The Star-News


Mustang Relays set the pace: Otay Ranch finishes in 2nd place

Fri, Apr 30 2010 04:27 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents

Last Saturday's seventh annual Mustang/Phair Co. Relays at Otay Ranch High School attracted a truckload of talent from the 22 participating schools. The meet produced its share of fast times and top marks, particularly for the Steele Canyon Cougars, who captured team titles in both the boys and girls fields ahead of the host Mustangs.

Steele Canyon pulled off a rare CIF double last year by winning track and field championships on both the boys and girls sides. While the Cougars girls team has continued to excel this season, it now appears the men of Steele shouldn't be written off quite yet.

Last Saturday's meet was just three weeks removed from the Mt. Miguel Elite 8 showcase when the Mustangs out-pointed the Cougars by a whopping 135.5 points to win the intimate event. Steele Canyon finished a distant sixth in the field.

That wasn't the case on Otay Ranch's own oval.

The Cougars racked up 86 points to edge the host Mustangs for the Blue Division boys title by five points. Otay Ranch finished in second place with 81 points - just ahead of Mt. Miguel, the rising power in East County prep track and field, which finished a strong third with 78 points. Eastlake was fourth with 50 points.

The Steele Canyon girls continued to out-run and out-jump the competition, winning the Blue Division girls team title with a division-best 90 points. Otay Ranch placed runner-up in the division with 82 points, followed by Eastlake and Poway, each tied for third place with 48 points, and fifth place Monte Vista (47 points).

St. Augustine won the Silver Division boys team title while Clairemont won the division's girls team title. Olympian was second in both the boys and girls field to lead the four South Bay entrants in the smaller schools division.

St. Augustine totaled 94 points to win the boys title, followed closely by Olympian with 87 points.

Sweetwater finished fifth in the Silver Division boys field with 43 points behind third place La Jolla (55 points) and fourth place Central Union (51 points).

Clairemont edged Olympian by five points for the girls team title in another tight battle. The Chieftains finished the meet with 68 points, followed by the Eagles with 63 points, Our Lady of Peace with 60 points, La Jolla with 59 points and Point Loma with 55 points.

Otay Ranch coach Ian Cumming was complimentary about the talent assembled for this year's event.

"We had a lot of great races - a lot of fast times, most notably in the 1,500 and 300 hurdles," Cumming said. "It was a very good field - a lot of top teams from around the county. This has to rank as one of the top two meets we've put on in the history of the meet and we've had a lot of good meets in the past."

This year's event once again proceeded like clockwork, with running events finishing before 3 p.m. Cumming said the more than 50 volunteers who act as timers and scorers, maintain the jumping pits and dole out awards are invaluable assets to the event.

"The meet would not be possible without them," he said.

Marvelous Mustangs
Host Otay Ranch had several showcase performances in both the boys and girls fields. Jacob Roach won the boys invitational 1,500-meter run while Carina Gillespie won the girls invitational 1,500 run. Isaac Mallett won the boys 300 intermediate hurdles while Alyssa Chang won the girls 300 low hurdles. Eric Severiano won the boys invitational 300 dash while Kiera Williams won the girls invitational 300 dash. Marques Roberts won top marks in both the boys long jump and triple jump while Thomas Gonzalez captured the top mark in the boys discus throw.

The 1,500 event continues to become more competitive each year. Roach (4:03.36) edged Mt. Miguel's Dylan Marx (4:04.31) by less than one second to capture this year's invitational boys run. Poway's Ryan Jensen (4:11.07) took third place by a flicker of an eyelash ahead of Bonita Vista's Shin Agbede (4:11.11). Eastlake teammates Kyle Lintz (4:12.27) and Sean Stanko (4:12.91) finished in rapid-fire succession in a battle for fifth place, followed by Poway's Zach Barber (4:13.89) and Monte Vista's Dillon Breen (4:14.99).

The 1,500 girls field was no less competitive. Gillespie won in 4:53.65. She was immediately followed across the finish line by Clairemont's Savannah Roberts (4:53.80) and Point Loma's Ella Verhees (4:54.83). Eastlake's Michelle Walling placed fourth in the field in 4:57.12 (second in the Blue Division), followed by Sweetwater's Maila Lucht (fifth, 5:00.45), Clairemont's Michelle Read (sixth, 5:03.64) and Otay Ranch's Catie Ledesma (seventh, 5:07.06). Ledesma was third among Blue Division runners.

