Hot weather, dry brush, gusty winds and a random spark make a dangerous combination. With the onset of all conditions early last week, the Metro Conference’s track coaches made what proved to be a very fortuitous decision: to run as finals some of the field events in the league prelims held May 13, the day the Bernardo wildfire broke out in North County.
The Bernardo fire was a harbinger of things to come over the rest of the week as 10 separate fires broke out in northwest San Diego County, prompting the closure of schools and evacuation of residents.
The San Diego Section responded by cancelling all athletic competitions and practices Thursday and Friday, forcing the postponement of league finals in diving, swimming and track and field, as well as the section girls lacrosse and boys volleyball playoffs, and the outright cancellation of all regular season games in softball and boys lacrosse.
The fire danger has passed — for now, at least — and athletic competition has resumed in spring sports.
The Mesa League and South Bay League track and field finals, originally scheduled May 15 at Otay Ranch High School, took place Monday at the same site.
In getting an early jump on the league finals originally scheduled for that Thursday, field events completed during that Tuesday’s league prelims included the boys and girls shot put and discus throw, boys high jump and boys and girls long jump.
“Because of the hot weather and the fires, we thought we’d get a head start on things,” ORHS coach Ian Cumming explained. “There are normally a lot of entries in the field events to deal with on just one day, so this way, it helps.”
It definitely did.
Those field events not completed during the league prelims were contested on Monday, along with all running events.
The first league champions named for 2014 included Eastlake senior Wes Braddock in the Mesa League boys shot put (52-10) and discus throw (154-0), Bonita Vista senior Luis Carson in the Mesa League boys high jump (6-3), Hilltop junior Christopher Perez in the Mesa League boys long jump (21-4.5), Otay Ranch junior Kara Abshier in the Mesa League girls shot put (33-4.25), Eastlake junior Paula Lerma in the Mesa League girls discus throw (101-3), Eastlake Johnna Noiseaux in the Mesa League girls long jump (16-4), Montgomery senior Sebastian Orozco in the South Bay League boys shot put (47-10) and discus throw (138-4), Castle Park junior Teairah Jackson in the South Bay League girls shot put (38-0) and Castle Park junior Sarah Montion in the South Bay League girls discus throw (109-6).
Both the South Bay League and Mesa League track and field finals are qualifiers for the San Diego Section prelims, which are slated Saturday, May 24, at Mt. Carmel High School.
The top two place-finishers in each event at the league finals, plus those athletes who met a predetermined standard, qualified to compete in this weekend’s section prelim meet.
Runners-up in the early field events included Otay Ranch senior Daniel Buelna in the Mesa League boys shot put (47-7.5), Olympian senior Sean Solitare in the Mesa League boys discus throw (145-1), Mater Dei Catholic senior Evan Beebe in the Mesa League boys high jump (6-1), Bonita Vista senior Staphon Smith in the Mesa League boys long jump (20-8), Bonita Vista sophomore Milan Milkovich in the Mesa League girls shot put (30-5.75), Eastlake senior Alison Meegan in the girls discus throw (97-8), Otay Ranch junior Jazmine Logan in the Mesa League girls long jump (16-4), Southwest senior Fernando Iniquez in the South Bay League boys shot put (45-7), Montgomery junior Giovanni Barroso in the South Bay League boys discus throw (133-2), Chula Vista junior Janan Salaam in the South Bay League girls shot put (33-3.75) and Castle Park junior Teairah Jackson in the South Bay League girls discus throw (100-2).
Tale of the tape
Monday’s meet had many competitive races and field events.
Otay Ranch coach Ian Cumming cited as an example two field events in the girls Mesa League that were tied and were won by the better second attempt.
Eastlake’s Johnna Noiseaux won the long jump from Otay Ranch’s Jazmine Logan. Both girls jumped 16-4, but Noiseaux had a better second jump by about three inches, Cumming noted.
In the triple jump, Otay Ranch’s Ainara Manlutuc and Olympian’s Sydney Barnes both jumped 35-10, but Manlutac had the better second jump by one-to-two inches, Cumming further noted.
Athletes of the Meet
Eastlake’s Oliver Abundez turned in a very strong and dominant individual double in winning both the 1600-meter run (4:26.61) and 800 run (1:57.72) and ran a 400-meter leg of 50.6 on the Titans’ victorious 4x400 relay (3:29.62) while Eastlake’s Wesley Braddock dominated the throws with two sizable victories — 52-10 in the shot put (winning by five feet) and 154-0 in the discus throw (winning by nine feet).
Eastlake’s Shane Martin ran the fastest qualifying time in the section by more than four-tenths of a second in the 110-meter high hurdles (14.64).
The girls Mesa League had three outstanding running doubles for league championships:
Otay Ranch’s Monique Anguiano had dominating victories while running away from the competition in both the 1600 (5:12.33) and 800 (2:23.77) while teammate Dona Stephens won the 400 dash with a very tight 0.37 of a second victory over Betsy Ornelas of Olympian — 26.17 to 26.54 — and then came back with a strong upset victory by a mere three-hundredths of a second in the 200 dash with a personal record time of 58.79 to Ornelas’ 58.82 time.
