KINGMAN – Kael Juelfs knows that earning a high seed for the state tournament doesn’t always guarantee a great finish.
The Lee Williams senior is the No. 4-seed in the shot put at this year’s AIA Division III State Championship, but Juelfs finished 17th at state last season and knows anything can happen Friday and Saturday at Mesa Community College.
“It’s impressive right now, but I’ve been highly ranked in the shot put before,” Juelfs said. “The last two years I went to state in shot put and not really had a great showing. It’s determination for me to actually live up to that rank and do better.”
Juelfs set his personal record in the shot put March 29 at the Ron Smith Classic with a throw of 48 feet, 2.25 inches, but battled a hamstring injury late in the season that forced him to not throw shot put in the Lee Williams Multi and the Route 66 Invite.
“It showed me you just have to patient, follow your technique and good things will happen” Juelfs said.
That’s exactly what happened for Juelfs as he took first in his final three meets to tally nine total first-place finishes in the shot this year.
That doesn’t mean he’s letting that go to his head, as he has to show up against the best in Arizona.
“We’ve been working hard in practice every day to stay in a good rhythm,” Juelfs said. “Practice good technique and get that good throw out there that’s going to improve my best or win state.”
Juelfs will join 21 other Volunteers this weekend at the state tournament with Enzo Marino and Darleen Bland qualified in all four of their events.
“They’ve all worked very hard over the season to get to this point,” said Lee Williams track and field coach Joan Abraham. “They’ve battled injuries and the challenges of being a student and come out on top. They deserve to be where they are – among the best in the state. All of the coaches are excited to see what they can do this weekend.”
Marino earned the No. 9-seed in the 300-meter hurdles, while the junior is No. 11 in the 110 hurdles and joins Aaron Martinez, Kameron Toms and Ethan Knudtson in the 4x100 at No. 12. Marino’s other event is the 4x400 along with Zack Tempert, Cayden Robles and Chris Marcus at No. 12.
Bland will be the No. 12-seed in the 400, No. 19 in the 100 and also qualified in the 4x100 and 4x400. Bland joins Alexis Hecker, Alize Hecker and Meah Wilson in the 4x400 at No. 15, while Bland, Jaeden Samson, Lilly Rapp and Amelia Brackett will compete in 4x100 at No. 16.
Tempert will also compete in the 300 hurdles at No. 11 and in the 110 hurdles at No. 16. Sadie Serrano qualified at No. 19 in the triple jump and No. 20 in the long jump, while Sadie Snay is No. 14 in the shot put and No. 15 in the discus.
Bryce Shuffler (No. 23) and Rapp (No. 25) will compete in the 100 for the Vols, while Toms is the lone freshman qualified in the 100 on the boys side at No. 26.
Drew Cardiff is No. 11 in the high jump, followed by Diego Narvarte at No. 18. Trysta Rucker also qualified in the high jump for the Lady Vols at No. 20. Wilson rounds out the Lee Williams performers at No. 19 in the 800.
Holly Tsosie is the lone Kingman High athlete competing at state and is No. 13 in the 800, No. 17 in the 1,600 and No. 24 in the 3,200.
Division IV Championship
The Kingman Academy High School track and field team will send three athletes to the AIA Division IV State Championship this weekend at Mesa Community College.
Dasia Heidorf is the highest-ranked Academy athlete at No. 12 in the 200 and she’ll compete in the 100 at No. 16. Aspen Jackson also qualified for the Lady Tigers at No. 25 in the discus.
Sam Skankey will represent the Tigers at No. 13 in the 3,200 and No. 21 in the 1,600.