State Track and Field Championships

Rio Rico’s Carlos Villarreal won state titles in the 800 and 1,600 on his 17th birthday.

Arizona Daily Star

Carlos Villarreal was the Division III cross country runner-up in the fall and has only gotten better from there.

The Rio Rico junior captured three titles at the state meet last month and helped the Hawks win their first team championship since 2003.

Not bad for someone who just started running last year.

Villarreal won the 1,600-meter run at the Meet of Champions on May 14 in a speedy 4 minutes 9.99 seconds – which was the best time in the state this spring – and had the second-best mark in the 800 at 1:53.

Villarreal anchored the 3,200-meter relay team to a win and helped the 1,600 relay team finish second on the same day he turned 17. He was clearly Southern Arizona’s best on the track this spring.

In Division II action, Catalina Foothills junior Emilio Vasquez anchored his 3,200 relay team to a win and won the 800 and was considered for the honor.

Meanwhile, Sahuaro senior Anthony Burley also had a strong case: He finished second in the 300 hurdles and anchored the Cougars’ 1,600 relay team to a win at state.

Contact high school sports coordinator Daniel Gaona at or 807-7761. On Twitter @DanielGaona13