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Area track and field trio punch tickets to state meet

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Burbank High’s Jayla Flowers finished fourth in the triple jump with a personal-best mark of 38 feet, 11 1/2 inches at the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet Saturday at El Camino College.
(File Photo)

TORRANCE — A small contingent of area track and field standouts shared a common goal to advance to the state meet.

In order to accomplish that feat, the quartet needed a top-six finish or meet a qualifying mark in their respective events at the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet on Saturday at El Camino College.

Three of the four achieved their objective, as Burbank High’s Jayla Flowers, Crescenta Valley’s Dylan Wilbur and La Crescenta resident Mia Barnett advanced to the 101th annual CIF State Track and Field Championships.

Flowers and Wilbur will make their inaugural appearances at the state meet, which will be held Friday and Saturday at Buchanan High in Clovis. Barnett, a Village Christian athlete, will make her second straight visit to state competition. La Cañada’s David Mikenna saw his bid to qualify for the state meet for the first time come up short.

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Though none of the athletes won their events Saturday, Flowers paved the way with a personal-best mark of 38 feet, 11-½ inches in the triple jump for fourth place.

“Your motivated by the competition because it’s so good,” said Flowers, a sophomore who took third in the CIF Southern Section Division with a mark of 38-5 on May 18 and won Pacific League titles in the triple and long jumps. “I’m competing against people I know and it helps you prepare that much more.

“I was a little nervous on the run way and I didn’t think I’d make it past today. I had to stay with it. To then get a personal-best mark makes it that much better and it’s awesome to go to state.”

Flowers was an alternate in the long jump Saturday.

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Summer Stevenson of Great Oak won the event with a mark of 40-2, followed by Madison Lyon of Woodbridge (39-4 1/2) and Jade McDonald of Calabasas (39-1/4).

Wilbur, a junior, headed into Saturday’s meet brimming with confidence after winning the Division I championship in the 1,600-meter race in 4 minutes, 12.31 seconds. He also won a Pacific League championship in the event.

Wilbur finished fourth in the four-lap race in 4:12.78 on Saturday. He was fifth heading into the final lap before moving up one spot.

“I knew I could rely on doing well heading into the last lap,” Wilbur said. “I was able to put myself in good position in the last lap.

“The reality of the situation was that I felt like I had a good shot at getting to state. You have to prove yourself again and it’s good to be able to run for another week.”

Peter Herold of Junipero Serra won in 4:11.38. Noah Hibbard of Arroyo finished second in 4:11.99 and Junipero Serra’s Anthony Grover was third (4:12.59).

Barnett, a sophomore, captured Division IV championships in the 1,600 (4:47.30) and 3,200 (10:33.95).

On Saturday, Barnett took fourth in the 1,600 in 4:50.61 and sixth in the 3,200 (10:38.06).

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In the 1,600, Barnett entered the midway point in third place before slipping to fourth. Barnett was in fifth in the 3,200 and needed a late dash in the final 50 meters to grab the final automatic spot.

“In the 1,600, I didn’t want to use all of my energy up because I still had to run the 3,200 a couple of hours later,” Barnett said. “I wasn’t as focused on the 1,600 as I was the 3,200. I felt a little tired toward the end of the 1,600.

“I kind of had to fight it on the last couple of laps of the 3,200 and I was pretty tired. You just come in trying to qualify for state and see how you run along the way.”

Audrey Suarez of Mayfield finished first in the 1,600 in 4:45.04, followed by Fatima Cortez of Great Oak (4:45.41) and Chino Hills’ Jacqueline Duarte (4:50.46).

Sarah Shulze of Oak Park won the 3,200 in 10:26.62. Hana Catsimanes of San Clemente was second (10:28.55), followed by Capistrano Valley’s Carly Corsinita (10:29.63), Madeleine Locher of Ventura (10:30.73) and Isabella Frisone of Anaheim Canyon (10:37.65).

Mikenna took part in the pole vault. He finished first in the Division III finals with a mark of 15-0 and previously won the Rio Hondo League title.

Mikenna, a junior, finished tied for 11th on Saturday at 14-3.

Mikenna cleared 13-9 and 14-3 before missing on all three of his attempts at 14-9, the state qualifying mark.

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“It’s been an amazing season and I made a lot of improvement,” Mikenna said. “I learned a lot and I know what I need to do now to get to the next level.”

Will O’Brien of Loyola, Kendal Gibbs of Vista Murrieta, Roosevelt’s Ethan Amata and Marina’s Skyler Magula tied for first at 15-3.

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