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Track and field talent up to the task at state finals

Published by
Scott Joerger   Jun 10th 2012, 5:35pm
By Eliav Appelbaum

What a flourish of a finish.

Area athletes thrived at the CIF State Track and Field Championships last weekend at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis.

Sarah Baxter of Simi Valley High dominated the girls’ 3,200-meter run while the Rio Mesa boys’ 4x400 relay squad sprinted to victory.

Oak Park’s Sydney Lewis and Connor Stark enjoyed memorable moments at the state meet.

Lewis nabbed fourth in the girls’ 100 (11.73). Stark was second in the boys’ pole vault (16 feet, 4 inches) to Murrieta’s Peter Chapman, who vaulted the same height.

Stark cleared 16-4 on his third try while Chapman sneaked over the bar on his second attempt.

“Not to sound corny, but it took a lot of hard work for both those kids,” Oak Park head coach Marc Minasian said. “They’re both yearround athletes. Their discipline, hard work and sacrifice got them there at the end of the day.”

Stark, who finished second at state last year, put the finishing touches on his prep career. His personal pole vault record is 16-6.

Lewis started working with sprints coach Skip Hicks on May 21, 2011, in an effort to strut her stuff this spring.

“She didn’t make it to state (last year). She was disappointed,” Minasian said. “She went to Coach Hicks and asked, ‘What do I need to do to take it to the next level?’”

Lewis owns Oak Park records in the 100 (11.63) and 200 (24.1). Hicks is a former NFL running back with the Washington Redskins and Tennessee Titans.

Stark and Lewis are both heading to UCLA this fall.

“These guys have been competing and training 12 months out of the year at the highest level,” Minasian said of the Eagle duo.

“In one way it’s not a surprise. Take a half step back and say, ‘Wow. What an accomplishment.’”

Caitlin Turner of Thousand Oaks turned on the jets this postseason.

The Lancer senior took third place in the girls’ 800, finishing in a personal best and TOHS record 2:09.75.

“We were just so happy to see her finally run the way she has always been (capable) of running,” Thousand Oaks head coach Keena Carstensen said.

Turner broke her own school record three times this season, the coach said.

Carstensen has known Turner, who is heading to Long Beach State on scholarship, since the Lancer was in fifth grade.

“ I was very emotional,” Carstensen said. “I knew this was her last race. Seeing her walk out there with confidence—we knew she was ready.”

Danni Alakija performed admirably.

Alakija, an Oaks Christian junior, was sixth in the girls’ 400 (55.57), fourth in the 4x100 (47.16) and fifth in the 4x400 (3:52.03).

Schuyler Moore, Sarah Johnson and Asha Culhane joined Alakija in the 4x100. Megan Huning, Johnson and Moore were part of the Oaks Christian 4x400 quartet.

Newbury Park’s Kendall Mader completed a solid freshman year by nabbing seventh in the girls’ discus (134-11).

Luigi Colella of Westlake was eighth in the boys’ pole vault (14-10).

Baxter captured the 3,200 title in 10 minutes, 12 seconds, leaving second place Xochitl Navarrete of Colony (10:25.85) and the rest of the 30-girl field in the proverbial dust.

“It was a big step forward in her maturity and confidence,” Simi Valley head coach Roger Evans said of Baxter. “It was a tough field. She took charge right from the beginning.”

Baxter surged to a lead 170 meters into the race, and she never looked back.

The only thing the prolific sophomore didn’t accomplish was breaking 10 minutes. She was at 4:59.8 halfway through the race, but Baxter couldn’t maintain the pace with the wind kicking up at Buchanan High.

Baxter is the national leader in the 3,200. She earned the top time in the United States—10:08.11— at the Arcadia Invitational. She has now captured back-to-back state championships in cross country and the 3,200 in track.

Rio Mesa’s Darion Zimmerman, Cameron Roach, Anthony Teart and Blake Selig won the boys’ 4x400 relay in 3:16.21.

Oaks Christian’s Terry Lee Johnson, Francis Owusu, Ishmael Adams and Vinnie Saucer were disqualified for a zone violation in the 4x100.

Read the full article at: www.toacorn.com
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History for California CIF State Track and Field Championships
2015 2 123 11 1127  
2014 1 42 10 1283  
2013 2 54 98 1  
2012 1 10 7    
2011 1 4 1 25  
2010 1 338 8 251  
2009 1 97 3 183  
2008 1 44 2 30  
2007 1   1 43  
2006 1   1 135  
2005 1   1    
2002 1 31 1    
2001 1 22 1    
2000 1 65 3