St. Augustine track duo eye state titles

2014-04-19T00:00:00Z St. Augustine track duo eye state titlesBy Scott Coleman For the Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Zach Alderete and Miranda Jackson are thriving as seniors at St. Augustine Catholic this year and they’re hoping to cap off stellar careers with state titles by the time their season ends three weeks from today.

Coach Tim Bentley said they will go down as two of the top athletes to ever compete for the east-side school.

While Alderete, a distance runner, will be trying to win his first championship when the Division IV state meet begins May 9, Jackson, a thrower, will be hoping to win a gold medal for the second year in a row.

“Regardless of how they finish, they achieved most of their goals and have always represented our school,” Bentley said. “But it would be really cool if they finished on the podium.”

The Star talked with Alderete and Jackson at the Mario Castro Invitational on Friday to find out more:

Zach Alderete

Why he picked track: His older brother and sister also went to St. Augustine and did track so the choice was pretty easy for Alderete. “I thought it would be pretty cool to follow in their footsteps,” he said.

2013 recap: Alderete came close to winning his first state title but finished second in the 3,200 meters by 16 seconds in 9 minutes 44.96 seconds. He also placed fifth in both the 800 and 1,600.

State outlook: He’s planning on running the 800 and the 3,200 relay. He also thinks he will do the 1,600 or 3,200, in which he has the third-best time in the division. Alderete made it clear he wants to not only win a championship, but also set some school and Division IV records along the way.

Winning would mean …: “I’ve been striving for that since freshman year. I’ve worked four years and given blood, sweat and tears for this. It would just mean everything to me.”

Best career memory: Alderete will always cherish the four years he had with his teammates. “It’s like a family,” he said.

Coach’s take: “I get compliments all the time from other coaches, not about Zach’s running, which is great, but about his character and the way he is. He is one of the most conscientious kids I’ve met in a long time.” — Bentley

Miranda Jackson

Why she picked track: When Bentley approached her as a freshman about joining the team, she was hesitant. “I told him, ‘I hate running.’ So he’s like, ‘throw.’ ”

2013 recap: Jackson captured her first state title when she had a toss of 32 feet 8» inches to win the shot put.

She was also the state runner-up in the discus.

State outlook: Heading into Friday’s meet, Miranda had the top mark for discus in the division and the fifth-best mark in the shot put. She said winning both events would be the perfect way to end her senior season and career.

Winning would mean …: “That would be awesome. I just want to go out and do my best.”

Best career memory: Jackson recalled talking with longtime coach Al Buhl before throwing at state last year. Buhl died of cancer in November.

“Coach Buhl made a big impact on me,” she said. “I remember when we were in the tent waiting at state, and we just sat around watching the sky, and he just talked to me. I think that was my favorite.”

Coach’s take: “She is quietly competitive. She’s very quiet and meek. She just wants to crush it.” — Bentley

Results from Friday’s Mario Castro Invitational, B7

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