If everything went to plan, Rincon/University standout Grace Driskill would be preparing for the state track and field meet that was to be held four weeks from today, but hardly anything goes according to plan and this spring took that to a different level.
The spring season and state championships have been canceled but the time away from high school allowed Driskill the opportunity to train for the University of Arizona but, still, how often does one get a chance to win a state championship?
Driskill won the D-II 1600 and the 3200 last year while taking third in the 800. She also took second in state D-II cross country meet this past fall. Despite a shortened season this spring, Driskill still managed to earn three automatic berths to the state meet in the 800, 1600 and 3200.
Driskill is one of 14 seniors with qualifying times or marks from Southern Arizona:
SENIORS WITH AUTOMATIC QUALIFIERS: GIRLS
800: Grace Driskill, Rincon/UHS (D2 Auto: 2:23.04) 2:19.26
1600: Grace Driskill, Rincon/UHS (D2 Auto: 5:21.49) 5:02.95
3200: Grace Driskill, Rincon/UHS (D2 Auto: 11:35.69) 10:58.19
1600: Zoey Delgado, Salpointe (D3 Auto: 5:29.28) 5:26.48
3200: Zoey Delgado, Salpointe (D3 Auto: 11:53.68) 11:53.20
SHOT: Valerie Tarango, Santa Cruz (D4 Auto: 30-10) 32-05 PR
DISC: Valerie Tarango, Santa Cruz (D4 Auto: 90-06) 94-0 PR
400: Alyssa Parton, Sabino (D3 Auto: 1:01.28) 59.97 PR
JAVE: Isabel Cordova, Empire (D3 Auto: 102-04) 108-09
HIGH: Dominique Acosta, Nogales (D2 Auto: 5-02) 5-06
POLE: Amanda Nelson, Benson (D4 Auto: 8-0) 8-06
POLE: Lacie Duerinck, Benson (D4 Auto: 8-0) 8-0
SENIORS WITH AUTOMATIC QUALIFIERS: BOYS
1600: Benjamin Thomas, Salpointe (D3 Auto: 4:35.38) 4:35.26 PR
JAVE: Jesse Avina, Buena (D2 Auto: 151-01) 1:57.2 PR
HIGH: Fabian Santa Maria, Salpointe (D3 Auto: 6-02) 6-02
POLE: Reece Gardner, Marana (D2 Auto: 13-0) 13-0
POLE: Alexander Harris, Salpointe (D3 Auto: 12-09) 12-09
POLE: Steven Coleman, Benson (D4 Auto: 11-06) 12-0
We asked Driskill a few questions on her career and this spring:
Q: When did you start running and what other sports did you play:
A: I joined the cross country team in 6th grade and I played Tee-Ball and softball when I was young and I played softball in high school through my sophomore year.
Q: When did you realize you were a good runner?
A: Probably after my sophomore year when I took fourth in cross country at state. I was thinking this was legit.
Q: So, you’ve only been running at a high level for a little over two years but you were able to get an offer from Arizona. Can you tell us about that process?
A: Coach (Hanna) Peterson contacted me after my junior year and I took a visit and I liked everything about it.
Q: What do you want to study?
A: Biology to be a doctor but we’ll see.
Q: You missed your high school spring season. What are your feelings on that?
A: Disappointed because I feel I was getting steady, fit and faster but we can’t do anything about it so this gives me four to five months to practice for cross country.
Q: You will also be missing some of the other things like prom but TUSD said their will be a graduation.
A: That’s all sad also with all the memories to have down the road but I’m only missing a quarter of my high school experience and I’m happy with that. I’m grateful for what I had.
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019. Contact Andy Morales at email@example.com