VENTURA COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Ventura freshman Sadie Engelhardt crosses the line in 9:50.69 to win the 3200m in a 10-second PR time that ranks as the third-fastest in California history. (Daniel Hernandez photo)
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VENTURA -- Ventura County's High School Track and Field Championships have existed far longer than 15-year-old Sadie Engelhardt, but the Ventura High freshman's record-setting performance in Friday's 3200-meter invitational race at Moorpark High was a first for both her and the meet.
Engelhardt's time of 9 minutes, 50.69 seconds in the eight-lap event not only lowered her national freshman record by 10 seconds, but it is California's third-best of all time. She smashed the county championships' meet record of 10:06.74 set by Simi Valley's Sarah Baxter in 2013. Engelhardt came into this meet having already run a 10:00.60 last month. Her performance moves her into the state lead regardless of class year, supplanting Mira Costa senior Dalia Frias and her best time of 9:55.50.
"Ten seconds off was my goal and, obviously, a sub-10 went along with it," Engelhardt said shortly after the race in an interview with MileSplit. "My goal going in was to hit 74s consistently. That first lap was a little slow, but I just tried to stay on pace and give it my all on the last lap."
She sure did. Engelhardt's slowest lap was the first in 1:15.943, but she finished strong with a 1:06.861 on the final lap.
And then, as if her 3200 record wasn't enough reason to celebrate, Engelhardt provided a bonus effort. Twenty minutes later she anchored Ventura's 4x400 relay invitational team to a second-place finish behind winner Calabasas (3:55.13). Engelhardt ran a 57.2 lap in the relay.
While future county meets can look forward to Engelhardt's presence, there were plenty of other standouts, including those competing in their final county championships.
The aforementioned 4x400 relay victory for Calabasas closed out a spectacular meet performance for senior Zanae Woods. She also ran on Calabasas' winning 4x100 relay in 47.99, and won individual titles in the 100 (12.04, 1.5 wind) and 200 (24.69, 1.1).
The only other multiple event winner among girls was Thousand Oaks senior Lauren Thai. She captured the 100 hurdles in 14.84 (2.8) and the long jump with a top mark of 18 feet, 7.75 inches on her second jump.
The top boys' performance was turned in by Simi Valley junior Jaelon Barbarin with three county wins. He ran anchor on Simi Valley's winning 4x100 relay (42.00) and won the 100 (10.67, 1.1) and 200 (21.65, 0.3). Barbarin is the state leader in the 100 among all juniors.
Several boys won two events.
Oaks Christian senior Elijah Gipson swept the 110 and 300 hurdles, winning in 15:10 and 39.01, respectively.
Westlake senior Taylor Johnson won the 400 in 49.32 and anchored the school's 4x400 relay to victory in 3:27.83. He also ran on Westlake's 4x100 relay, helping it to a second-place finish.
Simi Valley senior Joey Nations was on the winning 4x100 relay and won the long jump with a top mark of 22-0 on his third jump.
A pair of juniors won two field events each. Westlake's Adam Laycock captured the shot put (50-8.25) and discus (183-4) titles while Moorpark's Victor Ezike won the high jump (6-2) and triple jump (43-7).
The other county girls' event winners were Oak Park in the 4x800 relay (10:24.20); Agoura's Georgia McCorkle in the 1600 (5:05.50); Chelsea Ochoa of Ventura in the 800 (2:20.96); Oaks Christian freshman Eleanor Borchard in the 300 hurdles (46.98); Simi Valley Royal's Delaney Schultze, high jump (5-2); Camarillo freshman Trinity Tipton in the discus (127-3); Oaks Christian's Tenly Kuhn in the pole vault (12-4); Johanna Cummings of Westlake in the triple jump (34-8); and Kathleen Nelson of Oxnard Pacifica in the shotput (37-11.50).
Remaining boys' event winners were Camarillo in the 4x800 relay (8:50.62); Simi Valley Royal's Jonah Bazerkanian in the 1600 (4:17.86); Ethan Godsey of Agoura in the 800 (1:55.07); Ventura's Mason Jekogian in the 3200 (9:16.85); and Aidan Hagerty of Foothill Technology in the pole vault (15-4).
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Ryan Blystone is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to MileSplit.
Photos by Daniel Hernandez.