The best and most dominating double of the night was turned in by Olympian’s Sydney Magdalena in the 100 hurdles (15.22) and 300 hurdles (45.85) with two of the best times in the section, thus earning her selection as the Mesa League Female Track Athlete of the Year.
Otay Ranch captured the team title in girls varsity at Monday’s league finals while the Mustang boys team finished third.
Cumming noted his team made significant strides over the course of the season for being so young.
“We were a very young team this year after graduating many great athletes on both the girls and boys teams,” Cumming noted. “We told our kids from the very beginning that we might start slowly but we would get better and better.
“Our boys became a much better team and defeated several very talented teams after an early season loss to Eastlake. The girls did an even better job of improving than the large jump our boys made by defeating Eastlake in a strong battle early in the year for a 76 to 60 victory and then staying undefeated against talented Bonita, Hilltop and Olympian teams.
“Yet more impressive than our kids’ strong improvement in performance, is the quality of people they are. Their work ethic, positive attitudes and exceptional behavior made coaching an extremely pleasurable experience.”
As meet director, Cumming said he would like to thank the many parents, teachers and friends who worked the many large and small meets this spring. “As always, their dedication to kids makes it possible for us to run so many large meets and we appreciate it very much!” Cumming noted.
In the spotlight: Teen Titans have sights set on return to state meet
Eastlake High School senior Wes Braddock and junior Johnna Noiseaux, both returning state meet qualifiers, each set school records in their respective specialty events during this spring’s track and field season, and look to be solid contenders to return to Clovis the first weekend in June.
The road to the state meet started for both standouts at last week’s Mesa League finals and continues at this weekend’s San Diego Section prelim meet at Mt. Carmel High School.
The next stop could be a state medal.
It’s something exciting to ponder.
Braddock posted a school record mark of 55 feet, 8 inches in the boys shot put at the Mustang Relays on April 26 and followed with a school record mark of 170-11 in the boys discus throw in a Mesa League dual meet against Hilltop on May 8.
Noiseaux flew to a school record mark of 38-9 in the girls triple jump in an April 17 league dual against Olympian.
Both settled for lesser marks in winning their events at the league finals, held May 13 at Otay Ranch High School.
Braddock posted winning marks in both the shot put (52-10) and discus throw (154-0) while Noiseaux won the girls long jump (16-4).
Braddock ranks second in the section in both the shot put and discus events. Madison’s Dotun Ogundeji leads the section in both events — 65-5.5 in the shot put and 180-2 in the discus throw.
Braddock qualified for last year’s state meet in the shot put and would like to double this year also by advancing in the discus throw.
He has set a goal of reaching 180 feet in the latter event before the season is over. He appears to be inching closer.
“When I first started as a sophomore, I could barely throw 100 feet, but I began to take it more seriously my junior year — that is what I consider to be my learning year,” the EHS multi-sport standout explained. “I’m doing much better now in the discus.
“In the shot put, I sort of glide but I do spin in the discus throw.”
Braddock’s goal is to reach 60 feet in the shot before the end of the season.
Noiseaux leads the section with her school record triple jump mark; she also leads the Metro Conference in the girls long jump at 16-9 (set at April’s Jaguar Invitational), though that mark places her outside the section’s top 10 leaderboard.
