Jaguar Invitational challenges San Diego's finest

VALLEY CENTER -- Oceanside El Camino's Nu'u Tuilafano watched as her effort in the girls' shot put kissed line signifying 45-feet.

Her elation was short-lived, however, as the Wildcats senior could not stop her momentum and she fouled the effort she wanted so badly at the Jaguar Invitational Saturday at Valley Center High.

 "I watched the shot too long," said Tuilafano, whose season best is 44-5, No. 5 in the state.

 "I was falling backwards and couldn't stop. The thing is, I've hit 45 in practice, so it's just a matter of time. The good news, all of my throws but one were over 40-feet. It takes me a while to get going and my last throws are always my best."

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 The18-year-old who is still mulling where to attend college said she is now setting her sights on the Escondido Invitational in two weeks.

 "I always throw well there," she promised.

  It wasn't a complete wash for Tuilafano who got a season high in the discus at 138-3, surpassing her previous best of 136-4 and also setting a meet record. It's still well behind the 145-6 she tossed a year ago.

 MARTINEZ DE PINILLOS A HALF-MILER?

 Distance running standout Joaquin Martinez de Pinillos stepped down to the 800 and said he, "felt weird." Not bad weird, though.

 Martinez de Pinillos, who missed all but the last two weeks of last year's track season but posted a fine 9:10.07 3200-meter at Arcadia, not only won the 800, he clocked a fine 1:56.91 to set a meet record, surging past the 1:56.94 run by Fallbrook's Justin Jones in 2011.

 "I'm glad I ran but it's probably the last 800 of the season (in an invitational) for me," said the senior. "It was fun, it was something fresh."

 It also might give his competitors at state second thoughts about having one of those tactical races that comes down to a last-lap kick. Martinez de Pinillos clearly has some speed as he surged to take control with 300 meters to go and scorched the final straightaway.

 "I didn't get that disappointed feeling you get after a race when you don't do as well as you wanted," he said. "I hate that feeling. I wanted something under 1:57 and I got it. My 'reach goal' in the 800 would be a 1:55-which is crazy fast.

 "My goal for the year is to break 9-something around 8:55. I really don't care about time, I just want to win state."  

 JUMPIN' JACKSON

 Another state-level athlete to feel frustration was Eastlake's Jalyn Jackson, who appeared to long jump more than 25-feet only to have the red flag appear. Pictures of the scratch showed it to be about an inch.

 "I don't know if it was 25, but it was high 24 for sure," said Jackson, whose best legal effort was 24-2. "I'm really disappointed about the foul. That felt like my best jump ever but at least now I know I can do it."

 Jackson came back later in the evening portion of the meet to capture the triple jump in 47-7.5.

 Both horizontal jumps were meet records.

 ELLIS SURPRISED

 Mt. Carmel's Quoi Ellis -- his first name is pronounced coy -- heard his winning 100-meter time of 10.63 and was genuinely surprised but even more so when the wind reading was a perfect 2.0 meters per second.

 "Before the race it felt like 3.0 or something," said Ellis who ran a wind-aided 10.66 a year ago and finished second in the Mt. Carmel Invitational at 10.69 earlier this season.

 "That's a decent time but I'll admit I'd be a lot happier with a time in the 10.50s-even 10.59."

 Ellis has been having a running duel with Madison's Kenan Christon, who did not run at Valley Center. The Sundevil senior says he missed Christon.

 "Honestly, I wish he were here," said Ellis. "We have a friendly rivalry. We even trained together for the indoor championships. I like competition and we've been close."

 Very close. At Arcadia last week, Christin was fifth in the 100 and one-hundreth of a second back was Ellis.

 In the 200, Ellis went 21.44 in the seeded heat so Christon had to respond in the invitational, which he did in 21.42.

 "When we go to the state meet, we'll go representing San Diego the best we can," said Ellis. 

 HURDLES HOT

 San Diego's Sonia Redon and Vista's Alia Scott were dominant in the two girls' hurdles races.

 Redon, a junior who hit 15.00 last week, showed she was ready to drop time as she clocked a 14.91 to win in the daytime.

 "I felt like I was flowing; I had momentum," said Redon.  "I try not to think of form or anything when I get out of the blocks. I pray and let my training determine how I do. My practices are intense and I'm looking to get down to 14.5 by state."

 As for Scott, who is trained by former section record-holder Danielle Littleton (14.13 in the 100-meter hurdles at Vista in 2009), she sped to a meet record 44.16 in the 300s. That's behind the eye-opening 43.44 she ran in the daytime at Arcadia last week.

 "This meet was only San Diego schools and Arcadia is another level altogether," said Scott. "Danielle is like a second mom to me, saying I need to be going up the ladder (on the all-time list) and down on my times.

 "That time was OK because I haven't done any speed work. I've only worked on my technique but now I'm ready to get speed work in."


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