The 10th annual Mustang/Phair Co. Relays, held April 20 at Otay Ranch High School, delivered its share of thrilling performances, especially those by student-athletes from the eight entered Metro Conference teams.
Castle Park senior Daniel Hernandez was among the collection of elite student-athletes bidding for the headlines.
Hernandez became just the fourth hurdler in school history to clock less than 40 seconds in the boys 300 intermediate hurdles when he captured the Silver Division race in a personal record 39.49.
He also turned in the top triple jump of 43 feet, 5 inches in both divisions on the day — another PR.
“He’s peaking at the right time,” CPHS coach Rudy Castillo said. “He’s our best all-around athlete.”
Hernandez could be South County’s top decathlete in the making. Besides excelling in the hurdles (his PR is 15.37 in the 110 high hurdles) and triple jump, he can also clear 11 feet in the pole vault.
“Those are the three toughest events,” Castillo said. “If he can do those, he can run the 800 and 1,500.”
Could Hernandez be headed to the state track and field championships in Clovis? It’s a possibility if his marks continue to soar. He just missed qualifying for the state wrestling meet during the winter sports season with a run to the consolation quarterfinals at the San Diego Masters finals.
“That was a disappointment but I still felt I had a good season by winning the Division III championship,” Hernandez said.
The CP standout would like to medal at the CIF track finals in the high hurdles and qualify for the state meet in the intermediate hurdles. He’s currently ranked No. 1 in both events among Metro hurdlers. “My times have improved a lot, they’re way stronger,” the said.
Castle Park also emerged victorious in the boys 4x200 (1:36.55) as Mario Perez, Jordan Danielson, Nicolas Rascon and Felipe Liborio Jr. each ran legs. The Trojans also paced the field in the distance medley, winning in 10:49.29
Sweetwater’s George Martinez captured first place in the Blue Division boys invitational 1,500-meter run with a time of 4:08.65. He led a parade of Metro runners across the finish line that included Otay Ranch’s Rodrigo Baza (third, 4:12.27), Eastlake’s Oliver Abundez (fourth, 4:15.03) and Bonita Vista’s Jacob Sherman (fourth, 4:18.52).
Martinez is the top-rated distance runner in the South Bay League in both the 1,600 run (4:25.54) and 3,200 run (9:38.09).
He said there isn’t a great deal of strategy shift in running the 1,500 and the 1,600 distances.“You take off a little faster and hope to hold on,” he said.
Saturday’s 1,500 time was a PR for the SuHi runner. “I’m very happy with the time,” Martinez said. “My main goals are to qualify for the CIF championships in the 1,600. I’m right there, I just need to give it my whole effort at the finals.”
Olympian’s Isaiah Gibson departed the oval with gold medals in the 4x200 and 4x400 relays and a silver medal in the 4x100 relay. Teammate James Woods also finished with two gold medals (4x200, 4x400) and one silver medal (4x100) and also recorded the top mark in the Blue Division triple jump (PR at 43-3.5).
The Eagles’ victorious 4x200 team included Gibson, Andrell Snowden, Omar Ruiz-Medellin and Woods. The winning OHS 4x400 squad featured Woods, Ruiz-Medellin, Ed Galloway and Gibson.
“I think I speak for the team when I say that meets like this are for fun and to get better at what we love,” Woods said.
Other top boys marks were turned in by Otay Ranch’s Xander Law in the pole vault (14-6) and Darren Paraiso in the 300 open dash (36.14) and Sweetwater’s Jose Higuera in the shot put (52-9.5).
The Mustangs also captured a gold medal in the 4x800 relay (8:26.00).
Castle Park’s Keeshawna Jackson captured top individual marks in both the girls Silver Division high jump (5-0) and triple jump (32-11.75). Also for the Trojans, Teairah Jackson posted the top mark in the shot put (32-9) while Sarah Montion recorded the top mark in the discus throw (99-2).
CP also emerged victorious in the 4x200 relay (1:51.53).
Otay Ranch’s Carina Gillespie won the Blue Division invitational 1,500 run (4:43.72) ahead of teammate Catie LeDesma (4:56.07).
The host Mustangs also sped to a first-place finish in the 4x800 relay (9:55.73). The foursome included LeDesma, Charlene Bernarte, Monique Anguiano and Gillespie.
Eastlake notched a gold medal in the 4x200 relay. Team members included Sarah Garces. Breyanna Koopman, Taylor Smalley and Kayla Lawson (the school record-holder in both the 100 and 200 dashes).
Also for the Titans, Johnna Noiseaux recorded the top mark in the Blue Division triple jump (35-9).
Otay Ranch finished runner-up in both the Blue Division boys and girls team standings behind Steele Canyon (boys) and Morse (girls) while Eastlake was third in both gender divisions.
