Recap from 'The Qualifer' at Covina

Covina's Katelyn Vuong is all smiles after winning the girls varsity 800. (John Murphy photo)


COVINA - Experience was the name of the game Saturday at The Qualifier held under partially cloudy skies at the Covina Valley District Field, the newest athletic venue in the San Gabriel Valley. 

The meet offered all field events for all levels, along with many individual events and relays, giving athletes and teams the seasoning they'll need for the rest of the season. 

"Things have gone smoothly," meet director Kevin Glaspy said at mid-meet. "We've had great weather, it's been on time and we have great attendance. I couldn't be more pleased." 

Certainly St. John Bosco multi-sport athlete Nathaniel Jones was happy after finishing in 11.27 seconds in the 100 meters to easily win the boys frosh-soph race. He is also a running back in football who new Braves' offensive coordinator Steve Lo will no doubt be eager to employ. 

"I feel good," Jones said. "I've had shin splints, but other than that I feel good. I think I can go lower." 

St. John Bosco's Nathaniel Jones breezed to victory in the frosh-soph 100 meters. (John Murphy photo)

Also excelling was Covina's petite sophomore Katelyn Vuong, who set a school record in the 800 meters. The 5-foot-2, 100-pound runner finished in 2:20.51, breaking the old standard of 2:21.50 by Demi Marine.  

"I'm so happy," Vuong said. "I didn't think I'd be able to set it. I was nervous before the race, but I went out fast and thought I should be on pace to do it." 

Pleased as well on this St. Patrick's Day was Covina coach Andrew Tachias.

"I'm happy," Tachias said. "I switched her from the 800 last year. I think that by the time she's a senior, she'll be the best distance runner Covina has ever had." 

Another middle-distance runner with no complaints was Valencia's Kai Wingo, who won the boys varsity 800 in 1:58.72. Wingo, too, said he had some pre-race jitters. 

"I was super nervous," he said. "I get nervous for all races. But my dad says not to think about the other runners and just concentrate on myself. I beat my (personal) record, so I'm happy." 

Valencia's colorful coach, Jeff Gilkey, was satisfied enough with Wingo's effort. 

"He got his PR and he's qualified for Arcadia," Gilkey said. "He was running all alone out there, so it was tough. He went out a little fast, but otherwise ran a smart race." 

Riverside County also made its presence felt, as senior Jaden Ellis of Vista del Lago sprinted to victory in 41.43 seconds in the 300-meter hurdles. Ellis also captured the 110-meter hurdles in 14.98. 

"I can do better," Ellis said. "My ankle hurts. It happened in the last meet (against Pacific). I'd like to get down to 39 seconds and then shoot for 38." 

More highlights:  

  • Shadow Hills junior Nyah Chavez won the girls 3,200 meters in 11:25.70 and the 1,600 in 5:36. 
  • Valencia senior Britain Reynolds captured boys 3,200 in 9:31.85. 
  • La Canada senior Claire Murray won the girls 100-meter hurdles in 14.87.  
  • The St. John Bosco boys 400-meter "A" relay team won in 42.40, defeating Chaminade (42.53). 
  • Shadow Hills senior Isaiah Gonzalez captured the boys 1,600 in 4:31.45. 
  • Downey senior Mario Marsetti won the boys 400 in 51.04, beating teammate Jacob Guerrero (52.19) who finished second. 
  • The St. John Bosco boys 3,200-meter relay team prevailed in 8:11.17. 
  • Valencia senior Jaliyah Berkley won the girls 100 in 12.47. 
  • St. John Bosco dominated in the boys 100 with junior Colby Bowman winning in 10.95 and teammate Level Price, a senior, second in 10.98. 
  • Chaminade sophomore Jazmin Jackson won the girls 300-meter hurdles in 48.12. 
  • The Valencia girls "A" distance medley relay prevailed in 12:58.88. 
  • The St. John Bosco boys "A" distance medley relay won in 11:12.80. 
  • The Orange Lutheran boys 1,600-meter relay team won in 3:25.88. 
  • Chaminade senior Adonis Brown won the boys long jump with a leap of 21 feet and Chaminade frosh-soph boys long jumper Kenny Lattimore, only a freshman, won with a leap of 20-2.50. He is the son of R&B singer Kenny Lattimore. 
  • South Pasadena junior Ashley Hugasian won the girls triple jump (33-9).  
  • Valencia senior Tanner Berney captured the boys triple jump (44-9.50). 
  • Silverado freshman Grace Cunningham won the girls high jump (5-4).  
  • Silverado senior Suzanne Guerrero captured the girls pole vault (10-6).  
  • Chino junior Matthew Garcia Jr. won the boys pole vault (13-6).  
  • Norco junior Evelyn Garcia won the girls shot put (35-4.50).  
  • St. John Bosco senior Sal Spina took the boys shot put (47 feet).    
  • Shadow Hills senior Victoria Soto won the girls discus (104-9).