Fri, Feb. 28

What to do with Meg? Mingus’ Babcock qualifies for state track meet in six events

Mingus senior Meg Babcock qualified for State in six events. VVN/James Kelley

Mingus senior Meg Babcock qualified for State in six events. VVN/James Kelley

Wednesday, Mingus Union Head Track and Field Coach Molly Westcott announced that she had made her athlete declarations for the May 3-4 state championship meet.

“With the exception of Meg,” she quickly added.

The decision on what to do with senior Meg Babcock will be made sometime Friday, before 5 p.m. It’s as difficult a decision for Coach Westcott as it is for the senior Mingus athlete.

See, Babcock has qualified for the state meet in five individual events, and she anchors the Marauder 4X400 relay team that, at least on paper, is the class of the field this year in Arizona’s Division 3.

At Tuesday’s “Last Chance” meet in Sedona, for example, Babcock proved herself as the finest long sprinter in MUHS history with a pair of Mingus school records in the 200- and 400-meter dash events. Already the defending state champion in the 400, Babcock clocked in Tuesday in a scintillating 57.06 seconds to eclipse the Mingus standard set by Kendra Barron 22 years ago by 11-hundredths of a second. Babcock came back an hour later to break another record previously set by Barron in 1996, this time shaving 25-hundreds of a second off the prior mark with a 25.72-second clocking.

Babcock sits atop Arizona’s D3 rankings in both events -- and she’s ranked fourth in the 100 meters – making a sprint triple an appealing option for her final state track meet. Toss in the Mingus 4X400 relay, which has the fastest D3 time in the state at 4:07, and Babcock has a shot of claiming four gold medals at this year’s state track championships.

Despite that, Babcock is best known in Arizona as a middle-distance threat. She is the fastest 800-meter runner in Mingus history and has also qualified for state in the 1600 meters, despite only running the distance once this season in a winning effort last weekend at the Bradshaw Mountain Invitational.

It’s unlikely she’ll toe the line in the 1600 this year, but the 800 has always been her specialty race and an event to which she has made the state podium both her sophomore and junior years.

For Babcock, this biggest obstacle in climbing to the top spot in the 800 comes from Rio Rico senior Samantha Schadler, who is the three-time defending state champion in the event and has a faster time this year than Babcock (2:12 to 2:15). Another big threat is Coconino High School senior Woodlyn Smith, who narrowly edged Babcock at last year’s state meet for the runner-up spot and this year has a best time of 2:18.

The decision on which events Babcock will run at state this year will be made by 5 p.m. Friday.

State bound for Mingus

Babcock is one of 11 girls who will compete in the May 3-4 state championships.

Returning to the state meet for the second consecutive year is sophomore double-sprint threat Natalee Rogers. Rogers will compete in both the 100-and 200-meter dash events at state this year, just as she did a year ago as a freshman. Her best times this year, 12.96 in the 100 and 26.82 in the 200, make her a medal contender in both events.

Rogers will team with Babcock and a pair of freshman athletes, Brooke Peterson and Cassidy Vergara, in the 4X400 relay, where Mingus sits atop the state rankings with a time of 4-minutes, 7-seconds, which is six seconds better than the No. 2 team in the Division 3 rankings, Prescott High School.

Peterson also will compete in the open 400, where her best time of 61.24 seconds is the No. 8 time in D3 this year.

Senior Lindsey Jones will compete in both the shot put and discus this year at state. She has best throws this year of 31-feet, 9-inches in the shot put and 97-feet, 7-inches in the discus.

Junior Joelle Santiago is a medal threat for Mingus this year in the pole vault, where her best jump of 9-feet, 7-inches ranks 5th in Division 3. Santiago will be joined by freshman Alexandra Carey, who has a best jump of 8-3.

Two freshmen, Carey (32-7) and Vergara (31-3.75), both qualified for state in the triple jump, and are ranked 10th and 25th.

Mingus 4X800 relay team will return to the state meet this year with two freshmen, a sophomore and junior. The quartet of Aubrey and Claire Peterson, Sadie Backus and Josey Valenzuela is ranked 16th in the state with a best time of 10-minutes, 42 seconds.

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