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TRACK AND FIELD: Ventura County championships

Published by
Scott Joerger   Apr 28th 2012, 5:26pm

TRACK AND FIELD: Alakija rounding into form for Lions

Oaks Christian junior, Rio Mesa's Selig capture four titles at Ventura County championships
By Erik Boal erik.boal@dailynews.com Staff Writer
Updated:   04/27/2012 11:40:48 PM PDT


Oaks Christian's Danni Alakija won the 200 and 400, along with contributing to victories in the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays for the Lions, duplicating her achievement of four titles from last season at the Ventura County track and field championships at Moorpark High. (Michael Owen Baker / Staff Photographer)


Danni Alakija returned to the stadium that produced one of the greatest showcases of her high school career and returned to her old form Friday night at the Ventura County track and field championships.


Alakija, an Oaks Christian junior, duplicated her achievement from last season of contributing to four victories, capping her performance by leading the Lions to a county-record 3 minutes, 53.04 seconds in the 4 x 400-meter relay at Moorpark High.


Her efforts in the 200 (24.33) and 400 (55.72) were also significant steps forward after a disappointing season that involved a heavy travel schedule in preparation to compete for Fiji in the Summer Olympics in London, which often affected her usual training pattern with Lions sprint coach Maurice Greene.

Oak Park's Sydney Lewis, left, edges Westlake freshman Abigail Smith in the 100-meter dash final Friday at the Ventura County track and field championships at Moorpark High. Lewis clocked a personal-best 11.63 in the 100, then took second in the 200 in 24.35. (Michael Owen Baker / Staff Photographer)

"It finally clicked. All the pieces fell into place," Alakija said. "More than anything, I had to settle back into home life and get caught up with school. But I finally got it."


Although there was little doubt Oaks Christian's victory in the final relay, the Lions were pushed in the 4 x 100 relay, before edging Westlake 47.53 to 47.84.


Alakija defeated teammate Sarah Johnson (57.24) in the 400, then rallied from a 5-meter deficit in the last 50 meters to edge Oak Park's Sydney Lewis 24.33 to 24.35 in the 200.


"Oh my gosh, I think I'm going to cry. That felt so amazing," Alakija said. "It's been a long time coming. The last 50, I could just hear my mom screaming in the back of my head to bring it back. The 400 wasn't as spectacular as I wanted it to be, but I was really pushing for the 200. I wanted to break one of my records."


Lewis nearly pulled off an impressive double after delivering a wind-legal personal-best 11.63 to capture the 100-meter dash over Westlake freshman Abigail Smith (11.73).


"I'm not surprised (in the 200). The same thing happened to me at Arcadia. I was leading the whole way and got caught at the end," Lewis said. "But it's my weaker race, so as long as I got a PR, then I'm happy."


Lewis wanted an opportunity to race against Oaks Christian's Ally Courtnall and La Reina's Hanna Winter in last year's 100-meter final, but was held out of the race by Oak Park's coaching staff.


So, it was extra satisfaction defeating Smith, who entered the meet with the fastest seed time.


"All year long I had been hearing how fast she is, but I hadn't seen her run," Lewis said. "I just wanted to race her and then let's see what happens."


Thousand Oaks' Caitlin Turner captured the 1,600 (4:55.81), with Simi Valley's Sarah Baxter -- the national outdoor leader in the 3,200 -- dominating the field to prevail in 10:21.61.


La Reina's Kelly Reinke prevailed in the 800 (2:18.59), with Thousand Oaks' Karsen Sper capturing the 100 hurdles (14.62) and taking fourth in the triple jump (34-10).


Simi Valley's Amanda Hamilton won the 300 hurdles (44.34) and triple jump with a county-record leap of 37 feet, 10 1/4 inches, with teammate Madisen Richards securing the long jump title in a personal-best 18-9.


Rio Mesa's Raegan Nizdil produced a county record by clearing 5-7 in the high jump, with Newbury Park's Kendall Mader doubling in the shot put (40-10) and discus throw (129 feet).


Moorpark's Frances Barnes and Oaks Christian's Kim Sanchez both cleared 11 feet in the pole vault, but Barnes secured the win based on fewer attempts.


Camarillo's Rachel Naumann, Kathleen Dunne, Meghan O'Connell and Taelyr Finfrock broke the county record in the girls' 4 x 800 relay by more than 20 seconds to prevail in 9:33.18. Oaks Christian had run 9:55.36 last year.


Rio Mesa's Blake Selig, a UCLA signee, matched Alakija by contributing to four victories, including the 4 x 100 -- defeating defending state champion Oaks Christian 41.69 to 42.16 -- and 4 x 400 (3:22.28).


Selig also captured the 200 (21.74) and long jump (24-1 1/4).


"This makes me really happy because it is Ventura County (championships)," Selig said. "This shows we can do anything we want to if we continue to work hard. I feel like there's a lot more left on our plate to accomplish. Every meet, coach (Brian Fitzgerald) has us competing in four events to prepare us for later in the season when it matters most."


With Selig and Oaks Christian's Vinnie Saucer not competing in the 100, Ishmael Adams prevailed for the Lions in a wind-legal 10.81 ahead of Rio Mesa's Cameron Roach (10.90).


Thousand Oaks rallied on the final leg of the 4 x 800 relay to edge Newbury Park 8:20.27 to 8:21.27. Tommy Lopez followed shortly thereafter by winning the 1,600 in 4:19.87 for the Lancers.


Oak Park's Connor Stark cleared 16 feet to equal his county record win the pole vault and prevail over Westlake's Luigi Colella.


Royal's Collin Gordon took the 300 hurdles (39.21), with Oxnard's Grant Weiss (14.62) getting past Westlake's Adam Augustyn (14.67) in the 110 hurdles.


Rio Mesa received additional wins from Darion Zimmerman in the 400 (48.60), Geno Arthur in the 3,200 (9:23.26) and Anthony Teart in the triple jump (44 feet).


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History for Ventura County Championships
2015 2 91 3    
2014 2 113 8 593  
2013 1 177 11 251  
2012 2 60 7 108  
2011 1 60 4 5  
2010 1   8 17  
2009 1   1