4A STATE: Liberty’s Blake throws for record

RENO — It’s no secret that Ashlie Blake has been gunning to top the 50-foot mark in the shot put all year.

The Liberty sophomore made certain she achieved it Friday.

Blake shattered a state record with a winning throw of 50 feet, 6 inches on the first day of the Class 4A state track and field meet at Damonte Ranch.

“That actually felt good today,” said Blake, who topped the 48-0 record set in 1995. “Practice this week really helped. All the fear came into play here. I was happy to get that first one, so it wasn’t like a fluke. It took the pressure off.”

Blake tossed 50-2 on her first throw and then added onto it for her final mark.

Centennial’s girls jumped into the lead after the first day, stringing together 53 points to second-place McQueen’s 37. Reed (33), Reno (22) and Douglas (19) rounded out the top five.

“I’m happy with where we are,” Centennial coach Roy Sessions said. “We’re actually a couple of points ahead of where I thought we’d be at the end of Day One. And the boys are doing exactly what I hoped they would do. Nick (Hartle) was fantastic today.”

Centennial’s boys finished the first day with 41 points, followed by Canyon Springs (28) and McQueen (22).

The Bulldogs boys got off to fast start by winning the 3,200-meter relay. Sophomore George Espino ran a strong second leg and gave Centennial a lead it didn’t relinquish, finishing in 8:03.79.

Hartle ran away from the field  in the 1,600, winning in 4:18.03, more than 10 seconds ahead of second place. The defending champion blistered a 60-second first lap to pull away from the field.

Less than an hour later, Hartle came back and won the 400 in a personal-best time of 47.79 seconds. Foothill’s James Henderson was second (48.34) and D’Khari Hicks of Faith Lutheran third (48.65).

“I don’t even know what to say,” Hartle said after the 400. “I’m going to try to just stay focused for tomorrow. I really wanted it; I wanted it so bad. I wanted to get as many points as I could for the team.”

Bishop Gorman’s Demetris Morant pulled off an upset in the high jump. The Gaels senior and Green Valley’s Durrell McDonald each cleared 6-10, but Morant won on the tiebreaker with fewer missed attempts. Morant’s personal best previously was recorded at 6-5.

Hug’s Lonnie Jackson won the 110 hurdles in 14.42 seconds. Marques Price of Cimarron-Memorial was second in 14.49, and Reno’s Nicholas Norton finished third in 14.65.

Bonanza’s Jayveon Taylor won the 200 in 21.07 seconds, holding off hard-charging Nahjee Matlock of Palo Verde (21.43). Donnel Pumphrey of Canyon Springs was third at 21.52.

Centennial’s Tamara Williams was beaten in the 100 by top-seeded Adriana Newell of Reed. The Raiders sophomore nipped the defending state champ, 12.05 seconds to 12.07.

The Bulldogs came back and won the 400 relay in 47.70 seconds, ahead of Faith Lutheran (48.28), Damonte Ranch (49.07) and Pahrump Valley (49.62).

Sydney Badger continued Centennial’s success with a convincing win in the 800. The svelte sophomore pulled away from the field midway through the first lap and wasn’t challenged, winning in 2:16.83 over runner-up Haley Harris of McQueen (2:18.03).

The most exciting girls 4A race of the day was the 1,600 relay. Reed sat in fourth entering the final leg, but Adriana Newell, the defending state 400 champion, used a strong finishing kick to bring home the title for the Raiders.

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