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Lions among meet’s elite - Thousand Oaks Acorn

Published by
chadscott   May 24th 2012, 7:22pm

Lions among meet’s elite

CIF- Southern Section Track and Field Finals

By Eliav Appelbaum

The goal in track and field is to continue accelerating.

In the robotic voices of Daft Punk, it’s time go harder, better, faster, stronger.

Area student-athletes starred at the CIF-Southern Section Divisional Finals last weekend at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut.

Rio Mesa High’s boys won the Division 3 championship, the program’s first section crown in school history.

The Simi Valley girls secured the Division 2 title with a strong comeback.

Oaks Christian’s boys nabbed second in a stacked Division 4 field while the Lion girls sealed third place.

Many local competitors advanced to Friday’s CIF-SS Masters meet at Cerritos College.

The top five finishers in each event at Masters—not including individuals with qualifying marks—will advance to the June 1 and 2 State Track Meet at Buchanan High in Clovis.

The Spartan boys, who were divisional final runners-up twice, relished their victory.

“They’re on cloud nine,” Rio Mesa head coach Brian FitzGerald said. “Winning a CIF championship isn’t even something I think we thought about at the beginning of the year.”

FitzGerald credited balance and sprinting depth with edging runner-up Notre Dame of Sherman Oak, 63 points to 59.

“The kids really wanted it,” FitzGerald said. “It came down to the last event (4x400-meter relay). Every kid played a crucial role and every kid scored.”

Geno Arthur, Christian Mc- Nair, Anthony Teart and Roderick White are the unsung Spartan heroes of this title.

Arthur was fourth in the 3,200 (9:19.74).

McNair sealed fifth in the discus (151-4).

Teart filled in for an injured Drew Weisenberger in the 4x400 relay. Teart, Darion Zimmerman, Blake Selig and Cameron Roach won the 4x400 in 3:16.02.

White, an alternate, led off the victorious 4x100 relay (41.05) that also featured Zimmerman, Selig and Roach.

“Without having those kids score,” FitzGerald said, “we don’t win.”

The Spartan boys own the fastest times in the 4x100, 4x400 and 4x200 relays in California this season, FitzGerald said.

Selig won the long jump (22- 3.75) and he was second in the 100 dash (10.5).

Roach placed third in the 200 (21.59) and sixth in the 100 (10.79).

Zimmerman snagged third in the 400 (48.18).

Spartan junior Raegan Nizdil advanced to Masters after securing third in the girls’ high jump (5-5).

Amanda Hamilton used every ounce of energy to help the Simi Valley girls win the Division 2 meet.

Hamilton, a senior, ran the anchor in the 4x400 relay that snagged second place in 3:57.25.

Entering the meet’s final race, Simi Valley needed a fifth-place finish in the 4x400 to beat Cajon.

Hamilton’s surge helped the Pioneers edge Cajon, 56-51.

“She was exhausted,” SVHS head coach Roger Evans said of Hamilton. “She dug down and held off the field.

“I could tell during the last 80 meters she was absolutely out of gas, and it was just guts. It was determination and guts. She said so after: ‘I don’t know how I finished that.’”

In individual events and relays, Hamilton has her name attached to eight SVHS records.

“It’s almost unthinkable,” Evans said.

Hamilton was second in the 300 hurdles (44.21), third in the triple jump (37-5) and third in the 4x100 (47.75) with Mady Richards, Kelly Weldon and Sunita Shelly.

Richards soared to third in the long jump (18-5.75).

Sarah Baxter won the 3,200 (10:27.9) and finished second in the 1,600 (4:49.33) for the Pioneers, who won the section cross country meet in the fall.

“Those athletes and those events coaches did an absolutely spectacular job,” Evans said.

The Oaks Christian Lions roared once again.

“It was one of the best days in program history,” O.C. head coach Wes Smith said.

Eleven Lions advanced to Masters, including standout Vinnie Saucer.

