High school track and field: Trio hope to lead Salpointe girls to repeat

2013-05-08T00:00:00Z High school track and field: Trio hope to lead Salpointe girls to repeatDaniel Gaona Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 08, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Salpointe Catholic's Alyssa Thompson knows her high school track career will come to an end Saturday night.

The senior says she doesn't plan on crying. However, she does plan on winning.

Thompson will try to go out a quadruple champion. She hopes to lead the Lancers to their second straight girls team state title with the help of juniors Michaela Crunkleton Wilson and Diana Gajda.

Like last year, when the trio led Salpointe to its first team championship, all three will need to do their part for a repeat.

Coach Malisa Cariño has plenty of faith in her squad as the state meet opens today at Mesa Community College.

"They just came out hungry for more," Cariño said. "We didn't see any change in their behavior at practice.

"They still had the same intensity and positive attitude, and that's easy to coach."

Here's a look at each of the three and what to expect from them today and this weekend:

Alyssa Thompson

Year: Senior

Events: 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, triple jump, long jump

Wins last year: Triple jump. Thompson, who signed with Wake Forest, was runner-up in the long jump and 100 hurdles to Canyon del Oro's Jaide Stepter, the 2012 Arizona Gatorade female track athlete of the year.

Biggest focus: 300 hurdles. Thompson's seed time of 42.61 seconds is just shy of Stepter's state record of 42.01 she set at last year's state finals.

"The record is staring me down," she said.

Season highlight - so far: The Willie Williams Classic. Thompson set a personal best in three events and set a meet record with her 300 hurdles time of 42.61.

Michaela Crunkleton Wilson

Year: Junior

Events: 100, 200, 400 and 1,600 relay

Wins last year: 100 and 200. She was second in the 400 behind Gajda.

Biggest focus: Crunkleton Wilson says she's most nervous for the 400. However, the 100 is most important to her because she needs to hit marks to qualify for her summer competitions.

Season highlight - so far: The Arcadia Invitational, a national meet in Arcadia, Calif. She won the open 200 and finished second in the open 100. "It's a really humbling experience, and it brought a lot of good competition," Crunkleton Wilson said.

Diana Gajda

Year: Junor

Events: 100, 200, 400 and 1,600 relay

Wins last year: 400 meters. She also placed second in the 100 and third in the 200.

Biggest focus: Gajda said she is most confident in her 400 and is hoping to defend her title.

Season highlight - so far: Gajda said she didn't have one big meet because she focused on one event each time. Now, she's ready for all four to come together.

State track meet

At Mesa Community College

• Today: Divisions I and II

• Friday: Divisions III and IV

• Saturday: Divisions I, II, III and IV

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

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