Aric Howard's next two weekends may well determine what kind of season he has.
The Sahuarita senior is hoping to use the Willie Williams Classic at Roy P. Drachman Stadium this weekend as a jump-start to his season before heading up to the prestigious Chandler Rotary Invitational next weekend.
"This will be a big steppingstone for me just to get down and try to get a medal," Howard said.
Strong performances at both meets could be a sign of the possibilities at the Division II state meet in May.
Howard jumped 19 feet 6 inches in the unseeded long jump competition Thursday and will be competing in three more events today.
Here is a look at how Howard has done in his four events and what he wants to accomplish this season:
Personal best: 21 feet 6 inches
Season goal: 23-0
The lowdown: This is Howard's first year in the event. The coaches did not want him jumping in previous years because they thought it would have an effect on his running, but the coaches gave him the opportunity to do it since Howard is a senior and he's putting all his chips on the table.
Personal best: 10.8 seconds
Season goal: 10.7
The lowdown: Sahuarita coach Joe Prince would like to see Howard improve on his start out of the blocks in the 100. With a better start and by staying low he can be running at his fullest potential.
Personal best: 22.5 seconds
Season goal: 21.9
The lowdown: Prince believes that Howard performs the best in this event because he has the ability to make up time if he falls behind early.
Howard said that he has improved on the 200 the most out of any event in his four years with the Mustangs.
Personal best: 43.5 seconds
Season goal: Qualify for state
Lowdown: Howard thinks this is the event he is most likely to receive a medal in this weekend with the help of teammates Sam Mitchell, Bryant Eaves and Geovan Neuser.
Thursday's unseeded winners and a schedule of today's events / B9
If you go
• What: Willie Williams Classic
• Who: 37 high schools, 19 colleges
• When: Today and Saturday, 10 a.m.
• Where: Roy P. Drachman Stadium