some finals for distances and field events were held Friday. The rest of the finals are Saturday, when eight meets (from Division I to Division IV) will be running concurrently at MCC.
Tim Fitzgerald of Queen Creek American Leadership won the Division III boys shot put Friday with a toss of 57 feet, 1 inch.
Scottsdale Prep took the top two spots in the Division IV boys shot put with senior Weston Wright winning at 54-1/2 and junior Karsten Santaella second at 50-11.
Eagar Round Valley’s Marshall Donaldson won the Division IV boys pole vault at 14 feet.
Phoenix St. Mary’s senior Quintella Johnson won the Division III girls high jump with a leap of 5-6. Brooke Patterson of St. Johns took the Division IV girls high jump at 5-0.
Phoenix Christian’s Allison Sluga won the Division IV girls discus at 116-3. Janessa Johnson of Kayenta Monument Valley won the gold in the Division III discus at 116-9.
Makenna Dytko of American Leadership captured the Division III girls long jump championship at 18-1 1/2.
Sean Barton of Salpointe took the Division III boys triple jump with 45-4 3/4, while Joe Glomski of Sedona Red Rock took the Division IV title at 44-7.
Vaughan Jackson of Tuba City won the Division III boys 1,600 title with a time of 4:24.92. Trevor Tam of Phoenix Horizon Honors won the event in Division IV at 4:34.26.
Rhett Bingham of Round Valley looks in good shape to be a double state winner with Division IV best preliminary times in the 100 hurdles (15.63) and the 100 (11.26).
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