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Otay Ranch's Gillespie showcases freshman talent Phillip Brents | Thu, Jun 10 2010 04:42 PM

In retrospect, Metro Conference athletes fared about as reasonably well as might be expected against an exceptionally strong field at this year's San Diego Section track and field championship meet May 29 at Mt. Carmel High School. While the meet overall lacked its usual buzz of excitement from the crowd, there were some electrifying marks set around the oval - just not enough of them by South County participants.

Three Metro athletes qualified for this year's state championship meet: Otay Ranch freshman Carina Gillespie in the girls 800-meter run and Otay Ranch junior Marques Roberts and Eastlake junior Jordan Hines, both in the boys triple jump.

By contrast, East County athletes earned state qualifying berths in 12 events, including four relays.

The usual complement of North County teams battled for team titles, with Torrey Pines winning the Division I boys title and El Camino winning the Division I girls championship. Ramona captured the Division II boys team title while Cathedral Catholic and La Jolla shared the Division II girls championship.

Otay Ranch, with 10 A-heat/flight qualifiers, finished fourth in the Division I boys standings and 14th in the Division I girls standings to lead South Bay squads. Eastlake finished in a tie with Otay Ranch in the Division I girls standings. Montgomery, benefiting greatly from the presence of standout Thomas Little, finished ninth in the Division II boys standings while Olympian placed 13th in the Division II girls standings.

"We cant' be too disappointed because we had some outstanding performances," Otay Ranch head coach Ian Cumming said. "Our athletes performed well against some very good competition."

Gillespie was the perfect example.

Among a number of standout ninth-graders on the Mustang team, Gillespie notched the second-fastest qualifying time (2:15.43) in the section prelims after winning the event in 2:19.03 at the Mesa League finals on May 14.

She moved up toward the front of the pack early in the two-lap race and was among the top three runners midway through the second lap. However, Carlsbad senior Kaylie Belk came up to challenge Gillespie in the final 50 meters, with the Otay Ranch freshman holding on to nip Belk by a scant 0.03 seconds at the finish line.

Gillespie finished the race with a season-best 2:14.89; Belk placed a very narrow fourth in 2:14.92.

Cathedral Catholic senior Amanda Post won the race in 2:14.09, followed by Torrey Pines sophomore Ashlyn Dadkah in 2:14.23. Eighty-three hundredths of a second separated the top four finishers.

Gillespie entered the state meet with the 20th best time among the 26 qualifiers.

"Honestly, I didn't have any expectations for my freshman year," she said. "I just wanted to keep improving and help my team make it to the finals."

Cumming said faith was the key to her phenomenal success as a first-year high school runner.

"I told her the key as a freshman was having the faith to believe it could happen, and it did," he said. "The progression started with a 2:23 to a 2:20, then to a 2:19 and now to a 2:14. The key was believing she could do it."

Roberts, meanwhile, had ranked among the elite from the start of the season. He recorded the No. 1 mark in the state of 47-5.25 at midseason and though he was later passed, he remained a threat to win the section title. He was among three jumpers to hit the sand beyond the 48-foot mark at the section prelims.

Roberts finished third at the section finals with a mark of 48-1 - a distance equaled by Morse junior Travis Johnson.

Vista junior Stefan McClure led the trio of 48-foot triple jumpers in the section prelims with a mark of 48-6, followed by Johnson at 48-4.75 and Roberts at 48-0.5.

McClure won the event at this year's finals with a jump of 48-9, followed by Mission Hills senior Justin Malishan (48-6), Roberts and Johnson.

Hines already has his positions filled out in football and roller hockey and it appears he has also found his event in track and field - the triple jump - after joining Roberts as the second Metro state qualifier in the event.

Prior to the finals, Hines said his goal was to jump 47 feet after placing fifth in the section prelims with a season-best mark of 46-11.5. His 46-6 in the finals fell short but was still good enough to eclipse the state at-large qualifying standard of 46-2.

Hines finished second at the Mesa League finals with a triple jump of 45-2.5 (behind event winner Roberts' 45-3.5).

Roberts also won the league long jump title (20-11.5); he placed eighth in the event at the section finals (21-3.5).

A total of five section triple jumpers met the state qualifying standard.

Overall, the top three place-finishers in each event at the section finals advanced to the state meet.

Among the Metro Conference's other A-heat/flight qualifiers, Otay Ranch senior Jacob Roach finished fourth in the boys 3,200 run while Mustang classmate Eric Severiano placed fourth in the boys 400 dash to just miss state qualifying berths.

Also among non-state qualifiers, Montgomery's Little finished fourth in the boys 110 high hurdles (14.72) and seventh in the 300 intermediate hurdles (40.23), Otay Ranch freshman Donald Molton was fifth in the boys 100 dash (10.99), Otay Ranch junior Isaac Mallett was fifth in the boys 300 hurdles (39.81), Bonita Vista junior Jade Palm finished fifth in the girls 300 hurdles (47.63) and Eastlake senior Michelle Walling placed fifth in the girls 3,200 run (11:22.95).

