Tue, Mar 29 2011 10:19 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
Was it a case of moving to an all-weather surface or simply a case of fleet feet doing the work to produce fast times at last Saturday's (March 19) Sweetwater Coed Relays?
The verdict is out but it was likely a case of both that contributed to a flurry of outstanding times after the meet, normally contested on the dirt track at the National City campus, was moved to the state-of-the-art oval at Otay Ranch High School.
Meet records were set in two long-distance events: the girls distance medley and the boys 4x1,600 relays, both by Otay Ranch.
SuHi track coach and athletic director Tim Latham said the move was at the request of several schools. The consensus was that the switch in venues was a success.
“We got a lot of positive feedback,” Latham said. “We’ll definitely return for the next two or three years to see how that affects the meet.”
Fifteen schools participated, including nine Metro Conference entries. The Olympian Eagles moved up from their second-place finish last year (on the Red Devils’ dirt track) to capture the first place Division II (small schools) trophy this year by a whopping margin. In the Division I (large schools) field, Eastlake edged defending Mesa League dual meet champion Otay Ranch by seven points for early season bragging rights.
The team scores included marks compiled by both boys and girls for each team.
Olympian captured a staggering first-place showing in 15 of the 21 events while also tacking on four second-place marks.
Eagles coach Mike Hulin was left beaming when holding the championship trophy.
“We worked hard all week in practice preparing for this meet,” said Hulin, whose team racked up 194 points to runner-up Castle Park’s 130 points. “Our athletes dedicated themselves to winning this meet.”
In commanding fashion, Olympian swept both the boys and girls 4x100 and 4x400 relays.
The foursome of Charmayne Judkins, Nirelle Davis, Australia Rawlings and Nicole Johnson timed 53.31 in the girls 4x100, while Kristina Brown, Davis, Martha Munoz and Rachel Rainey sped to a finish in 4:16 in the girls 4x400.
The Eagles’ quartet of Ishia Gibson, Adrian Snowden, Harrison Hulin and Segan Penn clocked 44.71 in the boys 4x100, while Andrew Fukushima, Xavier Alvarado, James Woods and Julian Robinson finished in 3:38.84 in the boys 4x400.
Top individual marks were turned in by Davis and Brown, who both cleared 4-10 in the girls high jump to finish second and third, respectively, among Division II contestants.
Meanwhile, Woods turned in the second-best mark in the Division II boys triple jump (39-1.5) while Fukushima was third (35-4.5) in the same event.
Titans top marks
Eastlake, with 130 points, posted four winning marks and seven second-place marks. Otay Ranch, with 123 points, captured seven first-place showings and three runner-up finishes.
Eastlake won the boys 4x100 relay (43.48) and girls 4x400 relay (4:13.27). Jalen Mondane, Darran Hall, Aaron Baltazar and Chris Fletcher (anchor) propelled the boys unit to the section’s fifth-fastest time so far this season while Sarah Garces, Taylar Griffis, Kayla Lawson and Daniela Sullivan made up the girls relay.
Eastlake’s Jordan Hines matched Otay Ranch’s Marquis Roberts for the top mark of 47-0.5 in the Division I boys triple jump while placing second to Roberts in the long jump (21-11). Hines’ best on the season remained a section-leading 47-5.
Hines captured fifth place in the triple jump at last year’s state championships despite competing in only five meets all season. He is looking to add to his 48-2.75 distance last June at the state meet.
“Last year at state, I just went out and did it — I didn’t have any real expectations to place that high against all these guys who were experienced jumpers,” Hines said. “I didn’t have anything to prove and just went out there without any real pressure and I guess that helped me.”
The EHS jumper said he is concentrating more on form this year.
“My goal is to go over 50 feet this year,” he said. “I am working on getting my bounds out more, stretching out my legs.”
Eastlake teammate Travis Gardner finished with the third best mark in the long jump (21-3.5) and fifth in the triple jump (41-4) at the Sweetwater Relays.
Eastlake’s Alex Lopez and Eric Dredla finished second and third in the boys pole vault (both divisions combined) by both clearing 12-6 while Thalia Malachi and Breanna Barksdale both cleared 4-8 in the girls high jump to finished second and third, respectively.
Also for the Titans, Andrea Umali finished with the second best mark in the girls shot put (97-0) while Charmane Strayhorn finished third in the Division I girls long jump (14-6).
Otay Ranch’s meet records came by sizable margins. The quartet of Carina Gillespie (1,200 leg), Kiera Williams (400 leg), Karla Gadea (800 leg) and Catie LeDesma (1,600 leg) posted a winning time of 12:37.14 in thee girls distance medley to shatter the existing record of 13:22.0 (set by La Jolla in 1996).
Gillespie is a returning state meet qualifier in the 800 meters.
The Mustangs’ foursome of Zach Velasquez, Steven Martinez, Gus Tunks and Salvador Salinas (each running 1,600-meter legs) finished the boys 4x1,600 relay in 18:30.34 to eclipse the old standard for the event by 29 seconds (18:59.4 set by San Diego in 1994).
Whether running on the all-weather surface instead of the dirt track at Sweetwater made a difference in fast times or if it was simply a case of fast feet doing the work to produce fast times remains debatable, though it was likely a combination of the two. Regardless, the result was most impressive.
“For this being early in the year, we had some good performances,” ORHS coach Ian Cumming said. “The kids did a great job. Obviously, the two meet records are neat for the team. It shows their hard work is paying off.”
There were more highlights for the talent-rich Mustangs as the foursome of Williams, Ayanna Riley, Brianna Davis and Ka’ayla Jones won the girls 4x100 relay in 50.95 (eighth best in the section). Otay Ranch finished second in the boys 4x400 relay in 3:29.32.
Roberts turned in top marks in winning both the Division I boys long jump (22-2.5) and triple jump (47-0.5). His best on the season remained 47-2 in the triple jump (second in the section to Eastlake’s Hines); Roberts and Hines ranked sixth and seventh, respectively, in the section in the long jump.
Meanwhile, Mustang sophomore Alexander Law just missed setting a school record in the boys pole vault while attempting to clear 13 feet, 7 inches. He did win the event at 13-0. The school record remains 13-6.
Also for Otay Ranch:
Senior Tiffany Smith, who will attend Idaho State, chased setting a new school record in the girls pole vault, finishing at 11-6 to tie the school record. The height moved her into a tie for the section lead.
Otay Ranch’s Jon Bajet recorded the top mark in the Division I boys shot put (45-3.25) while placing second in the discus throw (131-11.5). Bajet entered the Sweetwater Relays with a 153-0 discus mark — second best in the section.
Davis (33-5) finished with the top mark in the Division I girls triple jump while J’Vion Johnson (6-2) finished third in the Division I boys high jump.
Cumming said his team’s goals are to defend its league dual meet title and to see how high the team can place at the ensuing San Diego Section championships.
“We’re optimistic,” he said. “We have Eastlake in the second to the last dual meet of the season, so obviously we have to beat some other teams before we get to them. Eastlake beat us at this meet, so I imagine they’re excited and they deserve to be. We’ll see how things go from here. It should be a good meet when our two teams match up later in the season.”
Mater Dei Catholic finished fifth in the Division II team standings, trailing Olympian, Castle Park, Imperial and Santa Fe Christian.
For the Crusaders, Alexandria Young had the top marks on the day in both the girls triple jump (34-5.5) and high jump (5-0). The triple jump mark moved her up to No. 7 in the section.
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