Several of the Metro Conference’s track and field leaders gathered in head-to-head competition Wednesday at Eastlake High School as the Bonita Vista Barons and Eastlake Titans paired up in a key Mesa League dual meet. Said leaders continue to raise the bar.
Bonita Vista senior Luis Carson, the conference leader in the boys high jump, increased his Metro-leading mark to 6 feet, 8 inches after turning back a challenge from Eastlake’s Shane Martin.
Carson, whose best mark last season was 5-11, opened the season with a 6-5 mark at the Mt. Miguel Invitational but had not managed to move up in height over the past month.
That changed dramatically on Wednesday. After turning back Martin at 6-2, Carson went on to clear 6-6 and then 6-8 while barely skimming the bar. It jiggled a bit but settled down after the BV high jumper had slid past.
The Baron school record is 6-9, set two years ago by Branden Greene, who went on to clear seven feet while at Southwestern College and is now headed to the University of Mississippi.
Carson attempted three tries at 6-10 but failed to clear what would have been a new school record height.
“I just got psyched out,” said Carson, who cleared 5-8 during his sophomore year. “Once you get to a certain height, you tend to look at the bar even though you’re not supposed to do that. Also, once you get to a certain height, people start to notice. High jumping is mostly mental. If you’re nervous, you’re done.”
Thinking about clearing a height can often be more treacherous than physically clearing it. At the Mt. Miguel meet on March 15, Carson just went out and did it.
“I didn’t think I could do it — it was kind of a surprise, it was out of nowhere,” he said of setting the 6-5 mark.
Carson’s new personal record 6-8 mark would lead the San Diego Section, based on results reported to Athletic.net. Greene was among the section’s state qualifiers in 2012.
“My goal is to continue to improve,” Carson said. “I want to try to get the school record, to beat Brandon’s mark in sort of a friendly competition.”
Also in competition on Wednesday were Eastlake’s Wes Braddock and Johnna Noiseaux as well as Bonita Vista’s Austin Johnson, Staphon Smith and Mahmoud Zeidan.
Braddock and Noiseaux each set school records in the team’s previous dual meet against Olympian on April 17 as Braddock posted a 168-5 mark in the boys discus throw and Noiseaux flew 38-9 in the girls triple jump.
Neither bettered those marks on Wednesday, though Braddock did foul with a throw in excess of 170 feet.
Braddock also leads the conference with a mark of 55-3 in the shot put. He ranks second in the section in that event and third in the section in the discus throw. 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.
“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, a returning state qualifier, leads the section with her school record mark. However, an injury put a damper on her performance in the Titans’ otherwise dominating 95-52 dual meet win on Wednesday, though she did capture first-place showings in the 4x100 relay (50.88) and in the long jump (15-3) while posting a second-place finish in the 100 dash (12.98).
Noiseaux also leads the conference in the girls long jump at 16-9.
Johnson, the Metro leader in the boys 3200 run, squared off against Eastlake’s Oliver Abundez, the Mesa League leader in the boys 1600 run, in the 3200 distance on Wednesday. Abundez (9:57) won handily but came up short in his quest to set a new school record in the event.
Johnson (10:17 in the 3200) didn’t come up short in winning the 1600 on Wednesday with a time of 4:34. Abundez clocked a personal record 4:23.92 in winning the morning session of the Jaguar Invitational on April 19.
Smith, who ranks second in the conference to Hilltop’s Christopher Perez in the long jump, unleashed a jump of 20-5 on Wednesday – shy of his 21-2.5 best on the season. Perez leads all Metro jumpers with a wind-aided mark of 21-7.5.
Zeidan, the conference leader in the boys pole vault at 12-6, placed second in the event on Wednesday to teammate Anthony Sinyard (11-6).
Martin joins Braddock as one of the marquee stars on this year’s Eastlake boys team. He leads the section in the 110 high hurdles with a 14.34 time — 0.4 second ahead of Serra’s Lorenzo Johnson. He clocked a 14.26 hand-time in almost effortlessly winning the event in Wednesday’s 76-60 dual meet victory for the Titans. He previously had recorded a 14.1 hand-time in the event on the same surface.
Martin competes in the high hurdles, triple jump and high jump – events he also participated in last year as a junior. His specialty event was the high jump as a sophomore.
He now lists his favorite event as the high hurdles. “Definitely,” he said. “I found out about it after my freshman year. Ever since, I’ve been training for it.”
Martin said he receives a great deal of self-confidence from his current section-leading time in the event. “It feels really good,” he said. “Last year, I was fifth or sixth — improving is definitely a good thing.”
Martin’s goals for his senior year include qualifying for the state meet. “I want to make state, definitely,” he said. “I want to try to get as far as my ability will take me.”
Martin, who has already received interest from Fullerton and Chico State, said the jumps and hurdling complement one another.
“My speed, I think, has helped me in the triple and I think my leg strength has helped my hurdling,” he said.
He won Wednesday's triple jump competition with a mark of 41-11 while clearing 6-0 in the high jump.
Other standouts for the Titans in Wednesday's dual meet sweep included Isiah Olave (11.29 in the boys 100 dash) and Ridley Gatlin (2:25 in the girls 800 run).
Eastlake remains undefeated in Mesa League boys dual meets with wins over Otay Ranch, Olympian and Bonita Vista. Remaining on the schedule are match-ups against Mater Dei Catholic (May 1) and Hilltop (May 8).
The league prelims are scheduled May 13 and the finals on May 15.
“We did some things different than in previous meets, such as moving people to events they normally do not compete in,” EHS coach David Koopman noted. “It could have back-fired on us, but we prevailed.”