Record-setting day at CA Winter Championships

There were six repeat champions, three that broke their own meet record, one who broke it twice and 15 records in all at the CA Winter Championships on Feb. 17 at Arcadia HS.

Of thos records, 10 were by girls, including Faimalie Sale (WT), Laurel Wong (PV), Danae Dyer (60H), and Silas Hurst (WT) improving on their own meet standards. Wong is the lone junior in that elite group.

Dyer, Sale, Wong and Hurst led a group of title defenders from 2017 that also included Micah Fulton (TJ), Josh Farmer (pentathlon) and the both the boys and girls teams from Great Oak, who competed under the banner of the South Temecula Track Club.

Three athletes were double winners Saturday: Sale (SP and WT), junior Fatima Cortes (1,500 and 3,000), and senior Jalyn Jackson (LJ and TJ). With double-meet records as well.

Sale, the senior thrower from Los Alamitos/SS bound for the University of Arizona, went 41-11.5 in the shot put and 54-6.50 in the weight throw, a school and Orange County record, as well as one of the top-ranked marks in the U.S.

Jackson, from Chula Vista Eastlake/SDS, is the No. 2 returner in both the long jump and triple jump from the CIF-State finals in June. His marks on an unseasonably warm Feb. 17 into the deep sandboxes at Arcadia would have won last year's State LJ title (24-5.50) by 1.75 inches and would have just missed winning the TJ crown (48-8) by less than a foot. Apples and oranges, probably, but Jackson served notice that it's going to take major bounce to beat him come June. 

Wong, who bettered her PR by an inch and had a couple of strong attempts at 13-6.25, said she expects to shoot for 14-feet as the season progresses. 

Other records included the Chino girls sprint medley relay team of Valeia Payne, Leila Liggins, Pamela Booker and Brita Liggins (1:48.65) and Claremont's girls distance medley relay team of Sarah Ayala, Alyssa Cantrell, Tess Rounds and Sydney Hwang (12:17.75).

Hurst, a senior at Corona Santiago, is a three-time CA Winter Championships winner in the weight throw after heaving the 25-pound implement a meet record and PR of 70-10, among the best throws nationally. Hurst is a versatile thrower who just missed the State meet in both the shot and disc last spring. 

Speaking of the shot, Daniel Viveros, a junior at Bakersfield Liberty, had a huge winning throw of 62-8.5. In the mixing of outdoor indoor meets with true indoor competition elsewhere across the country, that mark ranks top-10 in the U.S. this winter. That's a PR for Viveros, who was third at State as a sophomore last spring, peaking there with a PR of 62-4.5.

Cortes, the junior who burst onto the scene with her emphatic and stunning CIF-SS D1 XC victory, served notice that that was no fluke. First in the 1,500, she emerged out of the chase back to reel in La Costa Canyon senior McKenna Brown and then flew past the former CA leader at that distance, sprinting the final 300 to a stunning 4:30.55!! 

Norwalk's consistently impressive Misty Diaz closed strong for second (4:36.65) with Brown third (4:37.31) and freshman sensation Mia Barnett (Village Christian/SS) fourth (4:38.93).

It was a loaded 1,500 field for a February in an event that is absolutely stocked with huge talent across CA. Keep in mind that eight of the 12 finalists in the 1,600 at State are back, including Maddy Denner, Olivia O'Keeffe, Rylee Bowen and Brown, who placed 1-2-4-5 at Buchanan HS last June. 

Cortes' 1,500 mark was on pace for a 4:50.44 1,600. Denner's winning time last June: 4:44.59.

Cortes came back later Saturday afternoon with an equally impressive victory in the 3,000 (10:03.05). With sophomore teammate Tori Gaitan next at (10:05.38).

Dyer, the senior from Temecula Valley, not only defended her title in the 60 hurdles but she broke her own meet record, not once, but twice! She took down her winning standard from 2017 of 8.72 with a blistering 8.69 in the prelims and did herself one better with an 8.49 in the final. And she needed every bit of it with the equally exceptional Breanna Bernard-Joseph (Roosevelt/SS) also dipping under the record for second in 8.63 with Carter's Mya Greene third (8.80).

In an all-San Diego Showdown: Quoi Ellis (Mt Carmel) held off Kenan Christon (Madison) in the boys 60 (7.00 to 7.01). The girls short sprint wasn't as close with Calabasas senior Deanna Nowling (7.56) rolling past Rancho (Nevada) Teleda Williams (7.65).

Sale wasn't the only winner from Los Alamitos. Senior Kevin Schmitt set a record in winning the high jump with a 6-7 clearance. Schmitt was second last year at 6-2, when conditions weren't as favorable. And, in the girls 600, sophomore Alyssa Blockburger (1:34.44) held off Roosevelt junior Alexys Ford (1:34.82) and Riverside Poly senior Kalea Ibarra (1:34.84). Only two-time CIF-State 800 champion Alyssa Brewer ran faster for 600 meters (1:32.40) this winter.

Carson also produced multiple champions in Jo'non Young, one of CA's elite returning girls long jumpers (19-4.75), Andre Butt II in the 60 hurdles (8.38 in the final, 8.37 for the top time in prelims), and the boys 4x200 relay team of Elijah Rice, Dejonte Thomas, Anthony Richardson, Butt II (1:29.86).

On the topic of jumpers serving notice, Fulton, the Pasadena Muir senior, set a meet record with a 41-5 triple jump. She is one of three returning 40-plus jumpers from last year's State Meet, along with Kali Hatcher (St. Mary's College HS/NC) and Allanah Lee (Castro Valley/NC). Those two and Fulton finished 23-4 to Tara Davis at State.

Because of issues with the standards, the girls pole vault suffered through delays that pushed the start of the boys competition into the late afternoon after the rest of the meet was over and most of the well-attended event's patrons had departed. Because of a previous commitment to the field, the boys' vault pit needed to be set up off the field on the far end of the football end zone. 

But the wait was worth it for  Burbank Burroughs/SS senior Christian Valles, who cleared on his first attempt at 15-1 to beat Skyler Magula, who cleared 14-7 but missed at 15-1.

Trevor Sheldon (Mission Hills) and Logan Flores (Gilroy) also cleared 14-7. Valles, who's outdoor/indoor of 15-3.50 was set last weekend at the Simi Valley Winter Qualifier, had previously PRd at 15-0 at last spring's CIF-SS Masters meet. 

He made three attempts at 15-7 to end the night and put a wrap on an extremely entertaining track meet to launch us into the 2018 CIF season. 

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