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Star's top female track athletes » Ventura County Star

Published by
chadscott   Jun 14th 2012, 2:59am

Baxter repeats as Star's top female track athlete

Sarah Baxter's only loss so far in high school helped Simi win a CIF title

Halfway through her high school career, Sarah Baxter has been just about as perfect as any track and field athlete can hope to be.

Two seasons, two 3,200-meter state championships. Add to that two cross country state championships and you begin to get an idea of what an elite athlete Baxter is.

It's no surprise, then, that the Simi Valley High sophomore is The Star's Girls Track Athlete of the Year for the second straight year. Baxter has also received two corresponding honors in cross country.

Baxter won the state championship in the 3,200 on June 2 in Clovis with a time of 10 minutes, 12.00 seconds. That came after winning the CIF-Southern Section championship in 10:27.90, the Marmonte League title in 10:28.27 and the Ventura County championship in 10:21.61.

Her fastest time of the season — and her career — came April 7 at the Arcadia Invitational, 10:08.11. It was not only the fastest time in the state this year, but also in the nation.

However, her biggest race this year might not have even been in the 3,200. It may have been the 1,600 at the CIF-SS finals, the only race in high school she has not won.

In the Division 2 final at Mount San Antonio College on a hot May 19, Baxter was nipped by 2.14 seconds in the 1,600 by Xochitl Navarrete of Ontario-Colony. It may have been a shock to see Baxter lose a race, but the eight points she scored for Simi Valley, along with the 10 points she scored at the end of the meet in winning the 3,200, pushed the Pioneers over the top to win the team title by five points over San Bernardino-Cajon.

Simi Valley became the 13th CIF-SS school to win track and cross country titles in the same school year."It was about helping my team," Baxter said. "I was happy that we made it that far, so I was excited about helping my team in any way I could, because I was only doing two races."Simi Valley coach Roger Evans said Baxter has always been willing to make sacrifices for the Pioneers.

"Our ultimate goal for (her this) season was to repeat as the state champion and she also is very much a team-oriented athlete," Evans said. "Our goal was to win the Marmonte League championship. That was very important to her as well.

"We had no idea at the beginning of the season that the team would develop to be a CIF champion. Around the Ventura County Championships is when we began to notice that we had an opportunity to be CIF champions. She came on board with that. She was fully willing to go all the way through the finals, run that 1,600 even though it wasn't her best race and never batted an eye, never argued, never said, 'Well, I don't know.' She was fully on board with that."

In addition to defending her state title next year, Baxter is also eying breaking the 10-minute barrier. Evans said it might have been possible at this year's state meet if the elements hadn't been against her.

"Our primary goals individually were to win the state championship and to break 10 minutes in the 3,200," Evans said. "It was very windy at the state meet and that had a significant adverse effect on her not breaking that. Whether she would've if it was not windy, no one knows. But I believe she was very capable of doing that. Her training was set up and she had been mastering and completing every step along the way of the training."

Baxter is third all-time in the 3,200 in the CIF-SS. The goal of getting under 10:00 is still there, and once she breaks that, Baxter will begin setting her sights on passing the top two Southern Section runners: Jordan Hasay of San Luis Obispo-Mission Prep, 9:52.13 (2008), and Thousand Oaks' Kim Mortensen, who set the national record of 9:48.59 in 1996.

"For track her first goal is to go under 10 minutes and the ultimate goal, before she leaves high school, obviously, she would like to have Kim Mortensen's 9:48 national record," Evans said. "Now that would be a crowning goal, but that's a tough one. That's out there."

Baxter seems to be taking the quest for whatever records lie ahead in stride.

"My main goal was to break 10," she said, "but that's going to be my goal throughout the whole high school season. So if I don't get it now, I'll just have it as a goal for when I keep going the next two years."

"If I can just get under 10, I'm just going to keep going after my PRs and see where I can get. I'm not after any time specifically other than breaking 10. I'll just wait till I get there — if I get there — and see what I can do."


Name School Year Event(s)
Abigail Smith Westlake Fr. 100
Sydney Lewis Oak Park Sr. 200
Sarah Johnson Oaks Christian Fr. 400
Kelly Reinke La Reina Sr. 800
Nicki Ghazarian Westlake Sr. 1,600, 3,200
Maya Aviezar Agoura Jr. 100 hurdles
Savannah Sipes Newbury Park So. 300 hurdles
Marissa Rossi Calabasas Sr. Long jump
Amanda Hamilton Simi Valley Sr. Triple jump
Erinn Beattie Buena Fr. High jump
Kendall Mader Newbury Park Fr. Shot put
Katelyn Homb Ventura Jr. Discus
Kim Sanchez Oaks Christian Sr. Pole vault
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