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TORRANCE -- With 112 individual championships, 16 relay titles and eight team trophies at stake, it wasn't all going to hold to form at Saturday's CIF-Southern Section Division Championship Finals.
The epic meet that determines 128 CIF-SS champions between divisions 1-4, went mostly as predicted.
But expectations from a spreadsheet go out the window in a flash when a baton hits the track, a runner twitches a tad early out of the blocks, or an unexpected personal best effort turns out to make a huge difference.
Before we get into dissecting how the girls at Eastvale Roosevelt earned their first ever Division 1 team championship over Long Beach Poly on the last girls race on the track, let's first acknowledge the other seven giddy groups to walk out of the stadium at El Camino College with a sizable plaque.
Among the boys, where the Long Beach Poly girls fell just a couple points short, the Jackrabbit -- Trackrabbit -- boys left no doubt in Division 1, winning the program's first boys team title since 2007! In easily claimed the title 82-46 over runner-up, Upland (who earned their plaque with 16 points in the two final events of the day to leapfrog Vista Murrieta by one point).
In Division 2, on the strength of thrower Carlos Aviles and four-event star Derek Pekar, Ventura won for the first time since 1999. In Division 3, led by senior Brayden Borquez, Harvard Westlake won for the second year in a row. In Division 4, depth was the name of the game as Oaks Christian compiled points from seemingly everywhere to win for the fourth year in a row.
Among the girls, the Division 2 race took a hit two weeks ago when Calabasas lost huge points to disqualification, and despite four individual titles from the Coyotes, Mission Viejo capitalized on the opportunity behind a deep and veteran distance and throws group.
In Division 3, senior Tessa Green, sophomore Lauren Memoly and two strong relay teams made sure Santa Margarita would win a fifth consecutive title despite significant losses to graduation from the 2018 title team.
And finally in Division 4, a year after having its four-year title streak snapped by eventual overall state champion Gardena Serra, Oaks Christian reclaimed the winner's plaque.
The top nine in the lane races and the top 12 in the distances and field events, regardless of division, advanced to next Saturday's CIF-SS Masters Meet, also at El Camino College.
Team scoring in places 1-8 went as follows: 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1.
Here's an initial division-by-division breakdown:
Long Beach Wilson junior Rachel Glenn won three individual events in helping the Bruins to a fourth place overall total. Glenn defended her title in the high jump (5-06), and won the 100 hurdles (14.44) and the 300 hurdles (41.48). The other multiple winner in the division was Chino Hills sophomore Jacqueline Duarte in the 800 (2:11.66) and 1600 (4:50.35). Great Oak senior Fatima Cortes was second in both of those races (2:12.24/4:51.32).
Saundria Martin helped Long Beach Poly's push for a plaque by winning the 100 (11.83) and placing second in the 200 (24.23). Poly's Queen Okoh was second in the 100 (12.06). The Jackrabbits also won the 4x100 relay (46.62) to beat Roosevelt (47.13).
But the Mustangs picked up 15 points in the throws when senior Lydia Liu won the discus throw (157-01) and placed fourth in the shot put (39-02). In contrast, Poly lost huge points with senior hurdler Kenya Payne false started in the 300 hurdles and was disqualified.
Roosevelt had five others contribute points: freshman Naomi Johnson was fourth in the 400 (55.56), senior Alexys Ford was sixth in the 800 (2:15.80), junior Myah Hatcher was fourth in the 300 hurdles (45.38), senior Erika Flaherty was second in the pole vault (12-00), and senior Chaselyn Amos was fifth in the long jump (17-09.75/0.0).
Other D1 girls champions included Upland freshman Caelyn Harris in the long jump (19-03.50), Great Oak sophomore Summer Stevenson in the triple jump (39-09.00) and West Ranch senior Natalie Ramirez winning the D1 shot put (47-09.75 for CA No. 2) a year after winning both throws in D2.
Aside from the Poly runaway in the boys team competition, Upland senior Caleb Lutalo Roberson was the top individual in the division, winning the 100 (10.59/0.6) and running a U.S. No. 1 time in the 300 hurdles (36.35/CA No. 15 AT). He also led off the winning 4x400 relay team (3:13.95) with a 47.8 split.
