Few leads safe entering boys, girls finals

The Sunset and Sunrise regional track finals really will be four meets in one. Boys and girls meets in both regions will be decided Friday at Del Sol.

The two Sunset leaders — Palo Verde’s boys and Centennial’s girls — enter the finals with commanding leads. Competition begins at 3 p.m.

Palo Verde holds a 68-49 lead over Centennial. Cheyenne is third with 41½ points, but has the best chance to overcome the

Panthers, largely because of sprinter Marcus Sullivan. He is the top qualifier in the 200 and 400 meters.

Centennial’s girls are likely to coast. They have 82 points, well ahead of their nearest threat, Palo Verde, with 38.

Western has only three points but could gain as many as 100 from the sprints, the 800 and the relays.

Both Sunrise competitions are likely to be closer.

Green Valley’s boys have 71 points for a healthy lead over Canyon Springs (44), Chaparral (37) and Silverado (33), but the Gators’ strongest events are behind them.

Chaparral has the best chance of leapfrogging Green Valley. Joeal Hotchkins, who won the long jump, will be one of the favorites to win the 100 and 200.

The 200 has a chance to be a thriller, matching the talents of Hotchkins, Valley’s Garic Wharton and Liberty’s Shaun Murray. Wharton has the nation’s fifth-fastest high school time (21.31), according to

Green Valley’s best opportunity to add to its point total will be in the 800 and 1,600, led by Julius Kim, who won the 3,200 last week.

The Sunrise girls championship is the closest of all after eight events, with Foothill (43) leading Coronado (41½).

Coronado is led by Michaelanne Laurent, who is favored to win the 800 and 1,600. Foothill is banking on Denicia Rush in the 100 and 200 and Leah Leedy in the 800 and 1,600.

In all of the running events, only the top two finishers in the Sunrise and Sunset finals are guaranteed a trip to state, with the fastest third-place time from the two regions getting the fifth spot.

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