The MileSplitCA March Madness Virtual Dual Meet Tournament has reached the finals. What began as a 32-team event for both boys and girls is down to two Orange County-based long shots in the boys championship, and two top-five seeds for the girls title.
Here's a closer look at each of the championship matches.
BOYS: No. 12 Trabuco Hills (SS) vs. No. 18 Mission Viejo (SS)
The Mustangs of Trabuco Hills reached the final after outscoring Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (SS), Golden Valley (SS), Fresno Central (CS) and previously top-seeded Upland (SS). The Mustangs' toughest matchups were in the middle two rounds, getting past Golden Valley by two points (69-67) and Central by four points (70-66). In the semifinal victory over Upland, senior Erick Hiller led dominance in the throws and Isaac Korn, Brandon Chau and Landen Lee each contributed at least eight points. Korn leads the Mustangs in scoring, averaging 11.25 points per meet. Chau averages 9.25.
The Diablos of Mission Viejo reached the title matchup with wins over South Hills (SS), Jesuit (SJ), Vista Murrieta (SS) and Buchanan (CS). Mission scored a tournament-tying best of 114 points in the first-round victory. The Diablos had their toughest matchup against Vista Murrieta, advancing by just four points (70-66). Jaycen Cash leads Mission Viejo in scoring, averaging 12.5 points per match. John Burns, Peter Costelli, Bryce Bushnell and Luke Santagata each average at least 6.25 ppm. This meet will be scored at posted by Tuesday morning.
GIRLS: No. 3 Santa Margarita (SS) vs. No. 5 Buchanan (CS)
The Eagles of Santa Margarita Catholic reached the championship with wins over Vista Murrieta (SS), Mission Viejo (SS), Fresno Central (CS) and Upland (SS). The Eagles averaged 82-plus points per meet in cruising through the first three meets but the semifinal against No 2-seeded Upland was a different story. The Highlanders gave the Eagles their toughest match but juniors Kendall Saeger and Lauren Memoly led a 69-67 victory. Saeger, who has had the top times in the 800, 1600m and 3200m in all four matches, is averaging 15 points per meet. Memoly, who doubles as a sprinter and a jumper, is averaging 15.25 ppm. The Eagles have six girls averaging at least five points per meet.
The Bears of Buchanan reached the title matchup by knocking out Quartz Hill (SS), Clovis North (CS), St. Francis (SJ) and Etiwanda (SS). Buchanan has averaged 86.33 points per match and won its four tournament virtuals by an average of 36.7 points. The Bears are deep, led by senior Corie Smith, who is averaging 11.25 ppm. Buchanan has eight girls averaging at least 5.0 ppm and Smith, in both the 1600m and 3200m, junior Alexa Dandridge in the 300m hurdles, sophomore Maddy Passmore in the triple jump, and senior McKenna Chaney in the discus throw are all undefeated in their events through four rounds.
This virtual dual meet tournament was launched with 32 boys teams and 32 girls teams. Marks applied throughout this event are limited to the three-plus weeks of the 2020 outdoor season. This project is to recognize athletes and teams for what they were able to do on the track before this outdoor season was stopped.
Scoring is based on a 5-3-1 format for individuals and 5-0 for relays. The MileSplit Virtual Meet program used to score the meets limits teams to no more than three athletes per event. Also, athletes are capped at four individual events. Relay names are not known, so it is possible that athletes could be part of four individual events and two relays.
Photos by Lizette Adams, Patrick Corsinita and DeAnna Turner