Turner Washington Explodes For Monster Throws At Willie Williams Classic



A Canyon del Oro unit of (L-R) Daniel Gajda, Matthew Busack, Caden Bellavia and Jahman Cole teamed to win the 4x400 relay at the Willie Williams Classic.

A Canyon del Oro unit of (L-R) Daniel Gajda, Matthew Busack, Caden Bellavia and Jahman Cole teamed to win the 4×400 relay at the Willie Williams Classic.

By Jessie Vanderson


TUCSON – Turner Washington is once again looking like Hercules. The strong boy at Oro Valley’s Canyon del Oro High School, who suffered a bad two days at the Division II state championship meet last year, shocked the field and the crowded when he won the boys’ shot put competition at the Willie Williams Track and Field Classic Friday afternoon at the University of Arizona’s Roy P. Drachman Stadium with a personal record toss of 62 feet, 8.25 inches. “I have been training all year,” said Washington, who has signed to compete as a thrower for the University of Arizona next year. “Normally I don’t put in a lot of time focusing on the shot put, but I have been practicing the shot put a lot more often.” That titan mark was just the appetizer for the powerfully built young man. Roughly 24 hours later, he unleashed a throw in the discus competition Saturday afternoon that flew out into the zone a personal record 211-1, falling just short of Arizona’s all boys’ state record in the event of 212-11. “Just like today, I am going to keep shooting after that state record,” said Washington. “I hit my 211 throw on my first throw in the prelims. I kept missing after that.” Last year, Washington ran into trouble in the shot put and the discus at the Div. II state championship meet, Washington entered the discus competition nationally ranked, having posted several throws of over 200 feet that spring. “I would like to get the all time state record in the discus this year, and remain No. 1 in the country,” said Washington, who won the 2015 Div. II state championship in the discus. “I am going to the Arcadia (Invitational) this year and I am super pumped for that.” The Dorado standout will be in action this weekend in the discus at the Chandler Invitational at Chandler High School. “I would like to just win because Chandler is one of those big meets,” said Washington. “No one remembers how far you throw there – just did you get the win.” Washington was not the only CDO field event athlete that had an impressive day Saturday at the Willie Williams Classic. Dorado senior Cameron Crandall won the boys’ high jump over second-place finisher (6-0) Malik Whitaker of Chandler Hamilton by eight inches. “I can win state this year,” said Crandall who won the 2014 Div. II state title in the high jump as a freshman. “Last year in the first week of the season I torn all the ligaments in my right ankle. This year I am looking to hit 7-feet by state.” He will get a good taste of some state-meet like competition when he competes in the high jump this weekend a the Chandler Rotary meet. “I feel just great about going to Chandler. I love to compete,” said Crandall. In other boy’s field events action at Willie Williams, Hamilton senior Owen DeSilva won the pole vault, El Paso Bel Air’s Manny Rodriguez the long jump (21-0.75), and Safford High junior Jacob Fox the triple jump (41-5.0). On the track in the boys’ meet, Tucson Flowing Wells’ senior Morgan Risch outkicked down the home stretch Tucson Rincon’s star freshman Derrick Silva on consecutive days to win the 3200-meters (10:00.0) on Friday night and the 1600 (4:28.02) Saturday. Silva posted times of (10:00.2) in the 3200 and (4:28.5) in the 1600. Hamilton junior David Nelson won the 800-meters (1:55.8), Canyon del Oro senior Daniel Gajda the 400-meters (50.7), Hamilton sophomore Karsen Burke the 110-meter high hurdles (15.2), Hamilton junior Malik Chandler the 300-hurdles (40.5), Tucson High senior DJ Hinton the 100-meters (10.83) over second-place finisher Demijah Birdsong of El Paso Dorado (10.86), and Vail Empire senior DeErick Smith the 200-meters (22.52). Hinton ran the second leg for a Tucson High quartet that also included Adrian Valenzuela, Nicholas Morales and anchor Tyree Pierson that teamed to win the 4×100 relay in 42.3. In the day’s most thrilling race, Gajda ran down El Dorado’s anchor runner Sebastian Moreno in the home stretch to earn a Canyon del Oro unit that also included Matthew Busack, Caden Bellavia and Jahman Cole a victory and a school record (3:20.9) in the 4×400 relay. El Dorado posting a second-place clocking of (3:21.1). “I just dug down deep and I pushed it,” said Gajda of his sensational stretch sprint. “The old school record was 3:22. I know that we can run faster.”

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