RECAP Ayres and Kambouridis Shine At Oakland Section Finals



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OAKLAND -- Eliza Ayres and Silvia Kambouridis each won three events at the two-day Oakland Athletic League track and field championships that concluded Wednesday at Merritt College.

Ayres, of Oakland Tech High School, won the girls long jump on Tuesday with a leap of 16 feet, 10 inches. She swept the hurdles in the Wednesday finals, winning the 100-meter race in a personal-best of 15.59 seconds, then came back to take the 300-meter race in another PR of 48.33. If that wasn't enough, she also ran a leg on the victorious 400 relay with teammates Inelaboh Ajayi, Jala Williams, and Jada Williams. They finished in 48.14.

Ayres was so busy that she almost didn't make it to the starting line for the 300 hurdles.

"It was hard," she said. "I almost missed it. At the beginning, I didn't hear the call."

She said she changed up her strategy in the race, trying not to "bust it in the beginning." She said her coaches told her, "You're running this like a 100 runner and this is not a 100, you can't go too fast."

Skyline's Kambouridis won the pole vault on Tuesday with a personal-best of 6-0. She then ran the 800 in 2:28.82 for first place. Sandwiched around that was the high jump, which she took at 4-8.

"A couple of years ago, when I really started to understand the '8,' I started doing 400s," Kambouridis said. "At first, because I'm a distance runner, I was thinking it's 16 but faster. And it wasn't working for me.

"So then, I tried doing a 4 but then a little bit slower. I know that I'm stronger than I think. So if I go out too fast, so I can end faster."

She added that she thought she went out a little too fast in the finals. No matter as she was over two seconds in front of second-place Roselin Saavedra-Silva of Castlemont (2:31.59).

"It feels amazing," she said of winning the OAL. "I'm a senior, I'm the only senior girl on our distance team and I won cross country finals so it just feels really good to win."

Kambouridis contributed 30 points for the Titans, who scored 204 overall to win the girls team championship. Oakland Tech was second with 126 points.

The Oakland Section is allotted one automatic qualifier into the State Meet in each event, plus any athlete or relay team hitting the at-large qualifying standard.

The Bulldogs dominated the sprints with Jala Williams winning the 100 (a PR 12.54), Ajayi the 200 (26.37), and Jada Williams the 400 (a PR 1:01.49). Combine that with Ayres in the hurdles and Oakland Tech won every event from 100-400 meters. Ajayi won both the 100 and 200 events at the 2021 section finals.

On the boys side, it was Skyline again with the win, scoring 222 points. McClymonds was next with 128.

The Titans got a weight sweep by Azriel Shakur, who was the defending section champion in the discus. He won the shot put with a personal-best of 44-8 during Tuesday's mostly prelims competition and came back to win the discus at 153-1 on Wednesday.

McClymonds had the only other double-winner on the boys side with Michael Dansby taking the 100 and 200. He won the former in 10.86 and the latter in 21.98. The Warriors also swept the relays with the 400 team winning in 42.36 and the 1600 team in 3:33.73.

"It wasn't a PR, it wasn't my best race but I came in first," Dansby said after the 100. "It was alright but at least I came in first. That's all that matters."

Aman Bereket won the 800 for Skyline in a personal-best of 1:59.85. Andy Ixtabalan Argueta was the winner for the Titans in the 3200 in an easy 10:37.03, defending his title from 2021. He had finished second in the 1600 (a PR of 4:25.69) behind Oakland Tech's Miles Jones (also a PR 4:21.25).

Skyline's Miles Pare' won the 300 hurdles in 43.42.

Damin Esper is a Bay Area-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to MileSplit