Daily Pilot Girls’ Track and Field Dream Team: Alejandra Rosales next in Marina’s throwing pipeline

Alejandra Rosales of Marina was the lone girl in the area to advance to the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet in the 2019 season.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

The abilities and expectations of Alejandra Rosales have come a long way since she transferred to Marina High before her sophomore year.

As a freshman at Los Amigos, Rosales advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division 3 preliminaries after finishing as the runner-up in the Garden Grove League finals in the girls’ discus throw with a mark of 97 feet, 7½ inches.

The goal has moved well beyond breaking the 100-foot threshold since then.

Rosales, the Daily Pilot Girls’ Track and Field Dream Team Athlete of the Year in 2019, picked up wins at the Griffin Relays (127-10) and the Laguna Beach Trophy Invitational (127-7) at the start of her junior season.

The wins were welcome, but Rosales wanted to hold herself to a higher standard. She would become disappointed if she did not get the mark she wanted. As a junior, the Vikings star said she always wanted to break at least 130 feet in the discus throw.

“The only reason why I’m upset is because I know what I am capable of,” Rosales said. “I have an average for myself. Since I have been throwing so long and so far, I have an average, and if I don’t hit that average, I will be upset because I know what I am capable of.”

Rosales’ intense side is one rarely seen by the competition. Even at the bigger meets, Rosales gives advice to those who ask for it, a quality that compelled Vikings throws coach Mike Giron to nickname Rosales the “Care Bear.”

“I think the one thing that I get asked about the most is maybe how to stop being nervous,” Rosales said. “I honestly haven’t accomplished that myself. I get nervous, and I think that’s why that Care Bear attitude comes out because if I think about it too much, I’m going to psych myself out.

“I try to think positively, try talking to other people, those who want to talk to me. It kind of just clears my head.”

Marina's Alejandra Rosales competes in the discus throw during the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet at El Camino College on May 18.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Giron said that he can never ask more of Rosales with her work ethic. He added that she has a great eye for detail, which is why he sometimes has her lead groups during drills as a mentor.

“I will sometimes split the [throwers] up into groups of five just to work on drills,” Giron said. “I will always make sure that I have my young little freshmen and my newbies with Alejandra because I know that she does a great job of explaining things.”

Asah Harris, Jacob Hoisington, Kylie Dillman and Jane Paden are among those looking to step up as the future of the Vikings throwing program.

Rosales came along right after the Vikings graduated former CIF State finalists Kyle Tsu and Jake Arnold in 2017.

The season ended one step shy of the state meet in consecutive years for Rosales. She was the first one to miss the cut in the discus throw at the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet on May 18, placing seventh with a mark of 135-11.

In the Division 1 preliminaries, Rosales unleashed a lifetime-best throw of 143-9 in the event. She will also carry a personal record of 38-10 in the shotput into her senior year.

“I’m going to try my hardest again, and I’m going to give it everything that I have because that’s all I can do,” said Rosales, who has won back-to-back league titles in the discus throw. “It’s my final year. It’s my senior year, and it’s time for me to spread my wings and fly. It’s such a cliché, but I want it so bad. Honestly, I think it’s better that I didn’t make it [to state] this year because now it’s a want. It’s a need. It’s a necessity.

“Now, it’s something that I am striving for 20, even 50 times more than I did the year before and the year before that.”

Costa Mesa coach Steve Moreno, left, hugs Tayla Crenshaw during a signing day ceremony on April 25, 2018.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)


Steve Moreno

Costa Mesa

Costa Mesa won six of the 15 events contested in the Orange Coast League finals, which led to a resounding 161.5-97.5 victory over Estancia. The Mustangs claimed their first league title in 12 seasons.


Kaho Cichon

Mid-distance runner | Fountain Valley | Fr.

The Barons freshman burst on the scene, making noise as an 800-meter runner and as a member of the area’s fastest 1,600 relay team. The quartet of Amie Le, Crystal Nguyen, Sophie Lopez and Cichon topped out at 3 minutes 55.55 seconds in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 preliminaries, and their victory in the Surf League final clinched the team league title for Fountain Valley. Cichon also won the Surf League crown in the 800. Her time of 2:15.23 in the Division 1 finals left her less than a second off the pace to advance to the Masters Meet.

Corona del Mar's Paige Damron finishes in second place behind winner Isabella Ales of Troy in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles event of the Beach Cities Invitational at Huntington Beach High on March 23.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Paige Damron

Hurdles | Corona del Mar | Sr.

