MESA - The Catalina Foothills boys 3,200-meter relay team began the Division II state championship meet Wednesday tied for the No. 12 seed time and far from a favorite to win.
That didn't matter.
The Falcons cruised to victory in 8 minutes, 4.76 seconds at Mesa Community College - more than 20 seconds better than their seed time - to win the event for the second time in three years.
"We expected it," said senior Reagan Glynn, who ran the first leg. "We knew we had never run our full varsity team fresh, so we knew the times didn't tell the whole story."
Senior Liam Ahlers and junior Vetle Bergmann gave sophomore anchor Emilio Vasquez a lead to work with, and he took full advantage.
"No one came close to me," Vasquez said. "I didn't slow down, though; I just kept going like there was someone 2 feet behind me."
In other Division II action, Canyon del Oro senior Andrew Garcia used a late kick to win the boys 3,200 in 9:31.12. He stayed with the front pack early and pulled away with about 200 meters left.
"That was the plan going in," Garcia said. "Stay with the leaders, and I knew I had a strong kick. I was confident I could take it."
Salpointe Catholic senior Andy Trouard, a triple state champion last year, was the favorite to win the race again but didn't run because of what he believes is a stress fracture in his left foot. Once Garcia found out Trouard wasn't running, he said he got nervous and knew he had a chance to win.
Salpointe senior Alyssa Thompson was the lone local winner on the girls side and has a chance to go out a quadruple champion. She won the Division II girls triple jump with a personal best of 39 feet, 7 inches. Sahuaro's Nicole Fotinos was second (37-7).
"I was glad I did better than last year. That was my main goal over winning the thing," said Thompson, who also qualified for both hurdles finals Saturday. "I just wanted to better my last year's PRs and this season PRs, which I did."
Sahuaro had another runner-up with junior Cole Sterns finishing second in the Division II boys long jump (22-0.75). In other Division II action, Ironwood Ridge's Melanie Zibrat was second in the girls 800 (2:18.29).
Mountain View freshman Justice Summerset couldn't clear his season-best 6-8 and placed second in the Division I boys high jump (6-6). Tucson sophomore Quinton Anzalone and Cienega junior Christian Poe tied for fourth place (6-6) based on attempts.
"The first opening I took three jumps, and I'm not really used to that," Summerset said.
"I couldn't get a rhythm, and I'm just disappointed in my performance because I know I can do better than that."
Divisions III and IV open their meets Friday, and all divisions finish Saturday.
Contact high school sports coordinator Daniel Gaona at firstname.lastname@example.org or 807-7761. On Twitter @DanielGaona13