Continuing among the Metro's A-heat/flight participants, Otay Ranch freshman Kiera Williams was sixth in the girls 400 dash (59.00), Eastlake senior Diamond Mitchell was sixth in both the girls 100 dash (12.33) and 200 dash (25.40), Otay Ranch senior Bryant Haro was sixth in the boys discus throw (144-10), Chula Vista senior Justicia Sueing finished sixth in the girls discus throw (117-8), Sweetwater senior Aylin Mejia placed eighth in the girls 3,200 run (11:29.93) and ninth in the 1,600 run (5:13.45), Eastlake junior Daniela Sullivan was ninth in the girls 400 dash (1:01.09) and Otay Ranch junior J'Vion Johnson was ninth in the boys high jump (6-2).

In A-heat relay events, Otay Ranch (49.32) and Eastlake (49.58) finished fifth and seventh, respectively, in the girls 4x100 relay.

Roach ran in the No. 2 spot for virtually the entire race before noticeably tiring the final two laps, upon which he was passed by three other runners. The pace set by La Costa Canyon sophomore Darren Fahy was torrid and eventually took its toll on the elite field of 24 runners. Fahy finished in a blazing 9:00.49, followed by Mt. Carmel senior Jacob Wood (9:08.67) and Carlsbad senior Mike Goodger (9:13.55). Roach timed 9:19.32 to beat his prelim mark despite fading in the latter stages of the race.

Patrick Henry senior Kellen Blumberg, one of the runners who passed Roach on the final lap, collapsed short of the finish line and rolled across to break the electronic beam in a bizarre ending to the race, finishing seventh in 9:40.91. Two other runners failed to finish the race.

Roach entered the finals with a prelim time of 9:24.4 (third behind Wood and Fahy) after clocking 9:38.65 to win his second consecutive Mesa League 3,200 title. His best time in the regular season had been 9:13.49.

"It was just me and him (Fahy) until the last two laps," said Roach, summoning up a great measure of personal pride.

Roach said he felt in about as good shape as he had all season at the Metro championship meet and looked like a thoroughbred on the course while challenging the LCC super sophomore for the lead. The two-man pack was well ahead of a cluster of four to five other runners but, as the race progressed, that cluster slowly closed the gap on the leaders.

"I got tired," Roach said simply. "I started to fall behind."

A strong effort down the final straightway preserved fourth place for the Mustang standout.

"You have to commend Jacob Roach - he laid it all on the line," Cumming said.

Fahy entered the finals with the top qualifying time of 9:24.36 after turning in a regular season best of 9:01.12. His section finals time ranked fourth among this year's state meet qualifiers.

Severiano, who earned honors as this year's Mesa League male athlete of the meet, clocked 49.46 in the quarter-mile event to better his prelim time of 49.57. He finished arrears of three fellow seniors - Ramona's Ryan Morgan (48.52), Palo Verde's Chance Watkins (48.64) and Bishop's Alfredo Corral (48.87), all Division II entrants.

Severiano thus earned honors as the Division I champion even though he did not qualify for the state meet.

"It's not too often that three Division II runners place ahead of the top Division I runner," Cumming said.

In the girls 3,200, Walling bettered her prelim time of 11:23.92 while Mejia finished nearly 10 seconds slower than her prelim time of 11:19.64. 

Rancho Bernardo junior Molly Grabill won the girls 3,200 run in 10:37.28 while Torrey Pines senior Megan Morgan (second, 10:44.52) also finished under 11:00.

Conspicuously absent from this year's finals was Bonita Vista senior Alfredo Rodriguez, who was a surprise scratch in the boys 800 run. Rodriguez owned one of the top times in the event in the section during the regular season. He briefly ranked first in the section at midseason and posted a season-best time of 1:55.64 at the league prelims. He posted the fourth-best qualifying time of 1:56.62 at the preceding section prelims after handily winning the event with a 1:56.22 at the Mesa League finals.

Torrey Pines junior Trent Newquist won the section 800 title in 1:54.29, followed by Torrey Pines classmate Matt Carpowich (1:54.59) in second and Kearny junior Carlos Bojorquez (1:54.77) in third as the section's three state qualifiers in the event.

