Palisades enjoyed a boys title and girls runner-up finish at the LA City Section Finals. (Jeffrey Parenti photo)
TORRANCE --The boys team championship at Friday's CIF-Los Angeles City Section Track and Field Championships, came down to the final event on the track.
Favored Granada Hills Charter came in trailing by 2.5 points to Palisades, which entered the race with the No. 2 qualifying time. For Granada Hills to win the team title, it needed to win the race and have another team finish ahead of Palisades.
The qualifying rankings held to form heading into the anchor leg. Senior De Marq Jaque, the two-time section 400 meter champion, took the baton for GH with a lead he wouldn't relinquish. Shayne Larimer took the baton for Palisades.
Larimer had been sick all week, Palisades coach Claudius Shropshire said. But that didn't matter. With the anchor from Westchester pressing forward with 150 to go, Larimer found that extra gear Palisades needed, held off the brief challenge, and found his way across the line in second place, 1.76 seconds behind GH's winning 3:23.21.
Palisades gave up two points in the event but won the program's first boys team title by half a point, 64-63.50!
"(Larimer) had been sick all week and had never run under 51," Shropshire said, "and he ran 50.2. What can you ask for other than hard effort."
As drama goes, that was far and away the highlight of the meet held at El Camino College in Torrance on a breezy 60ish-degree afternoon and evening in Torrance. And we say 'highlight' only in that so many of the other results held to form from qualifying -- nine running events for both boys and girls were won by the top qualifier.
And the Carson girls were the expected runaway winner in the team competition for the sixth year in a row -- and eighth overall since 2006 -- rolling over runner-up Palisades 130-51.50.
Carson avalanche of points included two titles from Lacefield -- 200 and 400 (57.42) -- 26 points from senior Indiah Turner, who won the triple jump (38-03.25) as part of a Carson 1-2-3-4 domination, and placed second in both the long jump (18-00.50) and 100 hurdles (14.89).
Junior Kaitlyn Williams won the 100 (12.27) and was second to Lacefield in the 200 (26.68) and third in the triple jump (17-04). Another junior, Justina Graham, won the 300 hurdles (47.23) and was fourth in the triple jump (35-10.75). And the Colts, with Lacefield on second leg and Williams on anchor, won the 4x100 relay (48.61).
Turner, who was second at the State Meet in the long jump last June, was the defending LAC champion in the 300 hurdles. She said she decided to drop the long hurdles this year and try out the triple jump, an event she said she now loves.
For as much as Carson dominated the team competition, a talented freshman from Granada Hills named Sofia Abrego dominated the distances. In her first CIF-LAC Championship meet, Abrego swept the 800, 1600 and 3200, beating section finals veterans in every race.
In the 800, Abrego ran 2:16.84 with Palisades senior Brittany Darrow second in 2:19.82. Darrow won the event a year ago and was second as a sophomore.
In the 1600, Abrego covered the four laps in 5:04.27 with Santee sophomore Norma Alvarez second in 5:07.23 and Palisades junior Sarah Bentley third (5:14.46). Alvarez was fourth a year ago. Granada Hills junior Lauren Delgado, who was second a year ago, was eighth here (5:34.73).
And in the 3200, Abrego was challenged by Palisades sophomore Miranda Schriver until the final lap when she pulled away to win in 10:46.11. Schriver was second (10:49.20). Bentley, a two-time LAC champion in the eight-lapper, was sixth (11:57.80).
Among other standouts among the girls, View Park senior Caitlin Worline won the 100 hurdles (14.51), Palisades picked up 10 points when junor Erica Bagby won the pole vault (11-09), and Narbonne had in individual champion in sophomore Angel Nwuso, who beat Turner in the long jump with a best of 18-03.50 (3.1). It took four jumps for her to get beyond 17-01, hit the event-winner on her fifth attempt and finished with another 18-footer on her final jump.
Adding to the Carson points haul were two more from that deep 2020 class going 2-3 in the triple jump: Ar'Rieya Harper (38-00.75/-1.1) and Tirah Timms (37-02.00/1.9).
There were two double-champions among the boys: Crenshaw senior sprinter Ameer Muhammad and Palisades junior hurdler Nnamdi Onwaoze.
Muhammad won the 100 (10.83/0.8) and the 200 (21.76/0.3). In the 100, Muhammad feel out of former and started to flail his arms in the final strides but he had enough to hold off Narbonne junior Macen Williams (10.86/0.8).
Onwaoze added 20 points to the Palisades' cause, winning the 110 hurdles in 15.26 (2.1) and the 300s in 40.26. Hamilton freshman Jaylen Durham was second in the 110s (15.70) and Palisades junior Chandler Hooks was third (15.80). In the 300s, Dorsey senior Alex Sweeney was second (40.82) and Palisades junior Kenny Davis was third (41.64).
Sweeney came in as the top qualifier in the 110 hurdles but was disqualified for "hand on 4th hurdle" is what is on the results sheet.
Dorsey had won the previous three boys team titles and seven of the past nine coming into 2019 but finished third here. Dorsey did have two individual champions: Junior Christian Rodriguez won the 800 (1:54.62) -- holding off GH's Larbaoui (1:58.41) -- and senior Nathan Anderson won the triple jump (43-10).
In winning by just that half point, Palisades got points from seven individuals and both relay teams across nine events. Senior Devin Fry came up with a huge PR to win the high jump in a jump off (6-02) over Legacy junior Ulises Flores. The aforementioned junior Kenny Davis was second to View Park senior James Burbank in the long jump. Burbank won it on his fifth attempt, going 22-07 (-0.7), after Davis hit what would be his best on his fourth jump, 22-04 (-0.2).
As with most of the sections across the state, LAC was allotted three automatic qualifiers into next weekend's CIF-State Championships at Clovis Buchanan High. Additional athletes could continue their season by hitting an at-large standard. The standard is a combination of the average 9th place qualifying marks into the State Meet final from the previous three seasons.
Carson's girls 4x100 relay team.