Many eyes will be on Newell when she takes the track Friday and Saturday in Las Vegas.
“I expect her to win all three,” Reed track and field coach Dale Moss said. “She can’t go in there thinking it’s going to be automatic for her. She’s been talking about how nervous she is for Friday and Saturday, which I call a good thing because she’s going in a little more scared. People when they do that, they run a little bit faster.”
On the first day of the championships, Newell has a chance to rack up two state championships, in the 400 meters at 6:45 p.m. and in the 200 meters at 8 p.m.
Newell is also part of the 4x200m relay team that enters state with the second fast seed time. However, that would require Newell to run three races Friday with the relay scheduled to start at 5:10 p.m.
Newell will compete in the 100 meters Saturday at 9:45 a.m. She will need to hold off Canyon Springs senior Courtney Robinson and Centennial senior Tamera Williams. Newell beat Williams in the 100m by .02 seconds last spring and Williams will also be her main rival in the 200m.
Moss has been more cautious with Newell this season. After winning the 100m last year at state, Newell’s leg gave out on the final leg of the 4x400m relay. She still managed to stumble across the finish line in first, but she wasn’t the same runner on Saturday.
Moss had Newell do some personal training and physical therapy in order to avoid the same issue as last year. He also wanted to learn how to prevent the injury with other athletes.
Moss said he expects his two shot putters to perform well. Brent Kelly had the best mark in Nevada during the regular season, but last weekend at the regional finals, fellow senior Austin Corbett almost reached the 55-foot mark and has the top seeding throw. Liberty’s Reno Tuufuli is right in the mix, also clearing 54 feet.
Freshman Yasmin Thigpen could also be a surprise. She has the fourth fastest seed time in the 100m hurdles and the sixth fastest seed time in the 300m hurdles.
“She’s come along quite well since the beginning of the season and we've been watching her grow,” Moss said. “The sky is limit with her because she’s just so young that she doesn’t understand the situation she’s in yet. When she does, she’s going to be phenomenal.”
Spanish Springs only has two athletes headed to state.
Cougars senior Katie Peters has the sixth fastest seed time in the 1600m, but is not expected to threaten for the top spot as her seed time is 21 seconds slower than Centennial’s Sydney Badger.
Teammate Shamir Geisinger qualified in the boys 200-meter dash but has the slowest seed time.
Because of the alignment in the D-IA this year, it was harder for Sparks athletes to qualify for the state track meet.
Still, the Railroaders will be represented at this weekend’s championships at Silverado High School in Las Vegas. It will just be only one athlete though.
D.J. Devine secured the last berth for the boys 110-meter hurdles by taking fourth at the regional meet. The top four finishers in each event from the North and the South qualify for state.