The temperature for the 2:30 p.m. start of Friday's 5A Regional track meet at Tucson High School was vintage Old Pueblo.
Hovering near 100 degrees with nary a breeze, the heat sent the assembled athletes scurrying for shelter under canopies, trees and water carts.
When the runners, jumpers and throwers finally emerged to build on Wednesday's preliminary performances, Ironwood Ridge shone the brightest.
The Nighthawks earned 5A-II Southern Region titles for both boys and girls, with the men scoring a total of 113 points, 18 points ahead of second-place Rincon, and the women tallying 98 points, 19.5 more than the Rangers.
University of Arizona football recruit Jake Fischer gave the Ironwood Ridge boys 12 points and two first-place finishes, Wednesday in the shotput and Friday in the discus. Fischer was especially dominant in the discus event, notching a distance of 145-4, nearly 14 feet farther than the second-place finisher.
The female throwers also finished authoritatively, with freshman Cami Barbera (on Wednesday) and junior Katie Bradford (on Friday) finishing first and second in the discus and shotput, respectively.
Nighthawk distance runners also garnered high scores.
Junior Steve Magnuson and senior Steve Schaefer finished one-two in the 3,200-meter run, and in the 1,600-meter girls' event, sophomore Sarah Miville, junior Allison Crawford and sophomore Lauren Cooper took the top three spots, earning Ironwood Ridge 13 points.
While the Nighthawks have been traditionally strong in distance events in the past few seasons, this year has brought a positive development to the team, according to junior Jaclyn Zibrat.
"This is the first year we've had a really good sprinter team," said Zibrat. "There's four or five girls going to state already, even before regionals, and five guys."
Zibrat, freshman Abbey Barbera, junior Lauren Laszczak and senior Jacque Povilaitis all placed in the top three of multiple events, and will look to do the same at state.
"We are going to do some really hard workouts, but then give ourselves time to rest right before," said Zibrat. "We are going to stay focused, mainly."
The boys' team relied heavily on success in the relay events to earn points.
Ironwood Ridge's 4x400 meter relay team made up of junior Shane Bostick, senior Chad Foster, sophomore Tyler Grammer and junior Nigel Hesse won a regional title, as did the 4x100 meter team, junior Adrian Brahler, senior Nick Carlson, Foster and Grammer.
The Mountain Lions were without the talents of standout jumper Donovant Grant during regionals, and finished third and fourth in the girls' and boys' competition.
The Lions were able to post some impressive performances.
For the girls' team, juniors Kelsea Jondall and Estefonia Pimenta finished second and third in the shotput, senior Kelsey Williams finished first in the 100-meter hurdles, freshman Kaitlynd Holland finished first in the 800-meter run, and the 4x400 meter relay team of junior Emily Bartz, sophomore Gretchen Bartz, freshman Kelsie Bingham and junior Jordan Davidson took home a regional title.
"We're working as hard as we can," said Mountain View sophomore Delaney Miller, who finished fourth in the long jump and was a part of the second-place 4x100-meter relay team.
Miller, who did not know if she had qualified for state, said she "knows she can do better."
To that end, she has a simple training plan before state.
"Just keeping it up," she said.