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Sweetwater Red Devil track and field team is running in the fast lane Phillip Brents | Fri, Mar 28 2014 02:54 PM

It’s been some kind of year for Sweetwater High School’s athletics teams, and the 2013-14 interscholastic season isn’t quite over yet.

If you haven’t been hiding in a hole somewhere for the past six months, then you already know that Sweetwater’s football team won its first San Diego Section division championship since 1984 back in December and that the Red Devils boys basketball team scored a runner-up finish in the CIF finals on March 7.

It’s spring now, and that means it’s time for track and field, and Sweetwater appears to be running in the fast lane once more after topping the Division I field in last Saturday’s 56th annual Sweetwater Coed Relays.

“I’m very pleased,” SuHi head coach Tim Latham said. “We looked a little stronger than I thought we were. We showed some things I didn’t expect to see.”

The Devils boys and girls teams combined to score a division best 132 points to place ahead of fellow South County track giants Eastlake (second, 120 points) and Otay Ranch (third, 110 points).

Imperial, braced by 155 points, captured the Division II team championship ahead of Serra (second, 144 points) and Mater Dei Catholic (third, 124 points).

Last weekend’s meet returned the event to the school after a two-year absence when the meet took place at Otay Ranch High School to take advantage of that school’s all-weather track. But the installation of a new state-of-the-art track complex at the National City school allowed the meet to be held back on campus this year.

“Obviously, we’re excited,” Latham explained. “The National City Host Lions Club is excited about it, and they’ve been a big part of this as a sponsor. It’s nice. A lot of schools didn’t want to run on dirt any more, so that’s why we had to move the meet. Now we’re back.”

SuHi pride
Sweetwater captured first-place finishes in six of the 21 events, posted four second-place finishes and five third-place finishes. Top marks for the Devils came in the boys 4x100 relay (44.21), coed 3,200 relay (9:07.91), boys varsity sprint medley (1:37.28), boys 4x1,600 relay (18:47.81), girls 4x400 relay (4:17.76) and boys 4x400 relay (3:31.13).

Eastlake notched four first-place finishes and four second-place finishes. Top marks for the Titans came in the shuttle hurdles (1:11.84), frosh-soph coed mid-distance relay (6:45.26), shot put (149-4.5) and triple jump (149-0).

Otay Ranch secured two first-place finishes and seven second-place finishes. Top marks for the Mustangs came in the pole vault (38-6) and girls distance medley (13:03.92).

Olympian, which finished fourth in the Division I team standings with 86 points, recorded a prolific outing with five first-place nods: girls 4x100 relay (50.04), girls frosh-soph sprint medley (2:03.15), boys frosh-soph sprint medley (1:43.40), girls 4x200 relay (1:48.40) and girls varsity sprint medley (1:54.0).

Mater Dei Catholic compiled one first-place finish, six second-place finishes and nine third-place finishes in its third-place team finish among Division II squads. The Crusaders captured first place in the boys pole vault (16-6).

Rounding out the Division II field were San Ysidro (fifth, 41 points) and Southwest (sixth, 24 points). Southwest recorded a first-place finish in the girls frosh-soph sprint medley (2:05.75).

Top individuals
Otay Ranch’s Kenny Baumgardner recorded the top mark in the boys pole vault at 11 feet, 6 inches, followed by teammate Robert Burnett (10-6, second Division I) and Mater Dei Catholic’s Christopher Braden (10-0, first Division II).
All three Mesa League vaulters agreed the departure of Otay Ranch state medalist Xander Law opens up the event considerably.

“I’m hoping,” said Baumgardner, who matched his personal record with the 11-6 mark and has set a goal of clearing 12-6 this season.

Braden, a junior, is clearly someone to watch for the future. “I want to go 11-6 by the end of the season,” he said. “It should be enough to place in league.”

Otay Ranch’s Hannah Moss set the top mark in the Division I girls pole vault at 9-6.

Other top Division I marks by Metro Conference athletes included Sweetwater’s Jaylon Davis (19-3, boys long jump), Olympian’s Pariss Boyd (16-1.25, girls long jump) and Jaquel Quest (4-10, girls high jump) and Eastlake’s Jermaine Peacock (41-5, boys triple jump), Johnna Noiseaux (34-4.5, girls triple jump), Wes Braddock (54-9.5, boys shot put) and Shane Martin (5-8, boys high jump).

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