METRO CONFERENCE TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Parade of Champions
Boys Running Events
100: Aqel Carson (Olympian) 11.13
200: Aqel Carson (Olympian) 22.56
400: Ed Galloway (Olympian) 50.51
800: Oliver Abundez (Eastlake) 1:57.72
1600: Oliver Abundez (Eastlake) 4:26.61
3200: Nathan Sanchez (Olympian) 9:56.10
110 high hurdles: Shane Martin (Eastlake) 14.64
300 intermediate hurdles: Josh Godfrey (Bonita Vista) 41.85
4x100 relay: Olympian (Emilio Paredes, Aqel Carson, D’Angelo Randolph, Ed Galloway) 43.39
4x400 relay: Eastlake (Dwight Brandon, Alberto Johnson, Austin Gurule, Oliver Abundez) 3:29.62
Boys Field Events
Shot put: Wes Braddock (Eastlake) 52-10
Discus throw: Wes Braddock (Eastlake) 154-0
High jump: Luis Carson (Bonita Vista) 6-3
Pole vault: Mahmoud Zeidan (Bonita Vista) 12-2
Long jump: Christopher Perez (Hilltop) 21-4.5
Triple jump: Lucky Knounchanh (Otay Ranch) 42-3.5
Girls running Events
100: Ralaina LiDrazzah (Olympian) 12.84
200: Dona Stephens (Otay Ranch) 26.17
400: Dona Stephens (Otay Ranch) 58.79
800: Monique Anguiano (Otay Ranch) 2:23.77
1600: Monique Anguiano (Otay Ranch) 5:12.33
3200: Lorena Mendoza (Hilltop) 11:50.10
100 hurdles: Sydney Magdalena (Olympian) 15.22
300 hurdles: Sydney Magdalena (Olympian) 45.85
4x100 relay: Olympian (Pariss Boyd, Ralaina LiDrazzah, Betsy Ornelas, Sydney Magdalena) 49.71
4x400 relay: Eastlake (Ridley Gatlin, Gabriella Sainz, Jacqueline Villalobos, Mia Costello) 4:05.51
Girls Field Events
Shot put: Kara Abshier (Otay Ranch) 33-4.25
Discus throw: Paulina Lerma (Eastlake) 101-3
High jump: Jaquel Quest (Olympian) 5-0
Pole vault: Hannah Moss (Otay Ranch) 10-1
Long jump: Johnna Noiseaux (Eastlake) 16-4
Triple jump: Ainara Manlutac (Otay Ranch) 35-10
Athletes of the Year
Girls field events: Hannah Moss (Otay Ranch)
Girls track events: Sydney Magdalena (Olympian)
Boys field events: Wes Braddock (Eastlake)
Boys track events: Oliver Abundez (Eastlake)
Boys teams (points): 1. Eastlake 142; 2. Olympian 108; 3. Otay Ranch 91; 4. Bonita Vista 77; 5. Hilltop 47; 6. Mater Dei Catholic 31
Girls teams (points): 1. Otay Ranch 173; 2. Eastlake 124; 3. Olympian 103; 4. Bonita Vista 53; 5. Hilltop 41; 6. Mater Dei Catholic 2
Coaches of the Year
Boys varsity: David Koopman (Eastlake)
Girls varsity: Courtney Zendejas (Otay Ranch)
South Bay League
Parade of Champions
Boys Running Events
100: Gerardo Gardner (Chula Vista) 11.49
200: Gerardo Gardner (Chula Vista) 23.44
400: Irad Hoffman (Chula Vista) 52.18
800: Bryan Alvarado (Sweetwater) 1:57.81
1600: Gerardo Marquillo (Sweetwater) 4:36.60
3200: Gerardo Marquillo (Sweetwater) 10:09.10
110 high hurdles: Pono Cavaco (Mar Vista) 15.56
300 intermediate hurdles: Jose Martinez (Sweetwater) 40.11
4x100 relay: Sweetwater 43.82
4x400 relay: Sweetwater 3:31.21
Long jump: Mewael Mesfin (Sweetwater) 19-1
Triple jump: Jaylon Davis (Sweetwater) 41-5.5
Shot put: Sebastian Orozco (Montgomery) 47-10
Discus throw: Sebastian Orozco (Montgomery) 138-4
High jump: Jesse Lucchetti (Mar Vista) 6-0
Pole vault: Mario Licudine (Sweetwater) 10-8
Girls running Events
100: Daeniesha Burell (Chula Vista) 12.64
200: Daeniesha Burell (Chula Vista) 25.84
400: Karen Mercado (Sweetwater) 1:00.61
800: Kim Arellano (Sweetwater) 2:25.86
1600: Yoceline Ramirez (Chula Vista) 5:24.72
3200: Erika Gonzalez (Sweetwater) 11:46.67
100 hurdles: Brianna Diaz (Castle Park) 17.89
300 hurdles: Leticia Urenda (Sweetwater) 49.40
4x100 relay: Sweetwater 51.63
4x400 relay: Sweetwater 4:14.64
Girls Field Events
Long jump: Dayza Brackeen (Chula Vista) 15-6.5
Triple jump: Jessica Grimsley (Castle Park) 32-11.25
Shot put: Teairah Jackson (Castle Park) 38-0
Discus throw: Sarah Montion (Castle Park) 109-6
High jump: Kristin Curtis (San Ysidro) 4-9
Pole vault: Perla Torres (Montgomery) 7-7
Athletes of the Meet
Girls field events: Jessica Grimsley (Castle Park)
Girls track events: Daeniesha Burell (Chula Vista)
Boys field events: Sebastian Orozco (Montgomery)
Boys track events: Jose Martinez (Sweetwater)
Boys teams (points): 1. Sweetwater 206.5; 2. Chula Vista 94; 3. Mar Vista 58; 4. Castle Park 57.5; 5. Montgomery 36; 6. San Ysidro 17; 7. Southwest 13
Girls teams (points): 1. Chula Vista 123; 2. Sweetwater 121; 3. Castle Park 88; 4. Montgomery 80; 5. Southwest 38; 6. San Ysidro 18; 7. Mar Vista 11
JUNIOR VARSITY TEAM CHAMPIONS
Mesa League: Otay Ranch (boys); Eastlake (girls)
South Bay League: Sweetwater (boys, girls)