Citizen Staff Writer
Returning from battling the flu, distance runner Steve Magnuson helped Ironwood Ridge High School build a comfortable lead during Wednesday’s first day of the two-day 5A-II Southern Region track and field championship at Tucson High.
Magnuson took the lead in the first lap of the 1,600 meter, never looking back en route to a win in 4 minutes, 35.64 seconds, nearly two seconds ahead of second-place Noah Kenyawani (4:37.44) of Rincon/University.
“The goal there was to qualify . . . for state,” said Magnuson, who has posted much faster times in the event in recent weeks. “I think our team has a really good shot (at winning a 5A Division II state championship). All of us together want to bring home a team title and we’re good all the way around. We’re pretty high momentumwise and ready to roll whenever.”
His win helped Ironwood Ridge build a 15 point lead (42-27) over Rincon.
The Nighthawks’ success Wednesday wasn’t only on the track.
Ironwood Ridge senior Jake Fischer took first place in the shot put with a throw of 51 feet, 2.5 inches, more than 5 feet over teammate Marvin Snodgrass’ second-place toss of 46-1.5. Zach Booker rounded out the top three spots in the event for Ironwood Ridge with a third-place throw of44-6.
The Ironwood Ridge girls team (37 points) leads Mountain View (20.5) and Rincon (18.5), last year’s regional champions.
Rincon’s Tamara Pridgett clocked a 25.19 in the 200 preliminary heats.
One of her competitors in Friday’s finals will be Ironwood Ridge’s Abbey Barbera (25.51), a newcomer to the event.
“I’ve never run the 200 before this year,” said Barbera. “I definitely think about my competition and I’ve known about Tamara. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to run against her, but glad I will see her in the finals.”
The Nighthawks claimed titles in the 3,200 when Sarah Miville (11:31.34) finished 10 seconds ahead of teammate Kat Howard (11:41.04).
Defending state high jump champion Lauren Laszczak won the region title at 5 feet, 2 inches.
In the 5A-I Southern Region girls meet, Kylee Kieser claimed her second straight regional title in the 3,200.
“I knew I would have some competition,” said Kieser (5:28.74), who defeated Tucson High’s Lucia Hernandez (5:34.64).
“I wanted to win here and have an automatic berth into state next week. I had a feeling she was closing in and I picked it up.”
Sierra Vista Buena (34) leads the girls competition over Salpointe (19), Casa Grande (17) and Tucson High (9).
Casa Grande (31) leads Salpointe (20), Buena (17) and Tucson High (8) in the boys meet.