Track & field: Dispenza nearly contends

CLOVIS — Although his season came to an abrupt end Friday, Marina High junior Matt Dispenza could not be too disappointed after barely missing a second chance to advance to Saturday's CIF state track and field championships at Buchanan High in Clovis.

Competing in the high jump in Friday's preliminaries, Dispenza cleared 6 feet, 5 inches on his first attempt, but he could not clear the bar in three tries at 6-7 (his personal best) and he was not among the 12 finalists. Dispenza had jumped 6-7 two weeks prior at the Southern Section finals.

"If one more person would've missed at 6-7 I would've had a chance to make it in a jump-off since I didn't have any misses at the starting height," said Dispenza, who transferred to Marina this year after finishing sixth in the Washington state finals last spring as a sophomore at Kentlake High near Seattle. "I felt really good after my first jump, but after I missed the first one at 6-7 it got in my head a little bit. On the first two attempts my approach was too slow and on the last one it was too fast and I fell onto the mat."

Dispenza called competing in California "a whole different league" and was surprised he made it as far as prelims.

"The weather is so much nicer — you use umbrellas for the sun instead of the rain," Dispenza said. "And it's way harder to qualify here. I jumped 6-4 in Washington and that wouldn't even have gotten me to state


Edison sophomore A.J. Beynon also competed in the high jump, but missed his three attempts at 6-5. Still, he was encouraged by his progress and optimistic about his future and the experience he gained Friday.

"I'm bummed I didn't make it but there's only one other sophomore here so I have to be happy with what I've done," said Beynon, who made the Southern Section finals as a freshman last spring. "My PR is 6-5 and

that was the opening height today. On my first attempt I didn't quite kick enough and just hit the bar with my calf. It was downhill from there."

Edison's Chandler Thorpe was one of five Orange County competitors to qualify for prelims in the pole vault, but his height of 15 feet was not enough to advance.

Fellow Charger Jeff Thies won the 3,200 at the Masters Meet in 9 minutes, 4.38 seconds to automatically secure a spot in Saturday's final.

In the girls high jump, Huntington Beach junior Susannah Oleson cleared 5-6 to advance to Saturday's finals after finishing third overall on attempts.

She was 10th at the Masters Meet with a height of 5-5.

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