At the start of the season, Tony Ahr's goal was to break 4:25 in the 1,600 meters.
By the middle of the season, he dropped that time to 4:20.
On Friday, the senior from Burroughs High set a school record of 4:14.80 to finish fourth in a qualifying heat of the state track and field championships and advance to today's final at Hughes Stadium.
Ahr's time before a crowd of 6,731 broke the record of 4:15.21 set by Brian Anderson last year and bettered his previous best of 4:16.05 set in finishing third in the Southern Section Division II final on May 19.
"I was just hoping to qualify [for the final]," Ahr said. "I figured if I broke the school record in the process, that was just icing on the cake."
Ahr, who began the season with a career best of 4:31, was in ninth place after the first 800 meters of his heat, but he moved into third with a 63.5-second third lap.
He fell back to fifth with 200 meters left but moved into fourth around the final turn and held that position. His last lap of 61.5 gave him an impressive final 800 of 2:05.0.
Porchea Carroll of Rio Mesa struggled by her standards during the first two months of the season, but she performed well for the fourth consecutive meet Friday.
Carroll, runner-up in the 100 in the state championships last year, advanced to the final of that event by winning her heat in a wind-aided 11.69, the third-fastest time of the day.
The Arizona State-bound senior also advanced to the finals of the long jump and 400 relay.
Carroll qualified seventh in the long jump with a season-best 18-9 1/2 and she ran the first leg on the Spartans' 400 relay that finished third in its heat in 47.42.
It is the third year in a row Carroll has advanced to the finals of the 100 and long jump.
Senior Chris Wells-Anders of El Camino Real advanced to the final of the boys' 800 for the second year in a row, but last year's runner-up might have wasted valuable energy with an impressive sprint over the final 100 meters.
The burst of speed gave Wells-Anders an easy victory and the second-fastest qualifying time at 1:52.93, but he could have run a second and half slower and still won his heat.
Senior Jamil Smith of Palmdale, defending state champion in the boys' triple jump, spoke earlier in the week of breaking the national scholastic record of 52-10 1/2 set by Charles Mayfield of Muir in 1980. But he almost failed to qualify for the nine-person final.
Smith, who set a region record of 50-10 3/4 in winning the Southern Section Division I title, was in 10th place after two of three rounds before bounding a wind-aided 49-0 to finish second.