It’s been a long time coming for the Laguna Beach High girls’ track and field program.
For the Breaker boys, such things are becoming second nature.
May 7 on their home track, site of the Orange Coast League championships, the Laguna girls captured their first outright league championship. The last time the program won a title was in 1981, the year they shared the South Coast League crown with Capistrano Valley.
The 29-year drought is over.
“The girls were very impressive,” girls’ Coach Steve Lalim said. “They worked hard all season and it paid off.”
On the same day, the Laguna boys continued their recent league domination by capturing their fourth-straight championship.
“The boys came through when they needed to,” boys’ Coach Scott Wittkop said. “It was a hard-fought victory.”
Girls’ track and field
At the Orange Coast League championships, five Breakers won individual league titles and the 4 X 100 meter relay team of Alex Degarmo, Christina , Sabina Seyster and Jessie Good Man also took first place.
Winning individual titles were won by Natasha Strickland, who won twice (1,600 meters, 5 minutes 21 seconds, 3,200, 11:45), Lauren Montgomery (100-meter hurdles, 17.71), Samantha Gardner (shot put, 31 feet 1) and Christianne Kinder (high jump, 5 feet).
Strickland has had an outstanding year. Earlier in the season at the O.C. Championships, she set a school record (11:13) in the 3,200 meters. It was the fastest run for the Laguna program in the last 25 years, Lalim said.
Laguna will compete Saturday at the CIF Southern Section Track and Field preliminaries. The Breakers will be in the Division IV competition in Carpinteria. Several Breakers will be looking to advance to the Division IV finals.
Laguna athletes who have hit qualifying times or marks for CIF and will compete in Carpinteria are: senior Alex Degarmo (27.01) and sophomore Marisa Merchant (27.02) in the 200 meters; senior Jesse Good Man (1:01.53) in the 400 meters; sophomore Natasha Strickland (5:21.47) and senior McKenna Nokes (5:30.95) in the 1,600 meters; Strickland (11:45.19), Nokes (11:56.39) and junior Carly Savage (12:25.13) in the 3,200 meters; sophomore Lauren Montgomery in the 100-meter hurdles (17.70) and 300-meter hurdles (50.21); junior Christianne Kinder (5-feet-0) in the high jump; seniors Sabina Seyster (15-feet-4) and Kate Winn (15-feet-1 1/2 ) in the long jump; Seyster (30-feet-9 1/2 ) and junior Christa French (30-feet-6 1/2 ) in the triple jump; junior Samantha Garner (31-feet-1) in the shot put; the 4 by 100 meter relay team (50.52) of Gardilcic, Degarmo, Good Man, Seyster, with Merchant and French as alternates, 50.52, and the 4 by 400 meter relay team (4:25.22) of Good Man, Merchant, Kempler, Toma and Montgomery.
Good Man (400 meters) and Strickland and Nokes (3,200) qualified last year for CIF, as well.
“I’d love to see as many girls as possible advance to CIF finals,” Lalim said. “I think we have a couple girls who could compete for a CIF title. The have all really worked hard this year. It’s gonna be fun.”
Lalim said that Serra of Gardena is considered the favorite for the Division IV team title.
Boys’ track and field
In winning the Orange Coast League championship, Sean Pigden (800 meters), Matt Neev (1,600 and 3,200) and Brett Linkletter (long jump) claimed individual titles.
“The distance team really came through for us, taking five of the top six places in the 1,600, and four of the top six places in the 3,200,” Coach Scott Wittkop said.
CIF prelim qualifiers who will compete Saturday in Carpinteria are: senior Brett Linkletter (400 meters, 51.77); seniors Sean Pigden (2:02.72) and Tommy Newton (2:03.86) in the 800 meters; Newton (4:30.23) and juniors Matt Neev (4:28.99) and Aaron Swartz (4:34.68) in the 1,800 meters; Neev (9:32.84) and senior Blake Hofmeister (9:48.09) in the 3,200 meters; Linkletter in the long jump (21-feet-4) and triple jump 40-feet-1 3/4 ; senior Alex Masukawa (37-feet-8) in the long jump; freshman Ricky Delatorre (42-feet) in the shot put and the 4 by 400 meter relay team of Linkletter, Norte Penney, Tyler Nicholas and Pigden.
Newton, Hofmeister and Neev are past CIF qualifiers.
Serra also figures as the favorite to win the boys’ Division IV title, with Oaks Christian and Laguna Beach key contenders for the crown. Those three teams occupied the top three spots in last week’s boys’ Division IV CIF poll.