MESA — Syon Cordova wore a long face after his final triple jump, but Maricopa coach Corey Nelson was more than satisfied with his lanky senior's effort.
"I thought he jumped well and competed well," Nelson said on Saturday after Cordova's 43-foot, 3-inch triple-jump effort was good for eighth place in Division I at the AIA State Track and Field Championships at Mesa Community College. "Considering that he competed in two events at about the same time against the best in the state, I was pleased with his effort."
The Rams' 4x100 relay team of Caleb Garcia, Bobby Coleman, Cordova and Kyree Washington-McCarty finished 13th in 43.44 and did not qualify for the finals on a warm, windy day. However, in a tightly bunched field the Rams missed out on qualifying by just over one-half second.
The Division 1 boys' triple jump was one of the earlier events on the first of two Saturdays of the state meet as the AIA decided to extend the event to a second Saturday. It didn't end until three hours after it started because several competitors had to take their early jumps and then hustle to the 4x100 relay, including Cordova and Washington-McCarty.
Thus, they had to return after the relay to complete their jumps that determined whether they made the finals. Cordova's effort, four inches shy of his personal-best 43-7, vaulted him into the finals. Washington-McCarty's 41-5.75 left him on the outside looking in, but undaunted.
"We were stretched out a bit having to do two events and I could have done better," said Washington-McCarty, who finished 13th. "Next year, I will be back and definitely better."
Cordova, who couldn't equal or surpass his qualifying jump in the finals, was disappointed.
"I'm happy I made the finals but felt I could have done better," the 5-foot-11 senior said. "I thought we did OK in the relay but Bobby and I could have done better with our handoff."
Nelson took the long view as he looked back on Cordova's career. He coached Cordova for all four years at Maricopa. He remembers when Cordova came to him as a raw, untested freshman.
"At Maricopa, we try out athletes at multiple events," Nelson said. "Syon started out as a hurdler and then tried the 400 and 200 until he found himself as a jumper. I am pleased with the progress he showed throughout his career.
"Look, he wasn't just competing as a triple jumper but on a relay team against the best in the state. It's tough enough to do one event well but he had to do two at once. I am pleased with how he competed and Kyree as well. The effort was there."
The triple was won by Queen Creek's Payton Barlow who triple-jumped 46-2. Cordova was 1.25 inches behind seventh-place finisher DaSean Jaiman of Basha.