MESA – Rio Rico’s Carlos Villarreal turned 17 on Saturday but that was just a small part of the celebration by nightfall.
The junior captured state championships in both the boys Division III 800 and 1,600-meter runs in the final day of the track and field state championships at Mesa Community College and helped the Hawks win their first state title since 2003.
Villarreal, the cross- country state runner-up in the fall, was also part of Rio Rico’s first-place 3,200-meter relay team Friday.
He started Saturday by winning the 1,600 in 4 minutes 19.27 seconds and, a couple hours later, pulled away late to win the 800 in 1:53. He finished his day by anchoring the 1,600 relay team to a second-place finish in 3:29.09 to secure the team title.
“Going into the state championships we knew we had a shot at the team title,” Villarreal said. “The plan was to leave it all on the track and go for the wins and it’s been great.”
In other Division III action, Santa Rita senior Briana Myers repeated as the Division III 100 hurdles state champ in 15.0 and won the 100 in 12.74 after finishing second in the event a year ago.
“I wanted it badly and I got it,” Myers said. “I was scared coming in because I didn’t have the best time but I came out and did it where it counts so I’m definitely happy.”
Palo Verde senior Drake DeYonge won the boys shot put with a 44-foot 7¾-inch toss to complete his sweep of the throwing events after he won the discus on Friday.
With the help of junior Katie Izzo, the Catalina Foothills girls team locked up its first state title since 2005. Izzo won the Division II 800 in 2:14.73 to break her own school record in the event to put the Falcons in first place for good.
“I went out there trying to do it for my team and I did,” said Izzo, who was also on Foothills’ state championship 3,200 relay team Wednesday. “I’m just so happy I can be a part of this group.”
The Falcons also won a gold in the boys 3,200 relay. Junior anchor Emilio Vasquez took the baton with the lead and never let up to win his second gold.
Sahuaro freshman Brielle Sterns won her first state title in the third race of the afternoon when she placed first in the 100 hurdles in 15.0. Canyon del Oro’s Cameron Crandell, also a freshman, won the boys high jump by clearing 6-8.
Pusch Ridge Christian senior Kyle Cajero captured his first career title on the track when he won the 800 in 1:56.88 and helped the second-place Lions to their best finish as a team.
It put an end to a run of several second-place finishes for Cajero, including one earlier in the afternoon when he finished the 1,600 in 4:26.29, three seconds behind the winner.
“I must have set some kind of record for how many times in a row I was a runner-up,” Cajero said. “I’m so grateful for this.”
As Cajero was lining up for his race, fellow Pusch Ridge senior Josh Carollo was being presented his gold for winning the triple jump with 43-7 mark.