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Santa Rita freshman distance runner sets the pace

Citizen Staff Writer
TC Varsity



What started as casual has become serious for Santa Rita High School freshman distance runner Chelsey Luker.

In middle school, Luker regularly finished ahead of other kids her age in distance runs. The winning became contagious.

“It’s like the greatest feeling in the world,” Luker said.

This spring, she has been pretty happy. Luker has four first-place finishes in the first two meets of the season.

Wednesday, she won the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs in a triangular meet with Sahuaro and Palo Verde.

Her winning time in the 1,600 was 5 minutes, 39 seconds. In the 3,200, she won in 12:44.

Luker’s victories were among the few bright spots for Santa Rita on Wednesday.

Santa Rita finished third in the girls competition with 12 points. Sahuaro was first with 110 points and Palo Verde was second with 46.

Sahuaro finished first in the boys competition with 101 points, followed by Santa Rita (55) and Palo Verde (14).

With the wins in her first high school meets, it appears the sky is the limit for Luker.

“I want to get down to a 5:18 in my mile,” she said. “This is my first year doing the 3,200,” Luker said. “I just want to get to the state cut. Over the years, I hope to keep lowering it year by year.”

Santa Rita distance coach Marie Aguilar said Luker has a bright future.

“Even as a freshman, she has the potential to make it to state,” Aguilar said. “She has the drive and desire. She wants it. You can give her anything to do and she works on it to get better. She’s willing to try anything. She comes focused.

“She’s always ready for more after practice. After we leave for practice, she continues on her endurance run. She’s very focused.”

Luker beat the next closest runner in the 1,600 by almost 20 seconds.

“I lowered 10 seconds at this meet compared to last week’s meet,” she said. “That’s not fast enough yet.”

Canyon del Oro 92..5, Casa Grande 58.5, Marana 24.75: Canyon del Oro controlled its tri-meet against Casa Grande and Marana, thanks to Kayla Stepter, who finished first in the 100-meter hurdles (15.99) and the 200-meter dash (26.87).

Kylee Kieser won the 1,600 (5:43) and 3,200 (12:08) runs for Casa Grande.

Boys track

Casa Grande 83.5, CDO 69.75, Marana 24.75: Casa Grande’s Marcus Grove and Chris Rutledge led their team to a victory.

Grove took first place in the high jump (5 feet, 8 inches) and the long jump (19-2). Rutledge won the 200 (22.29) and 400 (50.01).


The Arizona Republic

A 17-year-old Scottsdale Chaparral High School football standout died Monday after a friend called 911 when he couldn’t wake him.

Authorities have not disclosed the cause of death.

While police would not release the player’s name, school officials, family and teammates confirmed it was senior wide receiver Brandon Martin, the son of former Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Al Martin.

Scottsdale police reported officers were called to a home on Saguaro Drive on Monday regarding the death a 17-year-old who was staying with a friend at that location.

Police would not speculate on the cause of death, but there was no obvious physical trauma to Martin’s body, Scottsdale police spokesman Dave Pubins said.

“It’s just a tragic situation,” said Chaparral football coach Charlie Ragle. “. . . I hope that people understand that he was a good kid.

“We all make mistakes. He was a kid you wanted to be around and you wanted on the football team.”

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