Great Southwest Lives Up To The Great Part

Luke Williams and Cole Crossnoe provided the closest finish of the 2018 Great Southwest, with .007 between them at the finish line.

When you bring in Tyrese Cooper and Arria Minor, you expect them to dominate the sprint events. And they did. Tyrese Cooper went 3-for-3 on the boys 60, 200, and 400. Arria Minor did the same on the girls side.

As close as it ever got was in the boys 400 when Louisiana's Sean Burrell pushed Cooper through four turns before fading just a little on the finish straight. Otherwise, it was difficult to find a sliver of a doubt.

Records were tough to come by for Cooper and Minor--partly because they're largely chasing their own records and partly because the fields were not ideally deep for going record hunting. But, Minor did a new #2 mark nationally with her 53.80 400. 

Making an enormous name for himself Saturday night was Luke Williams.* I'd love to be able to tell you where he's from, but I'm still working on that question. The meet results show him as affiliated with El Paso Youth, but pretty much every unattached athlete in the meet ended up "affiliated" with El Paso Youth. I'm not sure exactly what, but something definitely went wrong with the entries upload there.

Anyhow, Williams got edged by less than a hundredth of a second in the 60 meter hurdles, but then came back with a monster 17-1 pole vault. If you take Armand Duplantis out of the equation, that puts Williams at #4 nationally. If we leave Duplantis in, Williams remains at a very nice #5.

For the record, R. Cole Crossnoe took the 60 hurdles, though both he and Williams had identical official times of 8.11.

Kenneth Talavera, another victim of an unattached athlete uploading as affiliated with El Paso Youth, ran a blistering 1:54.12 800. That would definitely put him on the national leaderboard--if we knew who he was. There aren't any athletes in the MileSplit database that match that name. Go figure.

Adding to the list of mystery winners is Erick Portillo. Portillo won the high jump at 6-8.

Matias Pellegrino broke whatever was left of the "Southwest" mystique of the meet by winning the long jump out of New Jersey. Pellegrino squeezed 23-3.5 out of the sand. That mark now has him in the top 20 nationally. 

Otherwise, the slate of winners had a very southwestern kind of feel. Colorado took five of six individual distance events, spreading the wealth between Soleil Gaylord, Brock Helvey, Michael Long, Carley Bennett, and Maggie Smith. Mia Manson added a pole vault title, as Manson is become a regular these days as 13 feet and above. Maya Evans added a long jump title. Joy Gerow added a weight throw title.

Arizona got wins from Cierra Tidwell in the high jump and Jai Gruenwald in the triple jump. 

Willy Kimani of Texas claimed the triple jump title, while Corey Moore of Nevada took honors in both the shot put and weight throw.


* - I can now, with about 99% confidence, tell you that Luke Williams is a senior out of Wellington High School in Texas and headed to Texas Tech in the fall.