Castle Park tied St. Augustine for second place among Silver Division boys teams while the Trojan girls gained sole control of second place in the division. Point Loma won both the Silver Division boys and girls team titles.
Monarch speedster piles up medals at Mustang Relays
At the conclusion of the 10th annual Mustang/Phair Co. Relays, Monte Vista junior Jemeil Jackson had something dangling from his neck that few student-athletes at the 20-team track and field invitational could boast about: four gold medals.
Jackson captured first-place finishes in the boys 4x100-meter relay (43.46), sprint medley relay (1:36.85), 300 open dash (36.19) and 4x400 relay (3:34.97) at the April 20 event held at Otay Ranch High School.
Jackson’s four first-place finishes were among five gold medal showings overall for the Monarchs boys team at the meet, enabling Monte Vista to secure a fourth-place team finish in the Silver Division behind team champion Point Loma and division co-runners-up St. Augustine and Castle Park.
The Monarchs finished just five points out of second place.
Jackson said he hopes to excel on a larger stage before this season is over. “I want to get in the top three at CIF finals, and also place high enough to qualify to the state meet,” he said.
It could be an attainable goal. Jackson currently holds top marks in the Grossmont North League in both the boys 200 dash (22.54) and 400 dash (50.87).
The 4x100 time at last Saturday’s relays was a season best to place the Monte Vista sprint unit at No. 1 in the league rankings.
Jackson wasn’t alone in burning up the oval. Monarch junior D.J. Dosier stepped off the track with three gold medals, sharing the spotlight with Jackson in the 4x100, sprint medley and 4x400 relay events.
Joining Jackson and Dosier with gold medals in the sprint medley relay were Lee Wade and Danyelle Miller. Khalid Lockett and Thomas Walker shared gold medals with Jackson and Dosier in the 4x400 relay.
Also for Monte Vista, Steven Lepe (4:11.25) captured first place in the boys invitational 1,500 run.
Men of Steele
The Steele Canyon Cougars won the boys Blue Division team title with 108 points — 30 points ahead of runner-up Otay Ranch and nearly double that of fifth place Valhalla (55.5 points).
Highlights included first-place finishes in the 4x110 shuttle hurdles (1:03.53), 4x100 relay (42.58), sprint medley relay (1:34.94) and distance medley relay (10:45.96).
The sprint medley team included Tommy Tyler, Alex Wiley, Lawrence Dickens and Markell Lindley while the distance medley unit included Daniel Wagner, Deven Lattier, Cody Rhodes and Tyler Lee.
Also for the Steele Canyon, Brandon Howard sped to a gold medal in the 300 hurdles (39.49) while Wiley (19-7) and Lattier (19-3) finished first and second, respectively, in the long jump. Bryce Eulitt cleared 6-2 to win the high jump competition
•Monte Vista’s Emily Lopez (4:50.26) and Celina Lepe (4:55.67) finished first and second, respectively, in the invitational 1,500 run while teammate Kayla Harell (49.07) captured first place in the 300 hurdles.
•The Monarchs also captured first place finishes in the 4x100 relay (4:16.07) and distance medley relay (12:50.40) en route to a fourth place team finish.
•Valhalla’s quartet of Shea Ricketts, Ashley Hammett, Kristin Semancsin and Andrea Hughes captured first place in the girls distance medley in 12:45.15. Also for the Norsemen, Jordyn Fox turned in the top mark in the girls pole vault (10-0) while Caitlin Nardi earned a gold medal in the high jump (5-0).
•Steele Canyon, which finished fourth in the Blue Division girls standings, captured a first-place finish in the 4x100 shuttle hurdles (1:08.22) while individual top marks went to Monique Van in the 300 hurdles (45.28) and Sabrina Dozier in the girls discus throw (117-10) and shot put (36-9.5).
Van, the Grossmont Hills League senior superwoman, tops the league in the 100 hurdles (15.31) and 300 hurdles (44.66) as well as the long jump (17-6.75) and the triple jump (38-0). The triple jump mark leads the section.
East County section leaders, according to results posted on Athletic.net, include Mt. Miguel senior Alexander Smith in the boys 100 dash (10.74), West Hills sophomore Melissa Mongiovi in the girls 200 dash (24.84) and 400 dash (55.28), Granite Hills senior Jake James in the boys 110 high hurdles (14.34), West Hills senior Brenden Song in the boys discus throw (191-5) and Mt. Miguel junior Talisha Dozier in the girls long jump (18-2).
Steele Canyon also leads the section in the boys 4x400 relay (3:22.75).
Valhalla senior Nehemiah Brown paces Grossmont Hills League sprinters in both the boys 100 dash (10.74) and 200 dash (22.13) while Norseman senior Austin Ash has set the standard this year in the pole vault at 14-2.