Newbury Park junior Nico Young posted the meet's fastest time in the 3200, running away in his combined-division race 8:54.89. Continuing to make it look relatively painless, Young came through at 4:34 and left the pack to conclude with a 4:21 on the backside of his victory. Poly senior William Frankenfeld was second in 9:11.33.
Among other points picked up by Poly, Kansas State-bound senior Kenyon Reed won the 200 (21.52/-0.2), and senior Liam Anderson won the 110 hurdles (14.39/-0.8). Anderson came back to claim a fourth place medal in the 300 Hurdles (39.16) while Reed was runner-up in the 100 (10.68/0.6) as the pair combined for 33 points.
Vista Murrieta sophomore Darius Hill won the high jump (6-08) and was third in the long jump (22-05/-0.8) in helping the Mustangs to a third-place team finish, just one point behind runner-up Upland (46-45).
Valencia senior Kai Wingo continues to be the class of the state in the 800, lowering his state-best time to 1:52.08 but he needed every bit of it to hold off a charging Mason Ratkovich of Loyola, who was second in 1:52.38. In one of the most dominant group efforts on the day, eight of the nine qualifiers move on to next week's Masters Meet!
Elbettar fouled his first and last attempts, threw 184-09 on his second attempt and 193-03 on his third attempt to win the title. Aviles was consistently progressive on his four attempts -- 172-08, 187-10, 188-09 and 191-09 -- for second place and eight big points toward Ventura's team total.
Aviles' double runner-up medals earned Ventura 16 valuable points in a narrow 4.50-point team victory over Mater Dei. Pekar picked up 20 points, placing second in the 110 hurdles and pole vault, sixth in the long jump and eighth in the 300 hurdles.
Calabasas was third in the team race, led by freshman sprinter Nicholas Gates who won -- WON!! -- both the 100 (10.79/0.9) and 200 (21.72/1.8). Mater Dei senior Chad Lemmons was second in both the 100 (10.82) and 200 (21.75) and helped the Monarchs' 4x100 relay team to victory (42.04).
Among the girls, Mission Viejo's distance crew picked up 15 points in the 800 as senior Morgan Calcagnie won the title (2:12.42) and junior Ashley Johnson was fourth (2:14.59). The Diablos also added 13 points in the 1600 when senior Kelli Hines placed second (5:01.45) and senior Emma Hicken placed fourth (5:11.21). But what made the difference for Mission Viejo was getting 27 points from seniors Danielle Lister and Ava Butterbaugh in the throws. Butterbaugh was second and Lister third in the shot and Lister was second and Butterbaugh fourth in the discus.
Calabasas got victories from De'Anna Nowling in the 100 (11.71/-0.7) and 200 (24.28/04) and sophomore Jade McDonald in the long jump (19-05.75/-1.7) and triple jump (39-04.75/0.0). McDonald ended her day with 28 points, also placing second in the 100 hurdles (14.29). For Nowling, the defending state champion in the 100m headed to Miami, it was the fourth year in a row she won a section division title in the 100 and her third consecutive year winning the 200m title. Brown-bound senior Kennedy Waite was fourth in the 100 (12.247).
Westlake sophomore Paige Sommers repeated as champion in the pole vault (13-00) and also won the high jump (5-06). In the pole vault, where she ranks tied for second in the state with a best of 13-06, after winning the event she had the bar raised to 13-07 and took three attempts at a new PR.
Santa Margarita put up 89 points, the most of any winning team at the meet, boys or girls. This is the Eagles' fifth straight title for Sean Zeitler and his coaching staff! Green did her part in the 100 (12.18/-0.8), 200 (24.50 (0.5) and helping both the 4x100 (47.80) and 4x400 (3:52.27) to victory. Memoly, a sophomore elite soccer player committed to TCU in her first year of track, won the 400 (55.33), was second in the long jump (18-06.50) and ran on both relay teams.
Orange Lutheran junior Sophia Hartwell won the long jump (18-10.50/-0.4) and triple jump (38-06.50).
Oak Park senior Sarah Shulze won both the 1600 (4:54.24) and 3200 (10:38.53) and reiterated afterward that she would drop the 1600 to focus on the 3200, which would allow first alternate Lauren Kearney of Foothill Technology to compete next week at the CIF-SS Masters Meet.
