Farmer's historic decathlon leads San Diegans at Arcadia

ARCADIA -- After an absolutely disastrous start to the decathlon on Friday, Rancho Bernardo High's Josh Farmer closed with a phenomenal second day to record a score of 6,963 points, the third best in state history, Saturday at the 51st Arcadia Invitational.

 While he was pleased, he was also disappointed with the way things could have gone.

 "I was looking for 7,000 points," said Farmer, who recorded three personal bests over the two-day event to win by 596 points. "If I'd have gone off in the 100 like I should have, 7,200 was possible and 7,000 very realistic."

 About that 100-meter dash, the very first event.

 Knowing that in the decathlon you get three false starts before being disqualified, the University of Colorado-bound senior said he tried to time the start but was certain he'd jumped the gun. There was no recall.

 Staggering, he fell to the track, pushed off with both hands and got back up to clock a time of 11.67 seconds.

 His best: 11.24.

 "I was trying for an 11.00 or so," said the 6-foot-3, 175-pounder. "(The false start) was the first time that's ever happened to me. I didn't think 'what do I do?' "

 As if that weren't bad  enough, he said the experience affected him in another of his best events, the long jump, where he's gone better than 22 feet and only hit 20-10 ½.

 Having the shot put next was a bonus.

 "I could get mad and take it out on the shot," said Farmer who regained his composure, getting PRs in the high jump at 6-foot-6 and the 400 at 50.12 to set up the big second day.

 He opened with a fine 15.03 in the 110-meter hurdles, had the second best mark in the discus at 138-2, cleared 11-9 ¼ in his weakest event, the pole vault, and got another PR in the javelin at 157-1, meaning he'd have to clock a 4:28 for 1600 meters to get his 7,000 points.

 Although he's run that fast, a slight wind and the impact of two tough days of competition left him just short at 4:33.63.

 It's the No. 3 mark in state history, which motivates him even more to compete in the U.S. Junior National decathlon June 15-17 at Indiana University.

 Reminded about the 100 fiasco, he could just wince. 

 "I've got to get another one in to get 7,000 points," he said.

 Farmer comes from a long line of quality multi-event family members.

 His grandfather, Dixon, was nationally-ranked in the heptathlon while at Occidental College and his father, Matt, is still listed in numerous events from when he attended Monte Vista High in Spring Valley where he also did a decathlon and scored 6,242 points, a mark Josh surpassed a year ago. 


 When La Costa Canyon's McKenna Brown ran a state-leading 4:47.61 for 1600 meters at Stanford last week, she established herself as one of the state's best.

 She did it again Saturday when she captured the Invitational mile run in 4:49.63.


 Eastlake's Leyla McFarland announced last spring that she would not be running cross country or track so she could focus on Academy soccer.

 While she didn't run cross country, after talking with a friend recently she realized her Academy soccer and track really didn't conflict, so two weeks ago she came out, just in time to lead the Titans to a key dual meet win over Olympian.

 "I missed it," she said of not running track. "I'm a half a season behind everyone but hopefully, I'll keep improving until CIF (the San Diego Section championships)."

 A middle distance runner in the past, she is running the 400 to get into shape and clocked a 1:00.30 Saturday in the afternoon portion of the Arcadia meet, well behind the 56.54 she ran a year ago. She might not even run the 400 come May.

"I'm running the 300 hurdles," she said with a smile. "I run fast between the hurdles and I'm working on my hurdle form."

Translation: Although she's 5-foot-9, she's still learning some of the intricacies of the event.


The San Diego Section did well in the afternoon portion of the meet with Mia Cervantes of Poway winning with a personal best and section-leading 12-feet-1 and Rancho Bernardo's Brian Sperry finished fourth at 14-7.

Sperry barely missed becoming the fourth Broncos vaulter over 15-feet with his final attempt at 15-1. 

Cervantes had things work out well for her when she didn't miss a height in the pole vault until she attempted-and made-a personal and section seasonal best 12-feet, 1-inch. When Cervantes and two others failed at 12-7, she was declared the winner of the day session, qualifying to come back for the invitational five hours later.

On one of her attempts at 12-7 she barely brushed off the bar.

 "I love the competitive atmosphere," said Cervantes, who leaned back and gave out a sigh of relief when the final contestant missed. "I'd never tried 12-7, so I'm very happy."

 Cervantes earned a spot in the evening Invitational with her victory and repeated her PR at 12-1.


 A week ago, El Centro Southwest's Tyler Saikhon skimmed over all of the hurdles in the 110-meter highs after getting a fast start and clocked a section-best 14.57 seconds.

Sometimes the hurdles win, though.

That's just what happened to Saikhon Saturday after being the fastest qualifier in the day session.

 "I had a terrible start and hit every hurdle," said the UC Davis recruit. "A week ago I was flying over the hurdles."

 Saikhon might be the section best all-around athlete, leading Southwest to the section football title, into the section basketball championships and the clear leader in the 110-high hurdles.



 Eastlake's Jalyn Jackson celebrated being accepted to Cal on a track scholarship by winning the triple jump at 49-10.5.

 "The best thing is all of my jumps but one were beyond 49 feet," said Jackson whose long jump short of 49 was 48-11.75. The rest of the series was 49-3, 49-4.5 and 49-4.5 with one foul.

 "This was a big stepping stone and I want to get 50 before state."

 The mark was aided by a legal 0.9 mps wind. Among Jackson's victims was Great Oak's C.J. Stevenson, who beat him at state a year ago and is the state leader at 50-5.