Metro athletes reap their share of glory at CIF track finals

EASTLAKE TITANS PLACE SECOND AMONG DIVISION I BOYS TEAMS

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Eastlake High School received a double dose of high jump hi-jinks as Justin Cardoza, left, won the boys event by clearing 6-8 and Macaria Moore-Bastide won the girls event by clearing 5-7 at last Saturday’s San Diego Section track and field championship meet at Mt. Carmel High School. Photo by Phillip Brents

The California Interscholastic Federation state track and field meet is back after going dark for the past two seasons because of the COVID-19 pandemic. South County athletes have responded to the call for participants in a big way and will be well represented at this weekend’s event (May 27-28) at Buchanan High School in Clovis.

South County athletes have qualified to compete in six events in the two-day meet. Preliminary qualifying is Friday, followed by finals on Saturday.

Eastlake and Otay Ranch high schools both are sending athletes to suburban Fresno.
Eastlake will have representation in three events by senior Justin Cardoza (boys high jump, long jump, triple jump), senior Brandon Buu in the boys triple jump, sophomore Shon Martin in the boys 110-meter high hurdles and senior Macaria Moore-Bastide in the girls high jump.

Otay Ranch will be represented in the boys 400-meter dash by senior Haydn Brotschi.
Cardoza is the first Eastlake athlete to qualify to compete at the state meet in three events.
Amazingly, he did so while making the best of the situation last weekend with a strained quadriceps muscle.

“I came in kind of wounded — my quad was kind of pulled,” he said. “I prayed.”

His prayers were obviously answered — as were those of his teammates.
The Titans are sending an impressive contingent of four athletes to this weekend’s state meet.

Eastlake High School senior Justin Cardoza bends his body over the high jump bar to win the event with a personal best-matching 6-8 clearance. Photos by Phillip Brents

Heavy metal
The top three place-finishers in each event out of all divisions at last Saturday’s San Diego Section championship meet t Mt. Carmel High School, plus those individuals who met pre-determined qualifying marks, advanced to Friday’s state prelims.

Events were run in multiple heats with athletes sorted by division for medals. Regardless of their place-finishes, athletes scored points for their respective teams.

Awards were presented by gender (male and female) and division (Division I, Division II and Division III). The top six place-finishers in each event received medals.

Mission Hills High School won the Division I boys team title with Eastlake High School placing second.

Poway won the Division I girls team title while Del Norte finished runner-up.

Mt. Carmel won the Division II boys title while Ramona finished runner-up.

Cathedral Catholic won the Division II girls team title while Mt. Carmel finished runner-up.
Mission Bay High School won the Division III boys team title while Francis Parker was second.

La Jolla captured the Division III girls team championship while La Jolla Country Day was second.

Eastlake medalists, from left, Asja Mujic, Justin Cardoza, Brandon Buu, Macaria Moore-Bastide. Photo by Phillip Brents

The stratospheric place-finish is not a first for a Titan team. Eastlake won Division II boys and girls championships in 2000.

Eastlake’s girls team finished ninth out of 31 Division I teams at this year’s section finals.

Among South County teams, Hilltop’s boys squad placed 13th out of 32 Division II teams while Olympian’s boys team placed 16th out of 31 teams in the Division I standings. Bonita Vista was 15th in the Division I girls standings.

Of note, Mater Dei Catholic placed fifth overall in the Division III girls standings while the Crusaders boys team finished 18th overall.

Metro Conference athletes totaled 37 medals overall.

On an individual basis, South County athletes racked up four divisional gold medals, 11 silver medals and one bronze medal.

Gold medalists included Cardoza (Division I boys high jump, 6-8), Buu (Division I boys triple jump, 45-4.75), Moore-Bastide (Division I girls high jump, 5-7) and Mater Dei Catholic sophomore Zoe Cruz (Division III girls discus throw, 102-5).

All but Cruz qualified for the state meet.

Full-blown qualifying for the state meet marks a return to normalcy for the sport, according to Steele Canyon coach Charles Tyler.

