Fri, Apr 20 2012 12:22 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
The list of top performers for the 2012 high school track and field season has begun to take shape, with a sizable contingent of Metro Conference student-athletes hovering near the top of the San Diego Section leader board in many events.
The local leaders expect to shake up the ranking order at Saturday’s Mustang/East Hills Realty Relays at Otay Ranch High School.
Field events are scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m. while running events are scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m.
This year’s entry list includes 22 teams in a strong field.
Teams are divided into two divisions (Blue and Silver divisions). The meet features non-standard relay events as well as invitational events.
Popular events on the schedule include the distance medley relay (legs of 1,200, 400, 800 and 1,600 meters), the 1,500-meter invitational (metric mile), 300-meter invitational dash, 300-meter hurdles and 4x100 and 4x400 relays.
The last running event should be completed about 3 p.m.
Otay Ranch, Eastlake, Olympian, Hilltop and Bonita Vista from the Mesa League and Sweetwater and Mar Vista from the South Bay League highlight the local field.
Otay Ranch and Sweetwater are both defending league dual meet champions.
Steele Canyon, Morse and La Jolla also have traditionally entered strong teams in the event. Rounding out this year’s field are Calexico, Poway, Serra and Valhalla (in the Blue Division) and Clairemont, Central Union, Monte Vista, Our Lady of Peace, St. Augustine, Point Loma, The Rock Academy and Mt. Miguel (in the Silver Division).
“The meet promises to have many great competitive events,” said Otay Ranch head cosch Ian Cumming, who serves as meet director.
Head of the pack
The Mustangs remained undefeated in league dual competition this spring after sweeping host Bonita Vista in a high profile encounter on April 12. Otay Ranch captured the boys meet by a score of 81-55 while the Mustangs claimed a 97-39 edge in the girls half of the meet. The match-up produced some dramatic early season finishes.
Bonita Vista’s Caesar Castillo (4:36.15) held back before engineering a torrid final 100-meter sprint to upend Otay Ranch leader Steven Martinez at the finish line in the mile run.
Both senior distance runners qualified for last fall’s high school state championship meet in Fresno. Both look to vie for supremacy this spring on the Metro oval.
Castillo entered the week with the top time in the event among local runners at 4:28.84, followed by Otay Ranch senior Zach Velasquez (4:29.82) and Martinez (4:33.20).
Martinez remains the Metro leader in the boys 3,200 run with a season best time of 9:27.95, followed by BV sophomore Andrew Turpin (9:38.15) and Castillo (9:43.60).
Meanwhile, Otay Ranch junior Carina Gillespie, the defending section champion in the girls 800 run and a two-time state meet qualifier, continues to put on a clinic in both the 800 and 1,600 runs with times usually reserved for postseason competition.
Gillespie easily won both events at the BVHS dual meet. She entered the week ranked No. 1 in the section in the 800 based on her blistering 2:13.60 at the Arcadia Invitational.
Otay Ranch junior Alyssa Chang led local athletes in the girls 100 hurdles with a 15.52 automatic clocking to rank seventh in the section. However, she claimed a wind-aided time of 15.37 to finish first in the event at last Saturday’s Jaguar Invitational at Valley Center High School.
Gillespie also topped morning session runners at last weekend’s Jaguar Invitational, held in extremely blustery conditions, with a 2:19.95 in the 800 run.
Additionally, Martinez turned in the top morning session time of 9:46.36 in the boys 3,200 while Chula Vista senior Michael Molina topped morning session shot putters at 46-5.
Otay Ranch’s Gary Birtwell finished second in the boys discus throw at 147-4 while San Ysidro’s Patrick Chavez finished second in the boys triple jump (42-6.5) and third in the boys long jump (20-5.5).
Also for the Mustangs, Michael Barker was third in the boys 800 run in a league-leading 2:02.35.
Among girls distance runners, Chula Vista senior Mariza Diaz, yet another cross country state meet qualifier, finished second in the 3,200 run in 11:47.48.
Cumming said he is pleased with the progress made thus far by this year’s team.
“We have a little less depth than in previous years, but we have leaders stepping up and meeting the challenge,” Cumming said. “We also have some of our new people improving their performances very quickly to become very competitive at the varsity level. We are off to a good start with victories over Hilltop and Bonita. We still have meets left with Eastlake, Mater Dei and Olympian. Eastlake and Olympian are very strong all-around teams with several very strong competitors. Mater Dei is a little smaller team, but they have several key performers who compete very well.”
