Rio Mesa and Oak Park highs, both in search of a Southern Section track and field title, took impressive first steps toward that goal in the Channel League and Tri-Valley League finals last week.
Rio Mesa--powered by Angela Burnham--won eight of 15 girls' events in the Channel League finals Friday at Santa Barbara City College.
Oak Park--led by Jason Stein--won nine of 16 boys' events at the Tri-Valley League finals at Fillmore last Thursday.
Burnham won the 100 meters in 11.7 seconds and the 200 meters in 25.0, and anchored the Spartans' 400 and 1,600 relays to victories in 49.0 and 3 minutes, 57.5 seconds.
Teammates Shannon Wiebelhaus, Danielle Tanner and Tarin Tucker also won events.
Wiebelhaus, who runs the second leg on the Spartans' relays, ran 45.9 in the 300 low hurdles and freshman Tanner set a personal best of 58.5 in the 400.
Tucker, a junior, added victories in the long jump (15 feet, 11 1/4 inches) and triple jump (34-4).
Rio Mesa, which tied Bakersfield for last year's state title, qualified two relay teams and seven athletes in nine individual events for Saturday's 3-A prelims at Gahr High.
The top three finishers in each event in the league finals advanced to this week's Southern Section prelims.
Second behind Hawthorne in last year's 4-A championships, Rio Mesa was moved to the 3-A last September when the Channel League switched divisions.
The move has made the Spartans a favorite for the 3-A girls' title. The boys' team also has a good chance to place in the top five.
"We're looking good right now," Rio Mesa co-coach Brian FitzGerald said. "We didn't have any big disappointments in the league finals. Everyone who we needed to get through, did."
The Rio Mesa boys' team--led by Scott Guerrero--won four events at the league finals and qualified 12 athletes in eight individual events--plus the 1,600 relay team--for the 3-A prelims.
Guerrero won the 800 in 1:59.4, placed second in the 400 in 50.4, and anchored the victorious 1,600 relay (3:24.5).
Teammates Eric Thomas (6-8 in the high jump) and Patrick Van Scoy (52-8 1/2 in the shotput) also won events.
Sophomore Van Scoy added a second-place effort in the discus (149-0).
Stein, the two-time defending 1-A champion in the 400, did it all for Oak Park, the defending 1-A team champion, in the Tri-Valley League finals.
Stein, a senior, won the 220 yards (22.7), the 440 (50.6), the 330-yard intermediate hurdles (42.2) and also anchored the victorious 440 relay team (43.8).
Rich Frank and Jess Garner were also instrumental in Oak Park's victory.
Frank won the 100 meters in 10.7, placed second in the 220 (22.8) and ran the first leg on the 440 relay.
Garner took the 120-yard high hurdles in 15.0, ran the third leg on the 440 relay, placed second in the 330 intermediate hurdles (42.4) and was third in the 100 (11.4).
Oak Park qualified 17 athletes in 10 events, plus both relay teams, for the 1-A prelims at Arcadia High on Saturday.
Mike Williamson of Thousand Oaks, Philip Antoine of Newbury Park, Tim Ross of Royal and Kim Mays of Westlake were double winners at the Marmonte League finals at Camarillo High on Friday.
Williamson, runner-up in last year's State Division I cross-country championships, had an impressive triple to help Thousand Oaks win the boys' team title with 119 points, 11 ahead of runner-up Royal.
Williamson won the 1,600 in 4:21.67, the 3,200 in 9:19.15, and finished third in the 800 in a personal best of 1:58.41.
Antoine won the 100 (11.03) and 200 (22.65), while sophomore Ross took the high jump (6-6) and triple jump (42-5 1/4).
In the girls' meet, Mays led the Warriors to a 124-117 upset victory over league dual-meet champion Thousand Oaks, winning the 100 low hurdles in 15.61 and the high jump at 5-4.
Tiffany Lammers (12.68 in the 100), Christy Wede (1:00.31 in the 400) and Jeanine Rothman (11:23.28 in the 3,200) added victories for Westlake, which won both relays as well.