WILLCOX — “This could be as good as my second year when 70-percent qualified for state,” fifth-year head track Craig Hamilton said. “We have the talent for it and bigger numbers.”

Hamilton is referring to the athlete turnout so far this spring for the boys’ and girls’ track squads.

“Our girl’s relays should be real good,” the coach gushed after having too few athletes to form the four-person relay squads last year. “The numbers are good. I’m happy with 12 seniors that will provide leadership and should make the team more cohesive, while a large number of freshmen bodes well for our future.”

He anticipates seven freshmen coming out for the team. Hamilton is also pleased to see two outstanding cross country competitors, freshman Maylee Thompson and sophomore Triso Trujillo, run long-distance track this spring.

While he returns just one state competitor from last year with senior triple jumper Kayleen Jensen, Hamilton is lauding the return of long distance state qualifiers Alma and Ana Barajas back to the program after a one-year injury hiatus.

On the boys’ side, “Rey Martinez, a sprinter, and Jonathan Garcia, a thrower, both have good experience. Brayan Hernandez and Adrian Miraflores are seniors with distance running experience. Bridger Sanborn will be a good experienced thrower and possible hurdler. Another strong athlete, Kelby Flowers, is expected to come from wrestling,” the coach said.

“Nate Clement, a junior will help us in distance running. Heber Miller is a senior thrower. Alex Mills, as a sophomore sprinter, could have a breakout year,” he said.

Plus, the girls’ side should see help from returning senior thrower Ashley Riggs plus the addition of Rebecca Collins and Laura Dunham.

Hamilton also has a helpful staff. “Coaches Mike Rand, Katrina Garza and Stuart Carter will be instrumental in the progress of our athletes,” he said.

The season starts March 7 in Douglas.

“I think we’ll be more competitive in meets and really believe we’ll have a good percentage that will qualify for state,” Hamilton said. I think we’ll be well represented at state meet.”

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