Surprise Wins Spice Valley Pac-8 Conference Finals : Prep track: Monroe’s Wiley upsets Gastelum in the 1,600 meters while Hester of Van Nuys steals the 400 championship.
Runaway victories usually don’t offer much in the way of excitement. Clutch performances and upset victories, on the other hand, generally do.
But all three elements came together at the Valley Pac-8 Conference track and field finals Thursday afternoon at Birmingham High.
Both Monroe junior Bobby Wiley’s upset of City Section leader Brian Gastelum of Birmingham in the 1,600 meters and Van Nuys senior Russell Hester’s come-from-behind victory in the 400 brought the crowd to its feet, even though each race was won handily.
Wiley relieved Gastelum of the lead just after passing 800 meters in a slowish 2 minutes 16 seconds. Wiley finished in a personal-best 4:29.9 and Gastelum, running in his second race of the day, was second in 4:33.7.
“I was scared. I thought he was going to come back,” Wiley said. “I knew there was no way I could beat him on a sprint.”
Gastelum, who has run 4:09.87 to lead City 1,600 runners, earlier won an exhausting duel with Dov Waisman of North Hollywood in the 800. Gastelum timed 1:55.6 and runner-up Waisman clocked 1:59.2.
Gastelum said the minimal rest between races at the nonscoring meet drained him.
“I just didn’t have it, plain and simple,” he said.
Gastelum came back in the 3,200 to edge Wiley, 9:48.8 to 9:49.8.
Hester, meanwhile, was dealing with only his third 400 race this season.
Normally a 200 runner, Hester loitered in fifth place before starting a tremendous sprint with 150 meters remaining to win in 50.6. Hester surged by Birmingham’s Mike Moguel, who finished second in 51.2, in the final 45 meters.
“I just try to stay with (the pack),” Hester said.
Moguel later held off a stretch charge from Hester in the 200, winning in 23.1. Hester was second in 23.2.
Feltina Means of Van Nuys closed a four-win day by taking the triple jump, bounding 32 feet, 4 1/2 inches on her final attempt.
Means, a state meet qualifier in two events last year, handily won the 100 low hurdles (16.5), 300 low hurdles (47.3) and long jump (16-10).
But if Means’ day seems long, consider the plight of Birmingham pole vaulter Howard Schrier. While the 1,600 relays--the final running event of the meet--were finishing, Schrier was just getting started.
The Brave senior already had won the event with a 13-6 effort, but he attempted 13-11 and 14 feet to improve his meet record. He cleared both heights, then just brushed off the bar at 14-3 on his final try.
Schrier said that the long periods between vaults, when officials measured the height of the bar with a tape, broke his concentration.
“It was taking a lot of time, 20 minutes between jumps,” said Schrier.
Schrier said his next goal is a City championship.
“I’ve been thinking about it the whole year,” he said.
Van Nuys’ Matthew Roderick came within a fraction of a second of winning four events.
Roderick claimed the 300 intermediate hurdles (41.5), high jump (6-0) and triple jump (46-1), but finished second to Pierre Derosiers (14.2) of Birmingham in the 110 high hurdles. Roderick ran 14.9.
Phil Leonard of Van Nuys also cleared six feet in the high jump, finishing second.
Cheri-Lee Segal of Birmingham ran away with titles in the girls’ 1,600 and 3,200. Segal ran 5:29.2 and 12:24.8, respectively, to successfully defend her league titles in both events.
Anjelica Mosley of Van Nuys and Monroe’s Shanrika Williams split wins in the 100 and 200. Mosley timed 12.8 to turn back Williams (12.9) in the 100. Williams edged Mosley in the 200, 26.5 to 26.8.