Amy Showers set personal records in both hurdles events to sweep rival Kayla Peck of Chino Valley, who placed in the top three at state last year.
During the past three seasons, athletes have come and gone. Most of them don't make it through the year. Others don't return.
While Showers was contemplating her future, the middle school program had caught fire. She'd seen that group for five years, and knew it would be worth her while to stick around.
It's a good thing she did. In just a two-week span she's seen the future of track at CVHS, and it's bright.
Camp Verde showcased its talent before all but one region opponent Wednesday at Chino Valley. Amy Showers, Alfonso Pesquiera and Matt Showers each took first, followed by some impressive outings from the younger crew. As an added bonus, their performances were good enough to prequalify for the state meet in their respective events.
"I think we turned some heads and surprised some people. This is the hardest-working team I've ever had, and I think it showed today [Wednesday]," coach Showers said.
Amy Showers bested long-time rival Kayla Peck in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles. The battle with the Chino runner, which started three years ago, has been back and forth. Peck was the winner at the previous meet at Phoenix Christian, while Showers was fourth.
In the 100 hurdles, Showers turned in the best time of her career— 16.1 seconds. Peck, last year's runner-up at state, was off by a split-second.
"It's her best time ever. We had her hand clocked at 15.8. She's never been in the 15s," coach Showers said.
Amy Showers returned for the nightcap race in the 300, which was not as close. She beat Peck by more than a second with a time of 48.1, also a personal record.
Ashley Petefish, running the distance hurdles for the first time, was third with a 52 flat.
Pesquiera, a first-year runner, blazed his way to a second-place showing in the 100 dash. His time of 11.6 was one-tenth of a second off the winner. Pesquiera also ran in the 200, and although those results weren't available by deadline, he was first in the fast heat with an unofficial time of 22.9.
Ernesto Sierras had a solid day in the distance events. He was third in both the 1,600 and 3,200.
The girls relay teams were also impressive. The 4x100 with Petefish, Rainey Walker, Sherry Dutton and Amy Showers was second behind 4A Sinagua with a time of 56.4. Petefish, Walker and Dutton are all freshmen.
The 4x400-relay team won with each girl putting up PR times in their splits. Jessica Reagan, in her first time on the relay, ran a 75, Petefish turned in a 67.5, Dutton was at 67 and Showers, who took the lead down the stretch, ran a 63.3.
"They ran great all night," coach Showers said of her relay teams. "We had a lot of career times."
Matt Showers, the freshman leaping specialist, easily won the high jump at 6-2.
With three athletes prequalifying for state, Camp Verde has already surpassed last year's total, and the regional meet is still on tap. That should remove some stress for the attendees at regionals.
For Amy Showers, an early bid made all the difference last year when she went down with an injury. She wasn't ready to go at regionals, but she still competed at state because of the automatic pass.
"It takes a little pressure off at regionals, especially because only the top three go. If there ends up being three or four good runners, someone might not have a good day and end up fourth and not make it. Prequalifying helps remove some of the tension," Showers said. "In Amy's case, it was the difference of her competing at state."
Although team results weren't available by deadline, Camp Verde did prove it could handle its own against Sedona and Chino, the big dogs of the region. Both schools have been dominant the past four years, swapping region titles on the girls and boys side.
Camp Verde doesn't have the numbers to compete, but it does have a chance to snatch some of the top points in a few events, possibly upsetting one of those team's shots at the championship.