“We had a full season and we had a lot of invitationals,” said Tyler, whose team swept both gender dual meet and Grossmont Conference finals team championships. “Those Saturday meets were generally more competitive than the Thursday dual meets. We had an awesome chance to compete at a high level to help prepare us for CIF.”

Eastlake’s Justin Cardoza displays his happiness to get the opportunity to climb on the top rung of the awards podium. Photo by Phillip Brents

State of mind
Cardoza earned three medals at the preceding Mesa League finals (gold in the high jump and long jump and silver in the triple jump) en route to earning the league’s field athlete of the year.

At last Saturday’s CIF finals, he out-dueled section leader Leon Gillis of Steele Canyon, who had posted a state-leading 6-9 mark earlier this season. Gillis settled for second place in Division I medal parade with a clearance of 6-6 that was good enough to also qualify him for the state meet.

Cardoza (22-7.25) finished runner-up to Helix senior Tibyasa Matovu (22-8.75) among Division I long jumpers.

Cardoza placed second among Division I triple jumpers (to teammate Buu) with a mark of 44-7 while Matovu (44-5.25) was thrid in the division.

Both Cardoza and Matovu competed against Mission Bay sophomore Brandon Cheeks II in the long jump and triple jump.

Cheeks matched Cardoza at 6-8 to win the Division III gold medal in the high jump while recording 45-0.25 in the triple jump (Division III gold medal) and 23-2.5 in the triple jump (Division III gold medal).

Cardoza enters Friday’s state prelims tied with Cheeks for the top qualifying mark in the state in the high jump.

The 6-8 ties a career best mark for Cardoza.

“This is my second time winning it (the high jump) in CIF competition,” Cardoza said. “I won it last year at Division I (separate divisional meets were held because of COVID-19 protocols) and I won it at the Open meet (which stood in as the unofficial section finals). I hurt myself in the long jump (on Saturday) but I still had a PR.”

Moore-Bastide, who won the Mesa League title by clearing 5-3, tied a personal record to win this year’s girls high jump and qualify for the state meet.

She enters Friday’s state prelims tied with the third-best qualifying mark.

“It’s going to be my first time there, it’s exciting,” she said. “I’m looking forward to it. My goal is to clear 5-9 either at state or in college (San Francisco State).

Otay Ranch’s Haydn Brotschi qualified for the state meet in the boys 400 dash . Photos by Phillip Brents

State 400-meter dash qualifiers, from left, Helix Charter’s Adren Parker and Otay Ranch’s Haydn Brotschi. Photo by Phillip Brents

Both Martin and Brotschi competed in two individual events at last Saturday’s finals.
Martin, the Mesa League champion in the 110 high hurdles and 300 intermediate hurdles, qualified for the state meet in the 110 high hurdles with a time of 15.07 (second in the Division I field). He returned to the oval to place fourth in the division in the 300 intermediate hurdles with a time of 40.26.

Eastlake sophomore Shon Martin qualified for the state meet in the boys 110-meterhigh hurdles. Photos by Phillip Brents

Brotschi, the Mesa League champion in the 400 dash, qualified for the state meet in the quarter-mile with a time of 48.32 (second among Division I sprinters) and narrowly missed qualifying for the state meet in the 200 dash later in the day with a time of 21.99 (second in Division I).

The Otay Ranch standout missed out by an incredible 0.01 second as Ramona’s Cash Jones logged 21.98.

Division II champion Bryce Brock from Cathedral Catholic topped the section field at 21.40 but bowed out of competing at the state meet, which opened the door for Jones (second in Division II) to move up and qualify.

Division III champion Matthew Priest of Maranatha Christian timed 21.92 while Division I champion Lamar Smith of Mission Hills clocked 21.94.

Eastlake’s Brandon Buu and Justin Cardoza both qualified for the state meet in the boys triple jump. Photos by Phillip Brents

Buu, the reigning Mesa League triple jump champion, qualifies for the state meet for the first time despite winning last year’s Division I triple jump with a mark of 45-4.

