A football injury may have cost La Costa Canyon senior Karson Lippert his track season. (Clark Kranz photo)
SAN DIEGO -- Although the rain (OK, in San Francisco it's called heavy fog) and cold (by Southern California standards) kept away many of the big-name athletes who were looking to open the season at the Mt. Carmel Field-Distance Invitational, there were several solid marks (considering) and some news.
For starters, it's looking less and less like 2017 state 400-meter runner-up Karson Lippert of La Costa Canyon will be competing this season.
After running a 46.91 to just miss the San Diego Section record of 46.85 by Morse's Lydell Burston in 1996, it seemed an almost sure thing that Lippert would decimate the standard with his torrid finishing kick.
But Lippert was also a football player and that fall he suffered a leg injury that put him behind in his training. He appeared to be close to his best when he pulled up in the 4x100 relay last spring at the CIF-SDS prelims with a hamstring tear.
He again played football for a half-season before again suffering a leg injury this past fall before accepting a track scholarship to Stanford.
This time the injury, combined with a shortened track season, seems to have prevented him from making a full recovery. LCC coach Bill Vice said he doubts Lippert will be able to compete this spring but he left the door open.
There will still be a Lippert, however, as his sophomore brother, Aiden Lippert, opened with a 22.54-50.88 double in a dual meet against Rancho Bernardo.
Meanwhile, this was going to be the coming out party for the section's pole vaulters who are expected to be contenders in the State Meet. Rain and pole vaulting definitely do not mix, so Rancho Bernardo's Jacob Rice, who cleared 16-4 indoors at the National Pole Vault Summit in Reno in January and had two 15-6 dual meet backups, joined the Poway girls trio in deciding to wait for better weather.
It hit other events, too, as Coronado's Alysah Hickey, a 5-10 high jumper, decided not to compete when the puddles on the approach apron got deeper and deeper. Instead she took a long jump, went a wind-legal 19-feet, and called it a day. This week, Hickey is in New York for the New Balance Nationals Indoor, where she is entered in the long jump competition.
But there were some good performances, too.
Mission Vista's Bella Longo and Sage Creek's Skyler Wallace posted nice distance times with Longo capturing the 1600 at 5:06.17 at the wettest time of the day and Wallace running away with the 3200 at 11:01.1.
Leading up to the meet, there were some smoking times in early dual meets.
Then there was the Scripps Ranch 4x100 relay team that raced in the Long Beach Poly Invite, clocking 47.94 which would have been the fourth-fastest time in the section last year.
Interview with the team from that meet:
Of course, more rain is predicted for the Rancho Bernardo Invitational this weekend but hopefully by the time the Mt. Carmel Invitational is staged March 23, more seasonably warm weather will help. Meet director Dennis McClanahan has confirmed that both Long Beach Poly and Long Beach Wilson are entered.
Poly's boys are the early favorites for the state team title. The Jackrabbits' 4x1 team has run 42.00 and they lead the state in the DMR, 4x200 and SMR (800m). Poly is all about sprints, however, Jackrabbits' senior William Frankenfeld is one of the state's top distance runners who was a Foot Locker National Finalist and first team all-american.
Long Beach Wilson is led by junior Rachel Glenn, who is shared the high jump title at the CIF-State Meet last June and currently has the state's best 400m, 55.45 run last Saturday in the rain at Vista Murrieta's Saddle Up Invitational.