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Sunset's A.J. Smith wins three events including 100 dash


by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Sunset senior A.J. Smith won three events against Southridge on Thursday including the 100-meter dash. Smith ran a 11.47, good enough for fifth in Metro.

For a guy who hadn’t run a 100-meter dash since his sophomore season, Sunset’s AJ Smith sure looked smooth and unhurried bolting out of the blocks and shooting down the track against Southridge on Thursday.

One of the better 110-meter and 300-meter hurdlers in the state, Smith was curious to see how his time stacked up with the best sprinters in Metro. Smith’s personal best 11.47 shot him to the top five of the district, just two hundreths of a second away from Jesuit’s Joey Alfieri and Chase Morrison, who sit at third and fourth.

Not bad considering Smith said he “wanted to take it easy” with two bigger meets approaching on Friday and Saturday.

“I just went out and raced,” said Smith. “I felt pretty good, setting a PR and all, so hopefully I can just keep improving and getting better in that race.”

Smith won the 110 hurdles (16.07) in addition to the discus (132-01) for the Apollos, who beat the Skyhawks, 89-56. As a junior, Smith waged a healthy rivalry with Jesuit’s Max Dordevic, who won both the 110 and 300 hurdles at the district meet. With both competitors back as seniors, and Smith itching to get atop the medal stand rather than taking second place, that head-to-head matchup will certainly be one to watch as the season unfolds.

“Max is definitely a monster, but I want to respect him and to push myself as hard as possible,” said Smith. “I feel like he pushes me more than I push him. I feel like he kind of looks down on me, so at that point it just gives me an open door to improve, get better and do what I can. I want to lower my times and go as far as I can.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Sunset senior Armin Ghorashian won the 400 dash and took second in the 200 versus Southridge.

A jack-of-all-trades athlete who’s played everything from football to soccer to lacrosse, Sunset sprinter Armin Ghorashian is trying track for the first time as a senior, and succeeding early on.

Ghorashian already has the sixth best 400-meter time in Metro, and he won the event at Southridge with a personal best 53.05 to beat Southridge’s Tyler Bloom.

“A lot of people don’t like the 400, but I just like working hard for a long distance,” said Ghorashian. “I usually go about 90 percent at the beginning, pace myself a little bit and then near the end I just bring it all out.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Sunset junior Mark Sussman took first in the 1,500 to help Sunset beat Southridge on Thursday.

Ghorashian was a close second (23.69) in the 200 to Southridge’s Jeffrey Kan (23.43). And, Ghorashian also ran on the Apollos’ 4x100 and 4x400 relay squads that took second place, respectively.

With another race the next day, Southridge’s Zach Cooper said he didn’t want to go too fast and risk burning himself out in the 800 dash. The junior stuck with Sunset’s Ben Kawaski for the last 400 meters, passed him with about 200 meters to go and sprinted through the tape to finish first (2:02).

“(Kawaski) was pretty fast in the first lap, so I was hurting a little bit toward the end,” said Cooper. “I felt pretty good on the second lap, better than I thought I’d feel.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Southridge junior Zach Cooper overcame a slight deficit in the 800 to race to first place against Sunset.

In the chilly, rainy low 50 degree weather, Cooper was one of the few competitors who had a smile on his face and a bounce in his step as he prepared for the 800.

“Honestly, I love the rain,” said Cooper. “A lot of people don’t like it, but it just feels good on your skin. It gets you going. It doesn’t really help my times, but it just feels nice.”

After a strong cross country season in the fall that increased his endurance, Cooper hopes to break Southridge’s school record in the 800 and possibly compete for a Metro title in the same event.

“I want to keep it close (to the school record), that’s my goal,” said Cooper. “And, hopefully, make it to state if I can.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Southridge senior Riley Temple won the pole vault against Sunset on Thursday by clearing 11-06.

As a senior, Southridge’s Riley Temple said there’s a sense of urgency to do well in all of his events, knowing time’s slowly running out on his high school career. Against Sunset, during the Skyhawks’ second dual meet of Metro, Temple won the pole vault by clearing 11-06, though he’s excited for warmer conditions and extra practice in event to maximize his ability.

“I want to be the best athlete I can be,” said Temple. “I’ve been working hard this year, and hopefully the results show up. “I’m blessed with what I was given. And, I work hard enough to maintain it and make the most of it. I have wonderful coaches and friends that encourage me to do it. I wouldn’t be here without them.”

Sunset’s Mark Sussman (4:22), Charlie Kawasaki (2:05) and Shanmukh Challa (2:05.73) swept the 1,500 for the Apollos. Grant Bingham (9:16), Andy Muha (9:19) and Jakob Tex (9:53) went one, two three in the 3,000. Sunset’s Josh Brown won the shot put (46-08).

Senior Apollo Zech Brooke threw 142-09 for first place in the javelin and Joel Riedl cleared 6 feet in the high jump to take first as well. Riedl also won the triple jump (20-01) and tied for first in the long jump with Alex Stickel (20-01).

Southridge’s Nikko Thomas and Dan Baumgarter took first and second in the 300 hurdles.



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