Cumming calls the Mustang girls squad — led by Gillespie, Chang, sprinters Tiana Wood and Kiera Williams and vaulter Hannah Moss — “an exciting group (that) will get stronger and stronger as the season moves along.”
“On the boys side, we lost a little more to graduation but our returnees are becoming leaders motivationally and performance-wise very quickly,” the ORHS coach noted. “Being relatively young, our boys are becoming exponentially stronger with each passing week.”
Mark Bjornsson and Mark Giroux lead a small but talented group of hurdlers while Sean Esteban returns as one of the best triple jumpers in the county.
Esteban is joined by Chris Martin and Deion Williams as three of the best jumpers in the Mesa League while Law has already cleared 14 feet or higher in three meets.
More Jaguar Invitational
Eastlake, Sweetwater, Bonita Vista and Castle Park helped produce highlights for Metro teams in the invitational’s afternoon session.
Castle Park senior Chevy King was the undisputed king of the pits by winning both the boys long jump (23-8) and triple jump (45-5.5).
King’s long jump mark was a season best, though wind-aided; he entered the week with a league-best 46-2 in the triple jump (No. 3 in the section).
King ranks second in the section with a non-wind-aided 23-1.5 mark in the long jump.
Metro leader Jordan Mondane of Eastlake timed an afternoon session (and season) best 11.17 in the boys 100-meter dash while Bonita Vista senior Branden Greene won the boys high jump competition at 6-2 (he leads the section at 6-8).
Sweetwater junior Maria Garcia was first in the girls triple jump at 35-1 and second in the girls 100 hurdles in 16.82.
Also for Eastlake, freshman Nicholle Gonzalez was second in the girls 100 dash in 12.93 while senior Korin Chapman was second in the girls pole vault by clearing 11-0.
Eastlake senior Michael Hendricks was second in the boys 300 intermediate hurdles in 40.57 while Titan teammate Jared Kelley was third in the boys 110 high hurdles in 15.66.
Bonita Vista junior Alyssabeth De Jerez was second in both the girls 400 dash (1:01.14) and 300 hurdles (47.58).
In the 400 dash, De Jerez was followed by Eastlake junior Sarah Garces (third, 1:01.63) and BV freshman Pascale Dumesnil (fourth, 1:02.39).
Castle Park senior Manny Salcedo (130-10) and Sweetwater senior Robbie Dela Cruz (127-9) finished second and third, respectively, in the boys discus throw.
South County athletes scored some major prestige points with the top four finishers in both the boys high jump and long jump events.
Sweetwater seniors Spencer Curtis (6-0) and Jalon Eddington (5-10) placed second and third, respectively, in the boys high jump, while Eastlake’s Hendricks was fourth at 5-8.
In the long jump, SuHi junior Sal Nasser was second at 22-0, followed by BV’s Greene at 21-7 and Sweetwater senior Alejandro Garcia at 21-3.
Curtis also was third in the boys triple jump at 42-2. Sweetwater senior Daniel Castro was third in the boys 100 dash (11.25) while the Red Devil distance tandem of sophomore Gerrardo Marquillo (4:34.65) and senior Carlos Ponce (4:34.68) finished third and fourth in the boys 1,600 run.
In standard relay events, Sweetwater recorded the top time in the boys 4x100 in 43.73 while finishing fourth in the 4x400 relay (3:32.43).
Bonita Vista senior Parker Brisbois sped to the winning time of 54.10 in the boys 400 dash in the dual meet against Otay Ranch while Baron junior Caleb Su won the 100 and 200 dashes with times of 11.43 and 24.0, respectively. In relay events, Bonita Vista captured the boys 4x100 and girls 4x400 events.
The foursome of Luke Lightbody, Marcus Reyes, Su and Paola Danganan sped to a winning time of 46.10 in the shorter distance while the quartet of Raelene Dearmas, De Jerez, Sayeh Kemp and Emily Sherman turned in a spirited victory in the longer distance in 4:24.96.
In field events, BV’s Karenira Alvarez (girls shot put, 31-2.5) and James Duberg (boys shot out, 47-10.5) both claimed first-place finishes.
Eastlake’s Garces ranks second in the section in the 400 dash with a season best time of 57.64.
Mater Dei Catholic’s Alexandria Young ranks third in the section in the girls triple jump at 37-0, followed by Chula Vista’s Daneisha Burrell in fourth place at 36-10.75.
Otay Ranch’s Esteban ranks fifth in the section in the boys triple jump at 45-1.
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