Damron became a three-time CIF Southern Section finalist and two-time league champion in the 300 intermediate hurdles, her signature event. She won titles in the Irvine Invitational, Laguna Beach Trophy Invitational and Surf League finals. The Sea Kings senior also enjoyed the best placing of her career at the Orange County Championships, finishing as the runner-up. Her seasonal-best time was 45.46 seconds at the Arcadia Invitational. Damron also ran on both of CdM’s CIF-qualifying relay teams.

Nicolette Gruber

Jumps | Marina | Jr.

Marina narrowly defeated Newport Harbor 90-83.5 for the Wave League title. Gruber made major contributions to the league championship, winning both the high jump and the long jump events. She established a new personal record of 5-3 in the high jump at the CIF Southern Section Division 1 preliminaries, which earned Gruber her first career trip to the finals.

Olivia Iverson

Sprints | Marina | Fr.

Iverson could be one to watch for years to come. She popped up on the radar of many when she ran a lifetime-best time of 57.17 seconds to win the 400 at the Laguna Beach Trophy Invitational. Iverson advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division 1 preliminaries in the 400 and as a part of both of Marina’s relay teams. The 1,600 relay team of Angelica Hardin, Grace Ellis, Makena Castillo and Iverson won the race that clinched the Wave League crown. She paced all locals in the 200 (25.28) and the 400 (1:00).

Diane Molina

Distance runner | Costa Mesa | Jr.

Costa Mesa snapped a prolonged league title drought in topping crosstown rival Estancia 161.5-97.5. Molina had her footprints all over the scoring, and she helped her team earn a total of 36 points. She had victories in the 800 and the 1,600 relay, a race in which she teamed up with Vanessa Carrillo, Daisy Carrillo and Rayleen Chavez. She finished as the league runner-up to Santa Ana’s Maria Hernandez in the 1,600 and the 3,200. Molina lowered her personal-best time in the 3,200 to 10:57.86 with a third-place showing in the Orange County Championships, and she was a CIF Southern Section finalist in the event for the second year in a row.

Laguna Beach's Majia Shaw (4) runs down the final stretch of the 400-meter event in the Wave League finals on April 25.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Majia Shaw

All-around | Laguna Beach | So.

Shaw went where the Breakers needed her throughout the season, competing in seven different events over the course of the spring. A move from the Orange Coast League to the Wave League did not lessen her impact. Individually, Shaw won league titles in the 200 and the 400. The Breakers also won the 400 relay at their league finals with Ella Dartez, Shanai Auguis, Riley Russo and Shaw forming the team. It will be fun to watch Shaw and Iverson compete in the Wave League going forward.


*CIF Southern Section Masters qualifier

100 — Ella Dartez, Laguna Beach, So.; Cori Hoffer, Edison, Jr.; Kaitlyn Paculba, Marina, So.

200 — Cori Hoffer, Edison, Jr.; Olivia Iverson, Marina, Fr.

400 — Olivia Iverson, Marina, Fr.; Majia Shaw, Laguna Beach, So.

800 — Kaho Cichon, Fountain Valley, Fr.; Sydney Sharp, Corona del Mar, So.

1,600 Maya Buchwald, Corona del Mar, Jr.; Ashley Faller, Fountain Valley, Sr.; Sara Feitz, Fountain Valley, Sr.; Ashlee Gallegos, Fountain Valley, Fr.; Diane Molina, Costa Mesa, Jr.

3,200 — Isa Glassen, Newport Harbor, So.; Diane Molina, Costa Mesa, Jr.

100HH — Kyli Moon-Rumsey, Huntington Beach, Jr.; Megan Weiss, Edison, Jr.

300IH Paige Damron, Corona del Mar, Sr.; Kenna Robar, Newport Harbor, So.

400 relay — Edison ; Fountain Valley; Laguna Beach

1,600 relay Fountain Valley

HJ — Hana Chin, Huntington Beach, Sr.; Nicolette Gruber, Marina, Jr.; Xolani Hodel, Huntington Beach, Jr.

LJ — Hannah Forest, Edison, So.; Caroline Glessing, Corona del Mar, Fr.; Nicolette Gruber, Marina, Jr.

TJ — Anh Nguyen, Fountain Valley, Sr.; Sophia Pham, Huntington Beach, Sr.; Vy Truong, Fountain Valley, Jr.

PV — Katrina Espeleta, Huntington Beach, Jr.; Shannon Strassman, Corona del Mar, So.

SP — Ariana Grum, Newport Harbor, So.; Caitlyn Rayburn, Marina, Sr.; Alejandra Rosales, Marina, Jr.; Keely Togafau, Fountain Valley, Sr.

DT Alejandra Rosales, Marina, Jr.*


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