Sherman Oaks Notre Dame senior Christian Grubb did all he could to help his team in its battle with Harvard Westlake. Grubb won the 100 (10.61/0.2), 200 (21.09/1.1) and triple jump (45-11/0.0) and ran a leg on the runner-up 4x100 relay team (41.99) but Borquez and HW was too much, winning the team title, 60-52.
Borquez won the 300 hurdles (37.85), helped both the 4x100 (41.35) and 4x400 (3:18.22) teams to victory. He, however, wasn't able to defend his title in the 400, placing second (47.27) behind Hemet West Valley senior Ismail Turner, whose 46.74 set a division meet record. Turner also ran second to Grubb in the 200 (21.31).
JSerra senior Peter Herold won the 1600 (4:10.52) and 3200 (9:12.07) while junior teammate Anthony Grover took his best shot at all three distance races, placing second in the 800 (1:54.09), third in the 1600 (4:12.26) and third in the 3200 (9:17.73). Those two accounted for all 40 of JSerra's third-place points. Looking back into the record books, we are still looking to see the last time as boy qualified for the Masters Meet in ALL three distance events!!!!
Cathedral sophomore Anthony Taylor won the 110 hurdles (14.35/0.4) and was second to Borquez in the 300 hurdles (38.67).
Oaks Christian put up 73 points, which include relay wins in the 4x100 (47.74) and 4x400 (3:48.73). Among individual points, the 800 garnered 14 as junior Hannah Wilson placed second (2:11.64) and senior Janiah Brown was third (2:12.48).
Adding to the points haul: Senior Tasha Bierling placed second in the 300 hurdles (46.40), junior Bryn Polly was second in the pole vault (11-06), sophomore Jahzara Richardson was second in the 100m and sixth in the 200 (25.01/1.6) and a pair of sophomores, Brooklyn Courtnall (56.55) and Raeshell Austin (57.14) went 4-5 for nine points in the 400.
Serra's USC-bound senior sprinter Jazmyne Frost defended her title in the 100 (11.80/-0.3) and was second in the 200 (24.43) behind Archer's Nia Mosby (24.22/1.6). Mosby played the spoiler on the day by upsetting two defending champions as she also claimed the title in the 400 meters, 55.44 to 55.54 over St. Bernard's Sydney Bentley.
Village Christian sophomore Mia Barnett won the 1600 (4:47.30) and the 3200 (10:33.95). Pasadena Mayfield sophomore Audrey Suarez won the 800 (2:11.16) and was second in the 1600 (4:49.24). Suarez already had three runner-up medals, dating back to last year, to her credits but held off Oaks Christian's Wilson and Brown in the 800 meters to claim her first title.
Asjah Atkinson, a sophomore at Long Beach St. Anthony, won the long jump for the second year in a row. She had the top jump in the competition from the start (18-03.25/-1.8) and secured the title with her third and final jump of 18-08.25 (NWI). Wildwood senior Asha Fletcher was second at 18-02.00 (-0.8) and Serra senior A'Lena Chaney was third at 18-00.00 (1.8). Fletcher also was second in the triple jump (37-04.50).
Kaelyn McCann, a junior at Temecula Linfield Christian, won the Division 4 pole vault for the second year in a row. McCann's top clearance of 11-6 earned her the victory. Bryn Polly, a junior at Oaks Christian, also cleared 11-06 but had misses at 10-06 and 11-00 while McCann was clean until 12 feet.
With a total reliance on the the true meaning of "team" Oaks Christian defeated Crespi in the team competition by 18 points yet did it with just one individual and one relay title. The over 45 points came piecemeal: Sophomore Semaj Freeman was fourth in the 300 hurdles (41.84) and sixth in the 110 hurdles (16.03), senior Graham White was third in the 400 (49.70), junior Will Davis was fifth in the 100 (11.13/-0.7), freshman Jake Reed was fourth in the pole vault (11-06), senior Ezekiel Bishop (10-11/-0.7) and sophomore Gabriel Martin (230-03/-0.1) went 3-4 in the long jump, senior Matthias Portzel was seventh in the triple jump (40-07/2.2), and senior Luciano Barretto won the shot put (51-01.75) to lead an event that also saw senior Seif Awad place third (49-04.75) and senior Bradley Smith pick up a point for eighth (44-04.75).