“I’m just grateful to be able to go this year,” he said. “I’ve been waiting a long time to go. I still want to break 48 feet.”

He jumped 47-6 to win the event at this year’s league finals.

 

Eastlake’s Trey White managed a fourth-place finish in the Division I boys shot put. Photo by Phillip Brents
Hilltop High School senior Zachary Bernard placed fourth in the Division II boys shot put event. Photo by Phillip Brents
Hilltop senior Jimmy Byland led the boys 3200-meter run for three turns before falling back to finish fifth overall, second among Division II runners. Photo by Phillip Brents

Eastern Exposure

FOUR ATHLETES GRAB INDIVIDUAL CIF EVENT CHAMPIONSHIPS, THREE RELAY TEAMS ARE ALSO GOLDEN

East County athletes qualified to compete in nine events for the upcoming state meet. Helix Charter, Steele Canyon, Santana and Liberty Charter high schools each are sending athletes to suburban Fresno.

Helix will have representation in the boys 4×100-meter relay (freshman Laurence Burston, junior Adren Parker and seniors Xavier Van and Jared Jones), boys 400-meter dash (Parker), boys long jump (senior Tibyassa Matovu) and boys 4×400-meter relay (Parker, Van, Matovu and senior Ethan Denison).

Steele Canyon’s qualifiers are in the girls 400 dash (senior Arionn Livingston), boys high jump (senior Leon Gillis) and boys 4×400 relay (seniors Nathaniel Gillis and Samuel Cook, junior Benito Villa and sophomore Michael Dodds).

Santana will be represented in the girls long jump and triple jump by junior Jenna Fields.
Liberty Charter’s breakthrough to the state meet comes in the 1600 run via junior Micah Sanchez.

Helix High School senior Tibyasa Matovu flew to the gold medal in the Division I boys long jump at last Saturday’s San Diego Section championship meet en route to secure a qualifying berth in this weekend’s state meet. Photo by Phillip Brents
Among East County teams, Helix Charter placed fourth among Division I boys teams while El Capitan placed fifth among Division II boys teams.

Of note, Steele Canyon finished sixth in the 29-deep Division I girls field and seventh in the boys field.

West Hills, Santana, El Capitan and Monte Vista finished eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th, respectively, in the Division II girls team standings.

On an individual basis, East County athletes racked up seven divisional gold medals, nine silver medals and 15 bronze medals.

Helix Charter’s Adren Parker — gold medalist, Division I boys 400-meter dash. Photo by Phillip Brents
El Capitan’s Xavier Peace — gold medalist Division II boys 400-meter run. Photo by Phillip Brents
Liberty Charter’s Micah Sanchez — gold medalist Division III boys 1600-meter run. Photo by Phillip Brents

 

Individual division gold medalists included Helix’s Parker (Division I boys 400 dash, 47.31) and Matovu (boys long jump, 22-8.75), El Capitan senior Xavier Peace (Division II boys 400 dash, 49.87) and Liberty Charter’s Sanchez (Division III boys 1600, 4:16.80).

All but Peace qualified for the state meet.

CIF division champion relay teams included Helix’s 4×400 boys unit in Division I (3:19.19), El Capitan’s boys 4×400 quartet in Division II (3:24.48) and West Hills’ girls 4×400 squad in Division II (4:02.22).

Steele Canyon’s xxx, left, and Arionn Livingstone (state qualifer) show their solidarity after earning medals in the girls 400-meter dash. Photo by Phillip Brents
Steele Canyon’s Arionn Livingston speeds to the finish line. Photo by Phillip Brents
Steele Canyon’s Livingston (second in Division II, 56.70) and Leon Gillis (second in Division I, 6-6) both advanced to the state meet among the top three qualifiers in their respective events as did Santana’s Fields in the long jump (second in Division II, 18-1.5) and triple jump (second in Division II, 37-8).

Helix’s boys 4×100 relay team (second in Division I, 42.03) and Steele Canyon’s boys 4×400 relay team (third in Division I, 3:22.20) also placed high enough to qualify for the state meet.

