Prep boys take title

CLAREMONT — It was a day of tremendous efforts for the Flintridge Prep boys' and girls' track and field teams at Thursday night's Prep League finals at Claremont-McKenna College.

The Rebels succeeded across the board as the boys won a team title and the girls captured multiple individual championships as well as qualifying several athletes to the CIF Southern Section Division IV preliminaries May 12 at Carpinteria High.

"We had been undefeated at all our league meets and had a really good season, but I was still nervous," said Rebels Coach Nick Ponticello, whose boys' team claimed its first title since 2003. "We were confident going in, but we also showed all our cards."

The Rebels topped Webb, 80.5-63.5, with Poly coming in third with 57 points.

The boys notched victories in the 1,600-meter relay, as the squad of Tyler Shum, James Bradley, Mike Defond and Jake Johnson claimed a win in 3 minutes, 34.96 seconds, while Gareth Weiss captured the pole vault with a mark of 12 feet 4 inches.

Perhaps the most exciting race took place when the foursome of Kyle Hamane, Stefan Smith, Henry Griffith and anchor Shum nipped rival Pasadena Poly by a thousandth of second as both teams tied with a 44.83.

"It was a tough race and we were fighting badly," said Shum, who was also a second-place qualifier in the 400 (53.99).

As a unit, the Rebels may have been most dominant in the boys' discus, in claiming three of the top five marks, including a victory from Daniel Jung, who hit a distance of 113-4.

Teammate West Nowotny was right behind with a qualifying toss of 112-09. Nowotny then notched his own victory in the shot put in 44-0 1/4.

Smith followed a similar script in winning the 200-meter dash in 23.39, which came after Smith qualified second in the long jump (19-03 1/2).

Sophomore Kate Evans proved one the Rebels' bigger standouts, as she first charged to a victory in the 1,600 in 5:18.30 seconds.

Evans ran among a trio of Mayfield runners through the first three laps in gaining a sizable lead before holding off Poly's Evan Gancedo (5:20.36) down the stretch.

"I definitely pushed in that third lap. That was my goal," Evans said. "I was terrified of the people behind, especially [Gancedo]. I was just waiting to hear her breathing, but it didn't happen."

In a flip shortly later, Evans finished runner-up (2:25.86) to Gancedo (2:22.55) in the 800 as both advanced to the divisional prelims.

Evans finished her day taking third in the 3,200 (12:01.75) and advancing to Carpinteria.

Thursday marked a busy evening for Kate Kennedy, who clinched the win in the 300-meter hurdles in 46.77, which was nearly three seconds faster than runner-up Ivie Tokunboh (49.22) of Webb.

"I'm running in a lot of events today, which is kind of hard," said Evans, who also qualified with a second-place mark of 1:00.56 in the 400. "My strategy was to start slow, but it was kind of hard because I'm so competitive."

As for CIF qualifiers, the Rebels' James Bradley qualified in both the 1,600 (second, 4:41.16) and 800 (second, 2:11.75), while teammate Miah Webb also advanced in the 200 (third, 26.50) and 400 (third, 1:00.56).

Elias Ellison also moved on in the 1,600 (third, 4:44.44) and 3,200 (10:16.25), as did Manny Perez (third, 2:17.47) in the 800.

The Rebels girls' 1,600-meter relay squad (4:16. 41) scored a third-place advancement along with second-place pole vaulter Barrett Weiss (12 feet).

Overall, Prep finished fourth in the girls' competition with 67 points, behind league champion Mayfield (171).

After 14 years, the record of Rebels' alumnus Doug Hall fell in the 1, 600, as his mark of 4:26.1 was clipped by new champion and record-holder, Sam Cartwright of Chadwick, who registered a mark of 4:25.99.

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