Mingus girls take top team honors in Buckeye Invitational

Senior Justine Taylor remained undefeated this year at 400 meters winning the one-lap race in 61.31 seconds to win by more than 3 seconds. VVN/Jon Pelletier

Senior Justine Taylor remained undefeated this year at 400 meters winning the one-lap race in 61.31 seconds to win by more than 3 seconds. VVN/Jon Pelletier

BUCKEYE, Az. - Individual wins by Megan Goettl, Justine Taylor and Heather Calandra powered the Mingus Union girls track team to top honors in Saturday's Buckeye Invitational.

The Mingus girls scored 72.5 points to claim the team title in the meet that attracted 20-plus schools. On the boys side, the Marauders finished 7th overall.

Goettl, a sophomore, led the charge for Mingus, winning both the 800- and 1600-meter runs. Goettl toured the 800 in 2:30.45 and won the 4-lapper in 5:29.88.

Taylor, a senior, remained undefeated this year at 400 meters winning the one-lap race in 61.31 seconds to win by more than 3 seconds.

Calandra was also a big point-getter for Mingus, winning the shot put by nearly 7-feet with a toss of 39-feet, 3-inches. Calandra also was 2nd in the discus with a throw of 108-feet, 4-inches.

A pleasant surprise for Mingus so far this season is freshman Rachel Valentine, who continues to knock on the door of a state-qualifying time at 3200 meters. At Buckeye, Valentine notched her second PR in as many weeks with a 12:33.24 clocking to finish second overall. Another freshman, Brianna Epperson, finished 6th in the 300-meter hurdles with a PR clocking of 52.43 seconds. Earlier in the day, Epperson also earned a personal record at 200 meters with a 29.43-second clocking.

Sophomore Allison Whitworth was also solid for Mingus, finishing 5th in the high jump (4-10) and 7th in the pole vault (7-feet).

On the boys side, Senior Ryan Talbot remained unbeaten at 400 meters, winning his specialty in 50.17, while senior Dakota Hanks was 4th in the same race in 52.78 seconds.

Junior Jordan Bramblett finished third in the boys 1600-meters with a 4:40.21 clocking in a race won by Sedona senior Travis Okie in 4:35.44. Bramblett came back later in the day in what turned out to be the showcase event of the meet, the 3200-meter run. Bramblett finished second in that race to Page's Xiaija Schuldies, as both runners were clocked in 10:18, with Bramblett a scant 17-hundredths of a second behind the winner.

"Overall, I thought the team did well," said Mingus Coach Yancey DeVore. "I saw a lot of positive things from younger athletes who could fill some key roles.  Our experienced athletes preformed well.  It was a good early season meet for us.  However, we need to continue to work hard in practice to in order to achieve our goals."  

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