Monthly Archives: June 2012

high schools

Ky Westbrook stands out at Sprint Showcase

by Jason Stone

Even though school has been out for nearly a month, Chandler High sprinter Ky Westbrook still considered herself a sophomore until the final track meet.
“Finally, I am a junior,” a smiling Westbrook said moments after winning the 200 meters at Saturday’s Arizona Sprint Showcase. “Now it’s time to relax for a couple of weeks.”
The season’s end wasn’t all that pleased Westbrook. She turned out to be the only dual winner in a meet featuring the top sprinters from Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, California and Colorado.
Westbrook also won the girls 100. But across the board the 106 degree heat and the end of a long season kept times mostly down.
That wasn’t the case for Brophy Prep hurdler Robert Grant, who turned in a personal best to win the 300-meter hurdles. Grant has been learning from the best the last two years as a teammate of state record-holder Devon Allen.
With Allen sitting out the 300 after winning the 110 event earlier in the evening, Grant was able to win in 37.95 seconds, the first time he cracked 38 seconds.
“I’ve been trying to do that all year,” Grant said. “It’s been great training with Devon everyday. He’s a great example.”
Allen also ran the 100 and 200, which turned out to be the most competitive of the night. In the 100, the top three runners were separated by only six-hundredths of a second.
Khalfani Muhammad of Sherman Oaks, Calif., eked out Tremayne Acy of Desoto, Texas, and Allen with a time of 10.56.
Acy returned the favor by nipping Muhammad by two-tenths of a second in the 200 with Allen 12-hundredths of a second behind in third.
The other boys winner was Bryan Nunez of Cardinal-Newman (Calif.), who won the 400 by almost a second over Mesa Dobson’s Kyle Elliott.
On the girls side, the host school won three of the five events. In addition to Westbrook’s performance, Sherelle Jordan won the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.28 seconds.
Pinnacle’s Tatum Wagner won the 400 with a personal best time of 58.99 seconds.
Jackie Modesett of Houston also turned in a personal best with a time of 43.11 seconds in the 300 hurdles.
“It is a different heat than Texas, so it was tough to breathe,” Modesett said. “But it was a great way to end the season.

Published at azcentral.com • Jun. 23, 2012

high schools

Mesquite’s Jeffries is SE Valley’s top player

by Jason Stone

Baseball players growing beards during hitting streaks is about as old as the game.
But even former Gilbert Mesquite High standout Garrett Jeffries acknowledges that the last one he tried to grow was taking the joke a little too far.
“It got a little gross and disgusting,” Jeffries said about the last big hitting streak of his high school career, which meant about four or five weeks of scraggly facial hair. “But my girlfriend didn’t care, so that’s OK.”
Count Mesquite supporters among those who didn’t give a lick, either. They probably wouldn’t have minded if Jeffries was set to become a future member of ZZ Top with the way he hit during his high school career.
The Republic’s Southeast Valley Player of the Year, who led Mesquite to the Division I semifinals last month, is now ready to take his beard-growing skills, and talented bat and arm, to Grand Canyon University.
The 5-foot-11-inch left-handed outfielder and pitcher is among the prize recruits for Grand Canyon second-year coach Andy Stankiewicz, a former Major Leaguer who signed Jeffries early last November in his first recruiting class.
Jeffries said he chose GCU because Stankiewicz was going to allow him to hit and pitch.
“And he seems like a nice, genuine guy,” Jeffries said about the seven-year Major League veteran, whose career included a stop with the Diamondbacks in their inaugural season in 1998.
What Jeffries will give the Antelopes is what Mesquite coach Jeff Holland calls one of the most unique players he’s ever coached.
“I’ve never had a player like him,” Holland said. “I wouldn’t say he’s arrogant, but he’s definitely very confident. And he’s a student of the game always.”
Jeffries’ consistency at the plate at Mesquite was unparalleled during his four years on varsity.
His batting averages his final three years were .454, .509 and .495. He set the school career record in batting average and RBIs, having collected at least 35 each of his final three seasons.
At Grand Canyon, Jeffries wants to become just as consistent on the mound. The pitcher throws mostly fastballs and says he wants to work on a curveball and change-up in college to set himself up to play at the next level.
Jeffries says he’s confident he can become a quality college pitcher after overachieving his whole baseball career.
“I have to work extra hard since I’m undersized,” Jeffries said. “But that’s OK because I like working harder than other people.”
Jeffries’ scrappy play has some baseball observers comparing him to former Arizona State University and current Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
“He’s every coach’s dream,” Holland said. “He just has great character on and off the field. My two (teenage) boys look up to him, and there isn’t a better one to look up to.”

Published at azcentral.com • June 7, 2012