Aidan Elbettar overcame a shaky first throw Saturday morning in the CIF Southern Section Divisional Track and Field finals at El Camino College.
The Newport Harbor High junior fouled. With just three throws remaining in the Division 2 discus, he could have been feeling the pressure.
But Elbettar responded like a champion. His third throw of 193 feet, three inches won him the title, his first Southern Section crown. He came back later for the shotput title, his mark of 58-11 again putting him on top of Division 2.
“The first throw [in the discus] wasn’t the best, but then I came back and the series felt really good,” Elbettar said. “I threw a 184, then a 193, then it would have been a 200 but a small mistake caused it not to be.”
Elbettar moves on to the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet on May 18 back at El Camino College in both events. His 20 points also were a big help as Newport Harbor’s boys finished fourth in Division 2 as a team.
Eight other local athletes also advanced to the Masters Meet by earning top nine overall performances in their events, or top 12 in the 800 meters, 1,600, 3,200 and all field events.
Marina senior Skyler Magula repeated as CIF champion. After winning Division 2 last year he won the Division 1 boys’ pole vault, clearing a height of 15-6. Edison sophomore Ryan Rivituso is also headed to the Masters Meet after placing a close second in the Division 2 boys’ 400 meters in a personal-best 48.26 seconds.
Laguna Beach senior Sebastian Fisher was second in the Division 3 boys’ 1,600 meters, crossing the finish line in a personal-best 4:11.00 to advance.
Huntington Beach senior Jack Wiseman and Edison senior Aiden Garnett both are headed back to the Masters Meet in the boys’ high jump, after Wiseman placed third in Division 1 (6-6) and Garnett fifth in Division 2 (also 6-6).
Newport Harbor senior Alexis Garcia also stamped his ticket to continue in the postseason as he was second in the Division 2 boys’ 3,200 run in 9:15.07. Marina junior Alejandra Rosales made it in the girls’ discus after she was fourth in Division 1 in 138-3.
Corona del Mar senior Cole White will join Elbettar in the shotput. White was third in Division 3, in 53-2 ¾.
Elbettar is the first overall qualifier for Masters in the discus and third in the shotput, even as he may have left something on the table Saturday in the latter event.
“He really had a good week of practice in the shotput,” Sailors throws coach Tony Ciarelli said. “I really thought we were going to go 64 feet today, but I think it’s coming. If he can make some mistakes and still get the gold medal, then that’s a good thing … Even though with my ego, I want more distance, the next three weeks it’s about winning. If you only throw 52 feet and you’re in first place, you’re first place.”
Magula cleared 15-6 on his first attempt to return to the Masters Meet, where he also was the champion last year.
“Every time I clear that height on my first attempt, I know that the day’s going to be a good day,” he said. “It’s big poles, so it’s always great to get over that bar, especially with how the season has gone.”
Edison’s Rivituso continued his late-season surge in the boys’ 400. Though he was second in Division 2, he had to wait to find out that he was the last qualifier – ninth of nine – for Masters.
“I’ve just been starting off a lot harder, practices are going really well and I’ve been feeling really good,” Rivituso said. “Every race I’ve just been going a little faster, pushing myself a little harder. I keep getting new PR’s, so I’m really happy with my results.”
Garcia, a cross country standout for Newport Harbor who had failed to make it past the Division 2 preliminaries in track before this year, said he was happy to advance to Masters. So was Marina’s Rosales, who qualified for the second straight year with her very last throw of 138-3.
“If I’m going to be completely honest with you, I was freaking out,” Rosales said. “I was like, ‘Coach, I don’t know if I’m going to make it with a 131.’ He was like, ‘Just relax.’ If I didn’t make it, I was going to be a little bit depressed, but it’s an honor to make it this far.”
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