RECAP OF CIF-SS DIVISION 3 and DIVISION 4 CHAMPIONSHIP MEETS
Harvard Westlake's depth earned them their first title since 2014! (Raymond Tran photo)
South Pasadena celebrated a boys D3 crown. (Raymond Tran photo)
at Estancia HS
Reflecting back on the day, South Pasadena head coach CB Richards, "we had a few things go sideways in the meet but had enough depth to overcome those issues."
Through the four events, the dope sheets were NOT panning out for the Tigers as they were down to St. John Bosco, 18-0. But the senior trio of Andrew Villapudua (4:14.28), Andrew Parkinson (4:21.48), and Patrick Latting (4:22.34) combined to score 18 points while also all finishing ahead of their St. John Bosco opponent.
St. John Bosco answered back in the 400 meters with a 1-2 finish as Jaden Smith and Camryn O'Bannon racked up 18 points for the Braves. Meanwhile, misfortune struck South Pasadena. Ferrell Mansano crossed in fourth only to find that he was disqualified for running inside the line.
O'Bannon added 10 points to Bosco's cause in the triple jump (46-1.75) while South Pasadena's Terrence Sweetman placed fourth. Midway through the meet, Bosco was primed for the upset with a 47-23 advantage.
But, the shot put and 800 meters began to turn it around with Nikolas Iwankiw rebounding from placing ninth in the discus to win the title with his 54-6 third-round throw. Noah Leider added a sixth-place finish in the event while on the oval, Latting and Parkinson returned from the 1600 meters to accumulate 11 more points for their South Pasadena squad. That 24-1 advantage from those two events turned the tide back to Tigers.
With additional victories coming from Dominic Ramos in the pole vault and Villapudua in the 3200 meters, the title was assured going into the final relay.
Despite St. John Bosco's third-place finish in 4x400 relay, South Pasadena had earned their first boys' title since 1943, overcoming the obstacles with the 72-66 Divisional Championship. Meanwhile, Cathedral captured that last event, ending in third with 64 points.
Leading the way for St. John Bosco, the junior duo of Smith and O'Bannon medaled in both relays and combined to earn 53 points altogether. Smith earned the title in the 400 meters (49.01) and came back to place second in the 200 meters (21.85w).
Meanwhile, O'Bannon somehow placed second in the 400 meters while also navigating between earning capturing the long jump (23-10) and triple jump (46-1.75). His mark in the long jump moves him up to second in California for wind-legal marks.
Another star that lived up to the billing was Servite junior Max Thomas. In anchoring his 400-relay squad and in the heat of the moment over the frustration of not winning, Thomas started off the meet by spiking the baton onto the track. Leading to the disqualification of his squad, he bounced back to victories in the 100 (10.51w) and 200 meters (21.44w).
Laguna Beach's Mateo Bianchi captured the 1600 (4:12.46) while returning to place second in the 3200 meters (9:24.42). In the 800 meters, Harvard Westlake's Isaac Dienstag pulled off the upset (1:57.79) over Cathedral's Bryce Granillo (1:57.95).
Fighting off injuries throughout 2021, Cathedral's Anthony Taylor ended on a high note and defended his 2019 title in the 110 hurdles (14.49). He senior placed sixth at the 2019 State Meet in the event as a sophomore.
On the girls' side, things were a little less tense for the Harvard-Westlake as most of the stress took place the weekend prior when losing two top scorers to a scheduling conflict. Like their male counterparts, the Wolverines relied heavily on their depth in scoring 10 or more points in five different events while kicking off the action on the track with the victory in the 400 relay.
Jennings and Usher set it in motion in combining for 15 points in the long jump. Jennings earned the title in a wind-legal 18-5 lifetime best. This response was needed in that Mission League foe, Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks, earned 16 points over in the shot put ring.
But after Natalia Quintero's runner-up finish in the 1600 meters followed by Jennings (15.16w) and Usher (15.35w) combining for an additional 11 points in the 100 hurdles, Harvard Westlake had accumulated 52 points and was in the driver's seat to earn the title.
When Usher earned the runner-up medal in the high jump, with an added third-place support from Emma Miller, those 13 points made it official.
The girls of Harvard Westlake earned their first title since 2014 with the 93-70 advantage over Notre Dame. The Wolverines also earned the title in 2011 with this being the program's third title on the girls' side.
Notre Dame earned their first plaque since earning the runner-up award in 2007. Santa Margarita's run of five straight divisional championships came to an end as the Eagles finished third with 56.
Individually shining, La Canada freshman Arielle McKenzie put on a clinic in her capturing both the 800 (2:15.39) and 1600 (lifetime best of 4:55.06). The already tough double became more challenging with the condensed schedule as she allowed others to do the pacing early on before bringing home both titles. She was also the catalyst in her girls capturing the 1600-relay in a seasonal best of 3:58.26.
The Notre Dame underclass duo of April Fontenette and Hope Gordon earned 32 of their squad's 70 points. With the former earning the title in the discus, Gordon brought home the
title in the Shot Put. Placing between
the two of them in both throws, Orange Lutheran's Rebel Tuinuknafe walked away
with two silver medals.
