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Baxter's two wins highlight Marmonte track championships

Published by
Scott Joerger   on May 6 2012, 04:15 AM

Baxter's two wins highlight Marmonte track championships

Runner goes distance at league finals


Even when she's not chasing records, Sarah Baxter still threatens the clock.

 

Focused on league championships over league records, Simi Valley High's standout sophomore nearly got it all at the Marmonte League championships Friday at Moorpark High on Friday evening.

 

Baxter easily won the girls 1,600 in a sterling time of 4 minutes, 52.01 seconds, then dominated her specialty race in taking the 3,200 in 10:28.27.

 

The 1,600 time was her best this season, and just a tad off the 16-year-old record of 4:51.46 set by Kim Mortensen of Thousand Oaks in 1996.

 

Her time of 10:28.27 in the 3,200 didn't approach her national-leading mark of 10:08.11 this season. But it was close to the league record of 10:25.99 set by Simi Valley's Anna Sperry in 2007.

 

"I was just looking to do my best today," she said. "I wasn't thinking about the league records. Winning league is very important to me. It's always a good feeling to win a league championship."

 

With CIF-Southern Section competition up next, Baxter will seek to defend her CIF-SS and state championships in the 3,200 and take a crack at the 1,600.

 

"I'm feeling very good," she said. "I hope it stays that way."

 

With no team scoring at the Marmonte League championships, it was a day for individuals to savor their performances.

 

Among the expected winners were defending league champion Tommy Lopez of Thousand Oaks in the boys 1,600 and 800. Fresh off his victory in last week's county championships, Lopez turned in a winning time of 4:25.58 in the 1,600.

 

He held off Kendall Esparza of Newbury Park to win the 800 in 1:56.98. Esparza finished in 1:57.24.

 

"It's my senior year, so I definitely wanted to come back and win it again," he said. "I've been enjoying some success in the 800, so that gave me extra confidence today."

 

Karsen Sper of Thousand Oaks won her second successive league title in the girls 100 hurdles, and set a league record in the process. Her winning time of 14.48 topped the 15-year-old record of 15.1 set by Shannon Livingston of Simi Valley in 1997.

 

Weslake's Adam Augustyn owned the top time in the county in the boys 110 hurdles, then set two personal bests this week. After a PR in the prelims, he followed with a faster time of 14.34 in the final.

 

He won the race dominated by graduated Agoura star Johnathan Cabral the past three seasons.

 

"I've been running with Johnathan since the fourth grade, and always been in his shadow," said the Warriors senior. "Today was my time to shine. The PR on Tuesday gave me a lot of confidence. I knew I had a great shot if I ran my race today."

 

A pair of surprise winners emerged in the boys and girls 400.

 

Royal senior Collin Gordon, with the fifth-best time in the field entering the race, powered his way to the victory in a personal-best 50.28.

 

"I didn't think I had to chance to win it," he said afterward. "I was just hoping to qualify for CIF. My best race is the 300 hurdles, so this is a total surprise."

 

Gordon won his specialty, too, taking a razor-close victory in the 300 hurdles in 39.69 with a lunge at the finish. He nipped Brandon Hughes of Moorpark, who crossed the line in 39.70.

 

Hannah Dearborn of Moorpark wasn't exactly counting on winning the girls 400.

 

But she chalked up a personal best of 59.02 to win her first league championship.

 

"I wasn't sure I could win until I turned the final quarter and saw that there was nobody in front of me," she said with a grin.

 

Terry Pagano of Newbury Park was a lesson in perseverance.

 

The defending league champion in the boys 400 ended up second in 50.75. But he rebounded to win his first league title in the 200 in 22.46.

 

"I have to start faster in the 400, no doubt about it," said Pagano, who will run the 400 at UC Santa Barbara beginning next year. "I had that kind of start in the 200, and that made the difference."

 

Pagano said his immediate goal is to run a 48.0 in CIF-SS competition.

 

"I've have splits that add up to a 48," he said. "I've got to put both together."

 

Other notable girls winners featured Westlake freshman Abigail Smith, who won both the 100 (11.99) and 200 (24.48); Simi Valley's Amanda Hamilton, first in the 300 hurdles in 44.44; and Newbury Park freshman Kendall Mader, who won the shot put (38 feet, 9 1/2 inches) and discus (122-8 1/2).

 

Among the boys, Gabriel Wirtz of Simi Valley was first in the 100 in 11.13 and Jonathan Byrne of Newbury Park won the 3,200 in 9:40.96.



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