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Family fuels Taylor's path to third state title
Written by George Werner   
Thursday, 03 April 2014 13:25

To glance over the Mingus Union High School track records from its back-to-back girls team state champions is to group senior Justine Taylor into a large company of record-setting Marauders sprinters.

Senior Justine Taylor trains for a 4x100 relay at Mingus Union High School with her partner, freshman Auli Hanks, on Thursday, March 27. Taylor is defending Division III state champion in the 4x800 relay; her 4x100 relay team finished second at the state championships in May.

But a closer look, especially at her finishes so far this spring, reveal a runner setting her own pace and making her own mark, with five gold medals in six meets and the fastest 400-meter time of all participants — 60 ¼ seconds — in the March 22 morning seeding session of the Chandler Rotary Elite Invitational, which hosted over 100 of the best track schools throughout the Southwest.

“Anytime you’re in a meet like that, it don’t matter what you do in the Elite session,” head track coach Yancey DeVore said. “I’m just impressed by her placing.”

That time was a close brush with her personal best — just a half-second short — in the 400. This followed medal finishes a couple hundredths of a second short of personal bests in the 100- and 200-meters at the Sedona Friendship Games on March 19 and the season-opening Northland Preparatory Academy Skydome Classic on March 4, respectively.

“At the end of the day, I’d like my personal best at the big invites like Chandler and the Sun Angel Classic,” Taylor said. “But it’s always nice to take home golds at the smaller meets.”

Although she also has golds to her credit this spring with the 4x200 and 4x800 relay teams, the Division III state tournament in May will probably mark the final competitive meet for Taylor, who with seniors Monica Soliz and Heather Calandra are the last of the state champions from both MUHS title-winning girls teams the past two seasons.

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, April 2, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.


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