Mayfair's Chelsea Aninyei created her own headlines by bringing home the Division 3 titles in the triple jump (37-3) and high jump (5-3). The junior proved us wrong in garnering a whopping 26 points on her own as we had her slated for 16 points going into the day.
Pulling the upset, Corona del Mar's Caroline Glessing captured the 200 meters (24.51w) over the Notre Dame's pair of Ava McCumber Gandara and Dior Asamota. As expected, McCumber Gandara brought home the title in the 400 meters (55.65) while Glessing placed second in the 100 meters (12.17w).
The greatest margin of victory on the day came in the 300 hurdles. Heavily favored Madeleine Conte of Monrovia held true to form with an overwhelming lifetime best 44.01 effort. As the 10th-fastest mark in California, she also placed second in the 100 Hurdles (14.73w) to North Torrance's Amira Hawkins (14.41w).
Bringing home individual titles for Santa Margarita, Nathalie Barnes pulled off the upset in the Pole Vault (11-6) while Kendall Saeger moved away from the group in breaking a 20-year old school record in her victory in the 3200 meters (10:40.46).
at Carpinteria HS
There would be no drama in the team competition, not that that was expected. Oaks Christian was predictably dominant, sweeping both titles. The Lions boys put up 79 points, well ahead of Ontario Christian's runner-up 43. It was the fifth title in the last five seasons for the Lions boys and sixth in seven seasons.
The OC girls were even more dominant as the Lions roared to 156.33 points. St. Anthony, on the strength primarily of senior Asjah Atkinson, was a distant second with 65.33 points. It was the sixth title in seven seasons for the Oaks Christian ladies as they also established an all-time record for most points scored in a single divisional final in Southern Section history!
Just how dominant were the OC girls? The Lions got points in 14 of the 16 events, including six event wins and six runners-up. They had four events with three scorers, and eight events with at least two scorers. They scored 52 points in the sprints, 29 in the distances, 25 in the hurdles, 20 in the relays, and another 20-plus in the jumps.
Here's a closer look at the event winners:
Rodrick Pleasant, a sophomore at Gardena Serra, won both short sprints setting division records in each. Warren Rogers, a former sprinter at Serra, had held the previous records since 2000. But on Saturday, Pleasant moved to the top of the records winning the 100-meter dash in 10.46 (0.8) and the 200m in 21.02 (1.3). Rogers had run 10.47 and 21.07.
La Salle junior Oshea Foster was a 1.17 faster than Thacher junior Ellis Delvecchio in the 800m, crossing in 1:54.50. St. Margaret's senior Jackson Adelman, the favorite in the 1600m, was able to hold off Chadwick sophomore Joshua Thomas to cross in 4:18.41 and win by 2.30 seconds.
Big Bear junior Max Sannes was nearly a 10-second winner in the 3200, crossing in 9:18.51, ahead of fellow mountain runner Richardo Vargas, a senior at Rim of the World (9:28.40). Fillmore senior Fabian Del Villar was third in 9:30.18.
A pair of juniors won the hurdles with St. Genevieve's Jason Canales crossing first in the 110-meter race in 15.14 (0.8), 2.0 in front of runner-up Finn Andrews of Maranatha, also a junior. Andrews was also the runner-up in the 300s, .25 behind winner Elijah Gipson of Oaks Christian.
Favorite Oaks Christian won the 4x100m relay (411.79) and La Salle won the 4x400 relay (3:31.54).
Three boys cleared 6-feet even in the high jump but the title went to Bishop Alemany senior Cytres Vives.
Heritage Christian senior Nehemiah Gilliam won the triple jump (44-6/0.8) and Oaks Christian junior Jake Reed was six inches better in the pole vault than runner-up Aidan Hagerty, a junior at Foothill Tech, with a clearance of 14-6.
Christian Burroughs, a junior at Ontario Christian, as expected, swept the throws (160-1/54-5.75).
Oaks Christian dominated the girls sprints with seniors Jahzara Richardson winning the 100 (12.00/1.0) and 200 (24.62/0.9) and 200m runner-up Brooklyn Courtnall winning the 400 (55.66) over classmate Raeshell Austin (57.40).
Mayfield senior Audrey Suarez was an easy double winner in the 800 (2:12.31) and 1600 (4:45.59). Thacher senior Karina Andersen, who was nearly 17 seconds back in second in the 1600m, won the 3200 (10:52.03) over Oaks Christian freshman Payton Godsey (10:56.21).
St. Anthony senior Asjah Atkinson closed out her amazing CIF career with a sweep of the hurdles (14.32/1.2, 45.33) and a victory in the long jump with a 19-2 (1.2).
Oaks Christian swept the relays with Serra second in both.
Four girls got over the 5-foot bar in the high jump with Heritage Christian sophomore Mariah Kendrick the winner. Atkinson's classmate London Lee added 10 more points to the St. Anthony total with a win in the triple jump (38-00.23 / 1.5)
Oaks Christian added to its points haul with 10 from junior Tenly Kuhn in the pole vault (12.5).
A couple of sophomores won the throws with Archer's Treasure Brown winning the discus (120-4) and Bishop Diego's Clara McDonald winning the shot (36-02.50).