* Paige Sommers won the pole vault on Saturday at the Desert Dream Last Hurrah Invitational
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There was an extreme amount of talent on the track during the Desert Dream Last Hurrah Invitational this weekend in San Tan Valley, Arizona, but let's not forget the field.
Athletes from across the country scored some impressive performances, including a surprising turn in the boys shot put and a fun Arizona-based duel in the girls throwing events.
Check below for our ranking and analysis on the top efforts of the weekend.
4. A Fun Duel Between Two Makaylas
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Arizona was gifted with another talented Makayla in 2020.
And that coincidence made for a good show over the weekend at the Desert Dream Last Hurrah Invitational.
A year ago, Chandler's (AZ) Makayla Hunter, a then-sophomore, made a name for herself in the throwing events in the state, finishing the season ranked first in the javelin (138-7), third in the discus (141-1) and third in the shot put (41-11.5).
And then Gilbert Perry's (AZ) Makayla Long, in the same class as Hunter, came around in 2020.
Interestingly enough, over three days this weekend at Poston Butte High School this duo was battling tooth-and-nail across three events.
Hunter claimed the first matchup on Thursday, posting three throws over 140 feet across her series and a winning throw of 142-2, which was the second best throw of her career and just shy of her national lead of 142-9.
Long, however, made a comeback in the discus on Friday and then sealed another victory in the shot put on Saturday. The Gilbert-area thrower posted winning marks of 149-10 in the discus and 48-feet in the shot put, respectively, jumping into the No. 1 position on Arizona's leaderboard. Both of those marks also now rank US No. 2.
Hunter, meanwhile, wasn't far behind, finishing second in the discus (136-10) and shot put (45-0), the latter of which ranks US No. 10.
Impressively, this concluded Long's first official outdoor track and field season.
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|Makayla Long||Gilbert Perry||136-10 (2nd)||149-3 (1st)||48-3.50 (1st)|
|Makayla Hunter||Chandler||142-2 (1st)||136-10 (2nd)||45-0 (2nd)|
3. A Star Turn In The Long Jump
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Just two girls were entered in the elite section of the long jump on Friday, which, for some, could suck the life out of an event's competition.
But it made little difference for Valor Christian senior Sadie McMullen.
The University of Wyoming recruit thrived when the moment called of it, hitting 18-plus feet on her first three jumps before capturing a wind-legal winning mark of 19-feet (5.79 meters) on her last attempt of the night at the Desert Dream Last Hurrah Invitational.
While it represented her only official mark of the 2020 season, it ended up being a good one.
That performance was her fifth time over 19 feet, and it followed a 2019 season that saw her post a personal best of 19-5.5 at the Colorado State Class 5A Championships, which netted her a state title.
2. Zachary Landa's Strong Throws Double
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Zachary Landa was by no means a surprise to win two throws titles over the weekend at the Desert Dream Last Hurrah Invitational.
After all, he was ranked fourth nationally in the discus and No. 20 in the shot put previous to the weekend.
But he certainly put on a show.
Landa went for broke on his final attempt out of the circle on Friday in the shot put, unleashing a career best and US No. 2 effort of 63 feet, 9 inches (19.43 meters) to capture the shot put title over Aidan Elbettar, a Newport Harbour senior and UCLA recruit who had already thrown over 60 feet this season.
Landa largely had a focus on throwing big that day: That final mark was one of three throws over 62 feet. His other three attemps all fouled out of the sector. Elbettar finished second overall with a mark of 60-1, which he hit on his third attempt.
The pair returned to the circle on Saturday, and once gain Landa turned up.
Despite fouling on his first two attempts, the University of Arizona recruit hit 182-00 on his fourth try, a mark that would turn into the winning throw.
Elbettar, meanwhile, struggled to gain rhythm and precision, only managing a fourth-place mark of 159-0.
Fortunately enough, these two athletes may meet again in the future, as they're headed to competing PAC-12 schools.
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Comparison Shot Put Series
|Zach Landa||Aidan Elbettar|
1. Pole Vault Excellence
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The national record performance we had hoped for fell short on Saturday.
Westlake (CA) junior Paige Sommers struggled figuring out her inversion in the air at 13 feet, 1 inches and 14-feet before closing out with a winning mark of 13 feet, 7 inches.
But it was still an excellent performance.
While it wasn't the 14-8 height or higher she had goal-set for, her winning height of 13-7 would have still finished US No. 2 in the country.
And there's always this: Sommers has a chance to go after the outdoor national record of 14-8 next year.
Interestingly enough, her success wasn't the only high-flying act we witnessed, either.
Two recent graduates from Arizona, La Costa Canyon's (CA) Kyle Brown (2016) and Coronado's (AZ) Keaton Daniel, both skied for big marks at the end of Friday night.
After passing on nine heights, Daniels cleared just one bar all night. And it proved to be the winning one, as he successfully navigated 17-feet on his last attempt before closing out with three misses at 17-6.
Brown, meanwhile, went in on first attempt at 14-6 before hitting at 15-0, 15-6 and 16-0.
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