San Diego Section Parade of Champions
(Metro Conference Place-winners)
Division I Boys

4x100 relay: 6. Eastlake 43.66; 9. Otay Ranch 43.86
400 dash: 1. Eric Severiano (Otay Ranch) 49.46; 5. Darran Hall (Eastlake) 50.32
100 dash: 6. Donald Molton (Otay Ranch) 10.99
300 intermediate hurdles: 6. Isaac Mallett (Otay Ranch) 39.81
200 dash: 4. Donald Molton (Otay Ranch) 22.14
3,200 run: 4. Jacob Roach (Otay Ranch) 9:19.32
High jump: 6. Ernest Rowe (Eastlake) 6-4; 7. J'Vion Johnson (Otay Ranch) 6-2
Long jump: 7. Marques Roberts (Otay Ranch) 21-3
Triple jump: 3. Marques Roberts (Otay Ranch) 48-1; 5. Jordan Hines (Eastlake) 46-6
Shot put: 5. Jon Bajet (Otay Ranch) 48-3.25
Discus throw: 4. Bryant Haro (Otay Ranch) 144-10; 8. Thomas Gonzalez (Otay Ranch) 125-1
Team standings: 1. Torrey Pines 61 points; 2. El Camino 38; 3. Mt. Carmel 33; 4. Otay Ranch 32; 5. (tie) Granite Hills, Scripps Ranch 29; 7. (tie) Rancho Buena Vista, Morse 28; 9. (tie) La Costa Canyon, Mission Hills 25; 11. Rancho Bernardo 24; 12. Steele Canyon 23. Others: 19. Eastlake 6

Division II Boys
110 high hurdles: 1. Thomas Little (Montgomery) 14.72
100 dash: 8. Emmanuel Quiambao (Montgomery) 11.25
300 intermediate hurdles: 1. Thomas Little (Montgomery) 40.23; 5. Lamar Wint (Castle Park) 41.55; 9. Kaelon Martin (Mar Vista) 45.64
High jump: 5. Pierre Davis (Southwest) 5-10
Triple jump: 5. Chevy King (Castle Park) 44-6
Shot put: 3. Seville Hayes (Mar Vista) 48-7
Discus throw: 7. Cesar Amparo (Castle Park) 133-7
Team standings: 1. Ramona 83 points; 2. Mt. Miguel 72. Others: 9. Montgomery 20; 15. Castle Park 10; 20. Mar Vista 6; 25. Southwest 2

Division I Girls
4x100 relay: 5. Otay Ranch (Tiana Wood, Kiera Williams, Brianna Davis, Nicole Crutchfield) 49.32; 6. Eastlake (Diamond Mitchell, Daniela Sullivan, Kayla Walden, Chelsea Amario) 49.58
1,600 run: 9. Aylin Mejia (Sweetwater) 5:13.49; 12. Catie Ledesma (Otay Ranch) 5:16.69
400 dash: 6. Kiera Williams (Otay Ranch) 59.00; 9. Daniela Sullivan (Eastlake) 1:01.09
100 dash: 5. Diamond Mitchell (Eastlake) 12.33
800 run: 2. Carina Gillespie (Otay Ranch) 2:14.89; 8. Cynthia Ruffin (Chula Vista) 2:21.35
300 hurdles: 6. Jade Palm (Bonita Vista) 47.63
200 dash: 3. Diamond Mitchell (Eastlake) 25.40; 7. Kiera Williams (Otay Ranch) 25.98
3,200 run: 5. Michelle Walling (Eastlake) 11:22.95; 8. Aylin Mejia (Sweetwater) 11:29.93
Discus throw: 6. Justicia Sueing (Chula Vista) 117-8
Team standings: 1. El Camino 67 points; 2. (tie) Vista, Oceanside 46; 4. Rancho Bernardo 44.5; 5. (tie) Torrey Pines, Granite Hills 31; 7. Scripps Ranch 28.5; 8. Mt. Carmel 27; 9. Westview 26; 10. Poway 22. Others: 14. (tie) Otay Ranch, Eastlake 11; 27. (tie) Chula Vista, Bonita Vista 1

Division II Girls

4x100 relay: 6. Olympian 50.57; 8. Mater Dei Catholic 51.08
1,600 run: 9. Keeshawna Jackson (Castle Park) 5:57.59
100 hurdles: 6. Lanita Sanders (Castle Park) 16.59; 9. Lesleah Flores (Olympian) 17.34
400 dash: 4. Rachael Rainy (Olympian) 1:00.46
100 dash: 3. Kyky Davis (Southwest) 12.66; 8. Cardedra Evans (Mater Dei Catholic) 12.92
300 hurdles: 9. Emily O'Bryant (Mar Vista) 49.41
200 dash: 7. Australia Rawling (Olympian) 26.48; 9. Kyky Davis (Southwest) 26.85
4x400 relay: 2. Olympian 4:03.06
High jump: 2. Alexandria Young (Mater Dei Catholic) 5-1
Long jump: 4. Camile Alvarado (Mater Dei Catholic) 16-5.25
Team standings: 1. (tie) La Jolla, Cathedral Catholic 63 points. Other: 13. Olympian 13 points; 14. Mater Dei 12; 21. Southwest 6; 27. Castle Park 1

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