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The few, the proud ... 2012 Metro track and field champions Phillip Brents | Tue, May 22 2012 04:07 PM

Qualifying for the state track and field championship meet in Clovis began May 10 for Metro Conference athletes when they competed in this year’s Mesa and South Bay League finals.

The top two athletes in each event, plus those who met a predetermined standard, earned the chance to continue their vision quests in Saturday’s San Diego Section prelim meet at Mt. Carmel. Athletes, in turn, will qualify from Saturday’s prelims to the section championship meet on May 26, also at Mt. Carmel.

At the section finals, the field will further be pared down to qualifiers for the state prelims June 1 at Buchanan High School.

From there, the field will shrink further to the elite nine qualifiers (at least for track events) for the actual state finals on June 2.

Based on the quality of qualifiers from the Mesa and South Bay league finals, it looks like there could be a rather large number of athletes representing South County high schools in Clovis.

“There were a lot of good performances both in the Mesa League and South Bay League,” veteran Otay Ranch coach Ian Cumming said. “It’s not often you have two girls hurdlers go under 15 seconds in the same year. There were a lot of great performances. The Eastlake and Olympian sprinters put on a great showing, and we’ve got some talented sprinters as well. Our distance runners also ran very well.

“The field athletes turned in some phenomenal marks — 14-6 in the boys pole vault and 6-6 and 6-5 in the boys high jump. Some good competition always makes for a great finals.”

Cumming wasn’t exaggerating.

Down to the finish

This year’s Mesa League finals went down to the finish, both literally and figuratively, as regular season dual meet champion Eastlake edged Otay Ranch by one point — 135 to 134 — for the boys meet title.

Regular season girls dual meet champion out-pointed runner-up Eastlake by a wider margin — 142 to 118.5 points — to claim bragging rights to the league finals meet championship.

In the South Bay League, Sweetwater’s regular season dual meet championship boys team won by a wide margin — 222 points to 90 points posted by runner-up Castle Park.

Chula Vista, the reigning girls dual meet champion, topped runner-up Sweetwater by 68 points to capture the meet title.

Top notch
Sweetwater’s sibling duo of Alejandro and Maria Garcia swept honors as the South Bay League boys and girls athletes of the meet.

Alejandro Garcia captured league titles in the 110 high hurdles (15.56) and 300 intermediate hurdles (41.25) while Maria won league titles in the 100 low hurdles (16.70) and long jump (15-10.25).

The South Bay League field athletes of the meet were Castle Park’s Chevy King and Chula Vista’s Cynthia Ruffin.

King swept titles in the boys long jump (22-6.75) and triple jump (44-3.75) while Ruffin captured an individual league championship in the 800 run (2:21.35) while also excelling on the Spartans’ victorious relay teams.

Chula Vista captured the 4x100 relay in 51.76 and topped the field in the 4x400 relay in 4:13.54.
King ranks second in the section in the long jump (23-3) and third in the triple jump (46-2).

Otay Ranch’s Carina Gillespie and Olympian’s Sydney Magdalena shared the Mesa League girls’ track athlete of the meet award while Otay Ranch’s Xander Law and Bonita Vista’s Branden Greene shared the league’s male field athlete of the meet award.

Olympian’s Asante Gibson earned honors as the Mesa League’s male track athlete of the meet while Mater Dei Catholic’s Billie Driver earned honors as the Mesa League’s girls field athlete of the meet.

Gillespie captured individual titles in the 800 run (2:18.93) and 1,600 run (5:21.99) and also ran a leg on the Mustangs’ victorious 4x400 relay unit (4:03.02). She ranks second in the section in the 800 with a season-best time of 2:13.41.

Magdalena swept titles in both hurdles events with season-best times, winning the 100 low hurdles in 14.77 and the 300 low hurdles in 44.81.
She bested top-seeded Alyssa Chang (14.82) of Otay Ranch in an amazing finish to claim the 100 lows as both runners cleared the final hurdle nearly simultaneously.

Magdalena enters Saturday’s section prelims ranked No. 1 in both events among Division II girls hurdlers and is third overall in the section in the 100 lows and fifth overall in the 300s.

Law won the boys pole vault by clearing 14-6 while Greene won the boys high jump by successfully negotiating 6-6.

Greene continues to rank first in the section with a season-best clearance of 6-8; Law’s school record 15-2, set earlier this season, ranks fifth best among section vaulters.

Gibson won the 100 dash in 11.05 and the 200 dash in 22.70 while Driver recorded the top Mesa mark in the shot put (33-2.5).

Gibson’s 100 time ranks 10th in the section, but only 0.1 second out of fourth place.

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