The track and field season had more than its fair share of peaks and valleys.
Three local high school athletes extended their seasons to the final day of competition at the CIF State track and field championships. Two of them — Marina High’s Skyler Magula and Newport Harbor’s Aidan Elbettar — ended their campaigns on the high of securing their first state medals.
Magula produced at a high level when the CIF postseason came around. He won the Division 2 boys’ pole vault title, and that was very literally the beginning.
Over the last two weeks of the season, he accomplished a pair of personal records. He won the CIF Southern Section Masters meet with a mark of 15 feet, 9 inches.
Having never surpassed the divisional preliminaries in his career, Magula competed in his first state meet. In the state finals on Saturday night, the junior cleared the bar at 15-10 to achieve his second personal record in as many weeks.
Converting initial attempts on the opening heights helped Magula earn fifth place. He made his first jump on the first two bars of Saturday night.
“We got on a bigger pole (15-feet, 180 pounds) earlier, so when I got to 15-10, I had to come up a little bit shorter, and I hit it on the way down twice,” Magula said. “I made it on that third attempt, which was pretty good because [recording a PR] at the last meet of the year is always something that everyone wants to do.”
On a couple of occasions, Magula had the opportunity to take part in competitions with the newly-minted state record-holder, Sondre Guttormsen of Davis (18-2½).
“It’s definitely cool watching him jump high,” Magula said. “Everyone kind of has their own technique, and his technique is different than mine.”
As for the benefits of watching an elite talent with his own eyes, Magula said, “Just seeing how he adjusts at those heights, where he passes to, just to get a knowledge of how things really work all the way up there.”
While one of the area’s state medalist had yet to put together a significant postseason run, the other had only competed in varsity-level competition in league dual meets his freshman year.
Elbettar made the jump from Sunset League frosh-soph champion to sixth-place medalist in the boys’ shotput state finals on Saturday.
A difference of opinion often ensues between coach and athlete when the state meet arrives. Most coaches prefer placing, while the athlete is always in search of their lifetime best.
Elbettar uncorked a career-best throw of 58-2¾ to earn the last spot on the podium, improving his standing from the preliminaries by the necessary one spot.
The standout bucked the trend in terms of his goals at state, as well as the pattern relating to the performance of underclassmen in the state finals.
“Since I’m a sophomore, it would be a real shock to everyone how I was able to make it onto the podium in shotput,” Elbettar said. “As a sophomore, it’s not usually done by anyone.”
In her second state meet, Costa Mesa senior and UC Irvine signee Tayla Crenshaw made her first state final by claiming the last qualifying spot. She took 10th in the girls’ discus throw state finals with a mark of 138-5.
Of local interest, a defending state medalist in the girls’ discus throw was denied a chance to repeat that success when an emergency appendectomy sidelined Costa Mesa senior Felicia Crenshaw (committed to San Diego State) for the Orange Coast League finals.