Roach is ranked eighth in the San Diego Section in the 1,600 run (4:21.37) while Marx entered the meet ranked 10th (4:22.44). Marx is ranked third in the section in the 3,200 run (9:21.70).

Gillespie entered the meet ranked seventh in the section in the 800 run (2:20.62) while Lucht ranks seventh in the section in the 200 dash (25.6) and eighth in the 400 dash (59.36).

The 300 hurdles races may have been even more explosive event.

Mallett entered the meet ranked second in the section to Granite Hills' Kevin Finley, a silver medalist in the 110 high hurdles at last year's state championship meet in Clovis. The Mustang hurdler turned in the top time in the Blue Division at 39.67 - just off his season-best effort of 39.31. Meanwhile, Olympian's Julian Robinson won the Silver Division boys race in 41.20.

Chang pulled off an upset by edging defending Mesa League champion Jade Palm of Bonita Vista in the star-studded Blue Division race. Chang timed 46.87 to move up to the section's No. 5 ranking in the event while Palm timed 47.63. Palm holds the No. 7 section ranking at 47.10.

In the specialty 300 event, Severiano timed 37.30 to win the Blue Division boys race while Olympian's Andre Fukushima clocked 38.73 to place third in the Silver Division boys race. Williams (41.79) won the Blue Division girls race while Lucht (42.67) won the Silver Division girls race.

Gonzalez (145-4) out-dueled Otay Ranch teammate Jon Bajet (139-1) to post the top mark on the day in the boys discus throw. Bajet, meanwhile, finished with the second best mark in the boys shot put (46-10) in placing behind Steele Canyon's Mario Yakoo (48-0.5).

Bajet ranks third in the section in the discus throw (158-3) and seventh in the shot put (49-6).

Meanwhile, Roberts simply continues to amaze. He took over as the state leader in the boys triple jump with a mark of 47-5.25 at the Mt. Miguel Elite 8 meet and has since jumped 47-8.25 before being eclipsed by Vista's Stefan McClure (48-3 - currently No. 3 in the state). At the Mustang Relays, Roberts won the triple jump competition with a combined hop, skip and jump of 45-10.5 and topped the field in the long jump at 21-0.5.

Steele Canyon's Thomas Clanton finished second in the triple jump at 43-7.75, followed by Mt. Miguel's Bryant Mitchell (42-9) and Otay Ranch's J'Vion Johnson (42-2).

Roberts bettered long jump marks by Eastlake's Jordan Hines (20-8.5), Mt. Miguel's Mitchell (20-8) and Serra's Michael Moore (20-7). Olympian's Henry Markos jumped 20-4.75 to win the Silver Division boys field.

Cumming had nothing but praise for Roberts. "He's worked very, very hard to get where he is," the ORHS coach said. "He's also worked to become a better person. That's also important. At the Arcadia Invitational, he had five jumps over 47 after not going more than 45-4 two weeks earlier. He does his best when he's up against the best competition."

Metro standouts
Other highlights for area athletes came in the vertical jumps. Otay Ranch's Tiffany Smith set a new school record in the girls pole vault by clearing 10-6 in placing runner-up to Clairemont's McKenzie Johnson (11-0) while Otay Ranch's Ryan Vasquez (12-6) placed third in the boys competition. Smith moved up to No. 7 in the section while Eastlake's Rachelle Minyard and teammate Liz Castro both cleared 9-0.

Eastlake's Roshawn Brock and Ernest Rowe each cleared 5-10 to lead the local field in the Blue Division boys high jump, tied for fifth, while Southwest's Maris Boldridge cleared 5-10 to win the Silver Division boys high jump competition

Poway's Alex Templeton topped the Blue Division field at 6-8.

In other field events, Otay Ranch's Kaycee Osadolor placed second overall in the girls shot put (32-3) while Eastlake's Kayla Walden turned in the third-best mark on the day in the girls triple jump (34-5).

Olympian's Lesleah Flores finished fourth in the Silver Division girls triple jump at 31-8 - the second-best mark on the day among Metro jumpers.

4x100, 4x400 relays
In Blue Division boys relay events, Eastlake finished third in the 4x100 race in 43.74 while Otay Ranch was third in the 4x400 race in 3:28.17. The mark was a season best for the Mustangs, who entered the meet ranked ninth in the section. Eastlake's mark challenges Chula Vista (43.70) for the top time locally.

Olympian won the Silver Division boys 4x400 race in 3:30.75. Robinson, Geon Flores, James Woods and Greg Pico keyed the winning effort.