Saucer , a junior, earned victories in the boys’ 100-meter dash (10.54 seconds), the 200 (21.42) and as the anchor of the 4x100 relay (41.35) with teammates Ishmael Adams, Terry Lee Johnson and Francis Owusu.

Saucer broke Chris Owusu’s school record in the 100.

Chris Owusu recently signed a free agent rookie contract with the San Francisco 49ers after memorable football jaunts at Oaks Christian and Stanford.

Saucer, Adams, Johnson and Michael Seaton set a school record in the 4x400 relay (3:22.53), earning second to Serra’s quartet.

“He had a good day,” Smith said of Saucer. “He wished he had more competition in Division 4. He said, ‘I can’t wait till we can run against Rio Mesa.’”

Saucer has a realistic chance to win a state title in the 100 and defend the school’s state crown in the 4x100, Smith said.

Sophomore Zack Bornstein won the boys’ discus (159 feet, 1 inch) for Oaks Christian. His discus throw of 164-6 at section preliminaries is a school record.

Danni Alakija qualified for Masters in four events.

The junior was second in the girls’ 400 (55.0) and third in the 200 (24.32), both personal records.

Alakija, Schuyler Moore, Asha Culhane and Sarah Johnson clinched third in the 4x100 relay (school record 47.07).

Alakija, Moore, Johnson and Megan Huning took third in the 4x400 (3:50.98) for O.C.

Alakija endured a rocky season away from the track.

After visiting family in Fiji at the end of 2011, Alakija and her family couldn’t get back into the country when their visa renewals were denied, Smith said.

For roughly three months, Alakija was away from her team, school and home, missing eight weeks of classes before returning to the states in mid-March.

She’s made up for missed time by doubling her coursework while thriving on the track.

“She has blossomed tremendously,” Smith said. “She’s running with confidence she never had before.”

Moore (200, relays), Johnson (relays), Culhane (triple jump, 4x100), Kim Sanchez (pole vault), Brittany Tayloe (high jump) and Huning (4x400) advanced to Masters for the Oaks Christian girls’ squad.

Sydney Lewis of Oak Park won the Division 3 girls’ 100 (11.7) and 200 (24.32).

Local girls’ Division 2 champions are Abigail Smith of Westlake (100, 11.63 seconds); Westlake’s Smith, Sara Schwartz, Nicole Greenberg and Brooke Edell (4x100, 47.32); Caitlin Turner of Thousand Oaks (800, 2:10.81); Angelyn Caldwell of Thousand Oaks (high jump, 5-5); and Camarillo’s Dynn Leaupepe (discus, 129-10).

CIF champs

• 100 – Abigail Smith, Westlake, 11.63
• 800 – Caitlin Turner, Thousand Oaks, 2:10.81
• 4x100 relay – Sara Schwartz, Abigail Smith, Nicole Greenberg and Brooke Edell, Westlake, 47.32
• High jump – Angelyn Caldwell, Thousand Oaks, 5-5
• 3,200 – Sarah Baxter, Simi Valley, 10:27.9
• Discus – Dynn Leaupepe, Camarillo, 129-10

• 100 – Sydney Lewis, Oak Park, 11.7
• 200 – Sydney Lewis, Oak Park, 24.32

• Long jump – Blake Selig, Rio Mesa, 22-3.75
• 4x100 relay - Roderick White, Blake Selig, Darion Zimmerman and Cameron Roach, Rio Mesa, 41.05
• 4x400 relay - Anthony Teart, Darion Zimmerman, Blake Selig and Cameron Roach, Rio Mesa, 3:16.02

• 100 – Vinnie Saucer, Oaks Christian, 10.54
• 200 – Vinnie Saucer, Oaks Christian, 21.42
• 4x100 relay – Vinnie Saucer, Ishmael Adams, Francis Owusu and Terry Lee Johnson, Oaks Christian, 41.35
• Discus – Zack Bornstein, Oaks Christian, 159-1

Read the full article at: www.toacorn.com
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