El Capitan’s boys 4×400 relay team included Aundrey Calvert, Peace, Austin Calvert and Ryan Quamina while West Hills’ winning 4×400 foursome included Savanna Gillespie, Taylor Koshiol, Bella Crescitelli and Alexis Leath.

Steele Canyon finished as this year’s Grossmont Hills League dual meet champions in both gender fields as well as champions in both gender fields at the ensuing conference championship meet.

Full-blown qualifying for the state meet marks a return to normalcy for the sport, according to Steele Canyon coach Charles Tyler.

“We had a full season and we had a lot of invitationals,” Tyler said. “Those Saturday meets were generally more competitive than the Thursday dual meets. We had an awesome chance to compete at a high level to help prepare us for CIF.”

Steele Canyon’s Leon Gills ranked among the state leaders at 6-9 earlier this season but settled for second place at the section finals. Photos by Phillip Brents

State of mind
Livingston won four conference championship titles prior to the start of CIF qualifying by snaring titles in the 200 and 400 dashes and both the 4×100 and 4×400 relays. The Lady Cougars placed third in the 4×100 relay (49.16) and sixth in the 4×400 relay (4:01.42) at last Saturday’s Division I finals.

“I’m a little nervous,” Livingston admitted. “It’s my first time at state and coming in as a senior is a little overwhelming. But I’m ready to compete.”

Fields, who attended Cathedral Catholic High School before returning home to Santee to attend Santana this year, also competed in the 100 dash at last Saturday’s section finals, placing eighth in 12.76 among Division II sprinters.

She has the somewhat rare opportunity to compete at the state meet, to get all the jitters out, prior to her senior year.

“I’m so excited to go to state to see who I’m up against,” she said. “I’m even more excited to see my improvement for next year.”

Santana’s Jenna Fields, double CIF medalist. Photo by Phillip Brents

Leon Gillis led the state with a mark of 6-9 earlier in the season.

“It was a good experience (qualifying for state) but the job is not finished,” he said. “I want to bounce back from this.”

Parker qualified to compete in three events at this weekend’s state meet: 4×100 relay, 400 dash and 4×400 relay. He won four events at the preceding conference finals: 200 and 400 dashes and both relay events.

“It feels good,” said Parker, who competes in football and track. “It’s what we worked for. We expected to go through. It feels like the hard work paid off. In the 400, I really stick to my race strategy and not get ahead of myself.”

Matovu nearly matched Parker’s three event state qualifying bonanza after placing third in the Division I boys triple jump (44-5.25), fourth-best in state qualifying.

“It’s all about focus,” Matovu said. “I came out with the mindset that I was going to win (the long jump) and I did it,” he said. “Putting in the work results in performance.”

Steele Canyon finished arrears of Helix in both the boys 4×100 and 4×400 relays at the conference finals.

“We still have work to do,” Villa said. “We’re coming for that No. 1 spot.”
So are a lot of other teams.

Helix Charter state qualifier 4×400 boys relay team. Photo by Phillip Brents
Steele Canyon state qualifier 4×400 boys relay team. Photo by Phillip Brents
West Hills girls 4×400 relay team – Division II gold medalist. Photo by Phillip Brents
El Capitan boys 4×400 relay team — Division II gold medalist. Photo by Phillip Brents

Hear them roar
Division III provided a suitable spotlight for some of the section’s smaller programs at last Saturday’s section championship meet.

Mountain Empire senior Lukas Spenser finished second among boys triple jumpers (42-5.25) while freshman Shayden Kaiser placed fourth in the girls 300-meter low hurdles (50.29) and seventh in the girls long jump (15-3.5).

The Liberty Charter Lions netted eight top-eight place-finishers.

Mountain Empire’s Lukas Spenser — silver medalist in boys shot put. Photo by Phillip Brents
Mountain Empire’s Shayden Kaiser placed fourth in the Division II girls 300-meter hurdles. Photo by Phillip Brents
Metro athletes reap their share of glory at CIF track finals