Buckeye Union High School’s 4-x-100-meter team is headed to the Outdoor Nationals, a track and field high school national championship event at the University of Oregon from June 30 to July 3.
The team not only won the Arizona Division II state championship for the 4-x-100 but had the best time in the entire state, clocking in 41.61 time.
“I’ve been an athlete and a coach for a very long time. They ran what I would say is the perfect race for that group of four guys. Everything came together at the exact perfect time,” said head track coach Patrick Maddux.
The team is sophomore DJ Rhymes, junior Jaelon Richardson and seniors Antonio Johnson and Tim Croskey, the latter of whom will play football at South Dakota State University next year. They were led by Maddux and relay handoffs coach Kenny Storkel.
The leadoff for the 4-x-100 was Johnson, the second leg was run by Richardson, third leg was Rhymes, and Croskey was the anchor for the group.
Coming into a short year, the team wasn’t quite sure of its expectations or capabilities. Its ability to work hard during the season is what separated it from the rest of the pack in the end.
“The short year, with only two months to be able to get that time, is what is just so amazing,” Maddux said. “We put our heads together, and the kids worked hard. Coach (Storkel) handled the handoffs and I took the workouts. It all just came together like it should. The kids just really worked hard.”
The team is proud of what it has accomplished so far, but realizes that it will need to run even better to find success in the national tournament.
The upshot for them is that’s exactly what they’ve been doing all year.
“Almost every other meet they were resetting the school record, which is really neat,” Maddux said.
However, no matter the outcome of the tournament, Maddux, who is a track and field veteran, realizes that just the opportunity to run on Hayward Field at the University of Oregon is something to be cherished.
“If they didn’t run their best time, yeah, they wouldn’t like it, but they’ll never forget being down on that field in that stadium,” Maddux said.