TORRANCE — With a wealth of top track and field athletes showcased at the CIF Southern Section Division Finals at El Camino College on Saturday, there was plenty of talent abound.
Among area athletes, four won division championships and five extended their seasons and qualified for the Masters Meet.
Crescenta Valley High junior Dylan Wilbur, St. Francis senior Matthew Molina, La Cañada junior David Miketta and Village Christian sophomore and La Crescenta resident Mia Barnett — a double winner — each won division titles and automatic berths to next week’s Masters Meet at El Camino College.
Burbank High junior Jayla Flowers will also compete in the Masters Meet having qualified in the Division I girls’ triple jump.
In a meet that also included athletes from Burroughs, Providence, Glendale, Flintridge Prep and Flintridge Sacred Heart, individuals gained experience in the finals.
Wilbur won the Division I boys’ 1,600-meter race in 4 minutes, 12.31 seconds. The Falcons junior broke away from the pack in the final two laps and pulled away in the final stretch of the race to win the title.
“I knew that I had the leg speed,” Wilbur said. “I knew that as long as I was in it with 400 to go, I’ll have it. I just knew I could the last 400. I’m glad I did.”
The Spartans’ Miketta won the Division III boys’ pole vault, clearing 15-feet on his second attempt. He bested Rio Hondo League rival Lucas Tailin of South Pasadena, who had a 14-6 effort.
“[Tailin] was out here and he was helping me out and talking to me a lot,’ Miketta said. “After it happened, he’s taking sports medicine and he came over to my house and told me ‘You have to do this, this and this. You have to ice it. You have to get your leg elevated.’ I probably would not be out here without him.
“We work out all the time together. We work out over the summer together at San Marino. He and I were awesome and I’m so happy we went 1 and 2. It was just a great meet for both of us.”
The Golden Knights’ Molina repeated as Division III champion in the boys’ high jump with a 6-6 winning mark. Although Molina won a title last season in the the boys’ 110 hurdles, he placed third Saturday in 15.14 to qualify for the Masters Meet. However, with St. Francis’ graduation ceremony set for the week following the Masters Meet, the senior is contemplating competing in the event.
“Topping what I did last year, I feel like I came into the season a little late,” Molina said. “It was a little rushed, too, but I think it was overall pretty good. I jumped 6-6. I’m happy with that. I feel like if I just tweaked some little things, I’ll be jumping the way I want to.
“I changed my marks five times this season because I kept rolling my ankle over and over and it was really annoying. I had been really inconsistent with the jumps lately. Coming out here doing 6-6, I’m happy with that because I’m able to do it still.”
In the Division IV boys’ 800, Flintridge Prep senior Sebastian Evans finished eighth in 2:05.53 and Glendale senior Julius Reyes placed eighth in the Division I boys’ discus with a 151-7 mark.
Burroughs sophomore Eli Gualt-Crabb backed out of the Division I boys’ pole vault due to a lingering hamstring injury. He retired after his first attempt in warm-ups.
Providence sophomore Ryan Clemens finished eighth in the Division IV boys’ 110 hurdles in 16.34 and sophomore teammate Kieran Gehan placed ninth in 16.73 in the same event. Clemens also finished seventh in the Division IV boys’ 300 hurdles in 44.22 and Pioneers junior Bryce Whitaker recorded a fifth-place finish in the Division IV boys’ triple jump with a 41-5 ½ mark.
Barnett won titles in the girls’ Division IV 1,600 and 3,200 races. Barnett finished the 1,600 in 4:47.30 and the 3,200 in 10:33.95.
“It’s very special and I’m very grateful for the opportunity,” Barnett said. “I’m super happy that I qualified. I’m really excited for the races to come because I felt pretty strong in both today.
“It is a lot of pressure when you have a really good freshman season. Today, I was just trying to remember what I have done before and I execute it. I was one second off of my 1,600 personal record, but I’m still happy with it because I haven’t raced it too much this season and I have a lot of races to go. For the 3,200, I was two seconds off of my time from last year. I’m pretty happy there and I felt pretty strong there, too.”
The Bulldogs’ Flowers qualified for the Masters Meet as she placed third in the Division I girls’ triple jump with a 38-5 mark. The junior will also be an alternate in the long jump after she jumped 17-10 ½ to place fourth.
La Cañada sophomore Ellaney Matarese placed third in the Division III girls’ 800 with a time of 2:15.44, nearly a half-second off Masters Meet qualification. Spartans junior Sarah Auther finished the Division III girls’ 3,200 in 15th (11:32.92).
Flintridge Prep freshman Chase Sullivan placed fifth in the Division IV girls’ triple jump with a 34-9 leap and Flintridge Sacred Heart senior Kelly Carney jumped 33-8 ¼ in the same event to place eighth.
Providence sophomore Nicole Rochart placed ninth in the Division IV girls’ shot put (32-4 ¼) and the Providence girls’ 4x400 meter relay team of Gabriella Florian, Katherin Asryan, Nadia Singleton, Kristen Ayap finished ninth (4:16.39) in the Division IV race.