High school runners will be trying to break the tape first in many events during this week's Willie Williams Classic.


It's time to start talking playoffs.

Believe it or not, the first postseason action of the spring sports season gets under way Friday when the tennis state tournament starts in the Phoenix area.

That's just the start to the excitement this week. Also on tap is the Sabino Mid-Week Invitational in track and field and the 12-team Warrior Invitational in boys volleyball at Pueblo.

Here's a look at the three events.


• Track and field: Sabino will host a six-team meet to help teams start preparing for the postseason.

Competing in the Sabino Mid-Week Invitational are Sabino, Cienega, Empire, Flowing Wells, Mountain View and Palo Verde. Field events start at 2:30 p.m. with the girls pole vault. Track events start at 3:30 p.m., with the 3,200-meter relay.

Since there are at least five teams, the invitational will serve as a state qualifying meet, adding some drama to the event. Admission is $4.


• Tennis: Fans will get their first look at the new setup for the tennis state tournament this week. As with cross country and golf in the fall, athletes will have more competition chasing a state championship, being placed in divisions rather than classes.

The Division I and II state tournament open Friday.

The Division I boys' first two rounds are Friday and Saturday at Indian School Park in Phoenix. The Division I girls will compete at the Gene Autry Tennis Center in Mesa, while the Division II boys will play at the Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale and the Division II girls at Phoenix Tennis Center.

The Division III state tournament doesn't start until April 29.

Southern Arizona schools in Division I are Sierra Vista Buena, Desert View, Rincon/University, Salpointe Catholic, Sunnyside and Tucson High.

In Division II are Amphitheater, Canyon del Oro, Catalina Foothills, Cholla, Flowing Wells, Ironwood Ridge, Marana, Mountain View, Nogales, Palo Verde, Pueblo, Sahuarita and Sahuaro.


• Boys volleyball: Pueblo will host the Warrior Invitational, its second big tournament after running the TUSD Invitational earlier this season.

The 12-team field: Amphitheater, Canyon del Oro, Catalina Foothills, Cholla, Cienega, Desert View, Palo Verde, Pueblo, Sabino, Sahuaro, Sunnyside and Tucson High.

Tucson High is No. 2 in the Class 5A power rankings with an 8-4 nontournament mark. No. 5 Foothills is the highest-ranked 4A team in the tournament, with a 7-2 mark. Sabino is right behind at No. 6, followed by No. 8 Sahuaro and No. 9 Cholla.

The two-day tournament starts Friday and will wrap up Saturday afternoon.