MESA — Catalina Foothills senior Emily Gerard injured her right knee during the Southern Arizona Championships two weeks ago and didn’t know when — or if — she would be able to compete again.
“I haven’t really been training the last few weeks,” she said. “I didn’t think I was going to come to state at the time because I couldn’t walk on it. I had to use crutches — it was rough.”
But Wednesday, Gerard did the unthinkable and won the girls Division II high jump for the second time in three seasons, clearing 5 feet 6 inches. She had the same mark in her last two trips to Mesa Community College, when she won the championship as a sophomore and finished second as a junior.
“I’m happy I got to come at least,” said Gerard, who will attend Arizona next year. “I think I might be doing high jump in college, so if I can keep going higher and higher, that would be great.”
Gerard also placed fifth in the long jump behind Sahuaro’s Jamie Holliday to help the Falcons score 28 points, putting them two points behind first-place Glendale Cactus through six events.
The Foothills girls got another championship Wednesday afternoon from its 3,200-meter relay team of Sarah Lansey, Alex Berman, Anza Wiedenkeller and Katie Izzo, which won a back-and-forth contest against Yuma Gila Ridge in 9 minutes 33.17 seconds to set a school record.
“It was up in the air a few times, but we definitely had the drive to get through,” Widenkeller said. “I think we knew we were going to do it. It really just takes every single person to step up and go all out.”
Foothills’ boys team also had a winner in junior Emilio Vasquez, who rallied past William McClelland of Phoenix Arcadia in the final 100 meters of the 800. Vasquez, who broke the tape in the 3,200 relay last spring, dived across the finish line to secure the win in 1:55.98.
“I wasn’t going to give up; I just stayed close behind him, because I knew he was going to get tired,” said Vasquez, who also placed fourth in the 1,600 with a personal-best 4:18.82. “It was worth getting a couple scratches; I wasn’t going to lose that close.”
In other action, Sierra Vista Buena junior William Partridge placed second in the Division I boys shot put (58-3¾) as Canyon del Oro senior Meredith Alarcio-Caldon was the runner-up in the Division II girls discus with a 134-1 toss. Junior Bridgette Doucet, also from CDO, placed second in the Division II girls 3,200 in 10:40.60.
“I didn’t care about the place,” Doucet said. “It was so much fun getting out there and being able to run with all those girls.”
Salpointe Catholic’s girls team, the two-time defending state champion, was without Stanford-bound sprinter Michaela Crunkleton Wilson, who injured her left leg at the Willie Williams Classic in March and is still recovering.
Division I and II teams will return to action Saturday at Mesa CC. Division III and IV teams begin Friday.