Ahwatukee has become a hotbed of athletic talent in recent years, especially at the high school level.
Desert Vista’s track and field team has long been one of the top programs in the state, while Mountain Pointe has a rich history of producing top athletes and is now back on the rise. The talent pool extends to the senior age groups as well, with the Pacemakers led by Clint “Flash” Santoro producing national champions on an annual basis.
Now Ahwatukee will start to see an influx of young talent thanks to AZ Speed.
“It’s a passion I have,” said Stacey Boyd, founder of AZ Speed. “(I try) just to serve the community and be part of the community and bring everyone together. It’s a great opportunity to give back to the community.
Boyd started AZ Speed as an extension of Field of Speed, his year-round training business that aims to improve youth athletics so they can perform at their best on the field. field and on the track.
Boyd raced track at the junior college level and then at Cal State Long Beach. He is currently an assistant coach at Mountain Pointe and when not coaching athletes, he helps mentor them as principal of Gateway Community College in Phoenix.
Boyd expected his first year at AZ Speed to be a development for his athletes. He wanted them to have fun and prepare to compete at a higher level in the fall. But they exceeded expectations.
Four AZ Speed athletes have qualified for the Regional Junior Olympics in El Paso, Texas July 8-10. One, Aaron Junior, was named an alternate for the 800 and 200 meter races in the 9-10U division after placing fifth at the state level in June.
Boyd realized very quickly the talent he has in his hands, and he is delighted to have the opportunity to show what his club can do at the regional level.
“The idea was just to go out and develop the kids for first grade,” Boyd said. “But it’s amazing to see how far they’ve come in such a short time. It’s pretty awesome.
Boyd’s son, Shayden, is among four athletes preparing for El Paso. Competing in the 9-10U division, Shayden is the highest ranked sprinter in the state for his age group in the 100 and 200 meter dashes.
In a way, he’s hot on his heels after his brother, Stacey Boyd II, who was a standout sprinter for McClintock and won state championships in 2018 in the 100 and 200.
Shayden said he was thrilled to compete on a big stage. He also spends some of his free time playing basketball, but has put that behind him for now as he aims to qualify for the nationals in Sacramento in late July.
“Very excited,” said Shayden, who added that he’s aiming to be even better in El Paso than he was in state competition. “Run faster. I want to try to beat my time, like a 12 (seconds).
Niko Chattic will compete in the boys 8U 800 meter division in El Paso. He’s spent most of the past week training in San Diego with his dad on the beach. He even challenged other children to races, which he won.
Cammy Kellogg will also run the 800 in the women’s 9-10U division. Kellogg comes from a family of athletes. His older brother Kayden will play football, basketball and the running track at Higley in the fall.
In addition to athletics, she also rides horses and plays football.
Horseback riding is his favorite sport at the moment. She said she likes feeling in control with her horse Chino. But she’s excited for what her future holds and can’t wait to compete in El Paso on a big stage. She is also thrilled about a potential reward from her parents.
“It’s very exciting,” Kellogg said. “I want to score higher than my last. I want to stay in the top four. I think if I do well, I can convince my mom to get me a ferret. They are just fun to play with.
Jessie Young, the eldest of the group at 12, initially thought her future would only involve basketball at Leading Edge Academy in Gilbert. But then she started shot put and fell in love.
Boyd said her progress through the field event came as a surprise as she quickly became one of the best in the state in the 13-14U age group for girls. Like her teammates, she is delighted to have the opportunity to participate in the regional championships. However, she knows her competition will be tough.
“I just try to do my best,” Young said. “I threw (9ft) in my last meet so if I can throw a 10 or an 11 it would help me qualify for the next one. It would make me very excited, I would be very happy. My family too.
It’s not just Young who has impressed Boyd this season. All the athletes – including those who did not qualify – showed great improvement in their first season.
Boyd and Malia Austin, records specialist at Mountain Pointe and business manager of AZ Speed, aim to make the club a powerhouse that powers both Ahwatukee high schools for years to come. They both expect the club to grow for the next season, which starts in October.
But for now, the goal is for all four athletes to qualify for the national championships.
“I’m very excited and a very proud coach,” Boyd said. “The cool thing is that they all have the chance to qualify. They are expected to do so.
Those interested in joining AZ Speed or making a tax-deductible donation can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Austin directly at 520-975-2708.