Eastlake's 3:31.67 time placed he Titans fourth deep in the Blue Division boys field.

In the girls relay events, Olympian won the Silver Division race 4x100 race in 50.69 and also came out on top in the 4x400 Silver Division race in 4:08.23. Rachael Rainy, Australia Rawling, Nirelle Davis and Charmayne Judkins set the pace for the Eagles in both relay races.

Otay Ranch (4:13.38) won the Blue Division 4x400 relay in 4:13.38 while placing second in the 4x100 relay in 48.90 (just behind Steele Canyon's blazing 48.80 time). The Mustangs moved up to the No. 3 spot in the section rankings in the 4x100 relay behind No. 2 Steele Canyon.

Williams, Chang, Catie Ledesma and Karla Gadea provided the fleet feet for Otay Ranch in the 4x400 relay while Chang, Williams, Brianna Davis and Nicole Crutchfield provided the swift baton exchanges in the 4x100 relay.

Relay madness
In non-traditional relay running events, Otay Ranch scored first-place finishes in the Blue Division boys shuttle hurdles, boys sprint medley, boys distance medley and girls 4x400 relay while Olympian captured top spots in the Silver Division girls 4x200 relay, girls 4x400 relay and boys 4x400 relay.

The Mustang foursome of Luis Medina, Kevin Merlin, Roach and Carlos Hernandez out-gunned the Steele Canyon quarter of Michael Twardochleb, Chance James, Isai Sanchez and Corey Bosvay to claim the grueling boys distance relay in 10:47.68. The Cougars finished in 10:54.56 ahead of third place Eastlake (11:11.37).

Roach won last fall's Mesa League cross country title while Bosvay won the Grossmont Hills League title.

Eastlake won its division in the girls sprint medley relay while Sweetwater won its division in the girls 4x800 relay. The Titans also engineered a runner-up finish in their division in the girls distance medley (13:29.70).

In field event relays, Otay Ranch finished first in the Blue Division boys triple jump relay and boys discus relay and finished second in the Blue Division boys shot put relay while Eastlake finished second in the Blue Division boys long jump relay and girls pole vault relay.

Southwest, keyed by Denise Atualevao's prodigious throw of 100-3, won the Silver Division girls discus relay. The Raiders also won the shot put relay as Atualevao topped the field with a put of 30-10.

Men of Steele
Last year's state track and field championship meet at Buchanan High School in Clovis closed on a most memorable note for Steele Canyon's 4x400-meter boys relay team. The Cougars alternately moved up and then fell back in the elite field with each leg before engineering a final spurt down the straightaway to capture a fourth-place medal.

It was an amazing display of speed and endurance. And an encore might be on tap.

Steele Canyon entered the Mustang Relays with the second-fastest time in the San Diego Section in the event, timing 3:22.99 to leader Ramona's 3:22.97. But the Bulldogs' stay on top was in jeopardy after the Cougars eclipsed Ramona's section-leading mark with a time of 3:22.81.

Three members of last year's state medalist foursome return: Alex Perlin, Cody Simpson and Joe Cisneros. Jeremy Davis replaces graduated David Klarer.

The reworked unit still has a way to go to match the blazing 3:15.46 posted at last year's state finals but is obviously working on it. There is still a month before the section championship meet.

A three-sport athlete, Perlin (football, wrestling, track and field) entered last weekend's meet ranked seventh in the section in the 400 dash with a time of 49.93.

Steele Canyon's 4x400 unit isn't the only quartet making up ground this season. The Cougars claimed the top finish in the boys 4x100 relay at last weekend's Mustang Relays with a season-best time of 42.81 to move past Rancho Bernardo as the section's top unit. Simpson, Cisneros and Perlin join Maurice McNamara on this fleet-footed foursome.

Magical Matador
Bryant Mitchell placed third in the boys high jump (6-2) and long jump (20-8) and finished fourth in a blockbuster field in the boys triple jump (42.9). Bryant entered the meet ranked fifth in the section in the triple jump (45-0).

Girl power
Steele Canyon's Samantha Vernon (112-6.5 in the shot put) and Monte Vista's Shamonique Malone (5-4 in the high jump) and Deanna Bembry (33-11 in the shot put) all recorded top marks in their respective events at this year's Mustang Relays.

Mt. Miguel's Charity Lyons, who entered the meet ranked second in the section in the long jump, placed second with a 17-1 mark. Her season best remains 17-7.5.


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