Multisport standouts show off talent at Southern Section track and field finals
With no state track and field championship or Masters Meet, Saturday was the day for Southern Section athletes to strut their stuff at four divisional championship meets, and it turned out to be a big day for multisport athletes.
In Division 3 at Costa Mesa Estancia, soccer standout Max Thomas of Anaheim Servite won the 100 and 200-meter races. In Division 2 at Moorpark, junior cornerback Domani Jackson of Santa Ana Mater Dei ran a season-best 10.48 seconds to win the 100. In Division 4 at Carpinteria, sophomore cornerback Rodrick Pleasant of Gardena Serra set divisional records in the 100 and 200.
Thomas had to make an emotional comeback after Servite was disqualified in the 400 relay. He tossed the baton in disgust but kept his cool the rest of the meet.
Behind Lompoc’s Sheldon Canley halfway through the 100 race, Thomas turned on the afterburners to win in a wind-aided 10.51 seconds, a personal best.
“When I crossed the line we finished second. I wasn’t too thrilled and I threw the baton … but that shouldn’t happen,” said Thomas, whose team was sixth when he started his relay leg. “As far as the 100, that’s how my races go. Stand up, get my knees, lift and put a lot of power on the ground.”
Not distracted by two false starts, Thomas doubled back an hour later to win the 200 in 21.44.
“The 200 is definitely my favorite and all the restarts don’t bother me,” Thomas added. “Winning is my main goal. I run to win and the times will take care of themselves.”
Studio City Harvard-Westlake senior Isaac Dienstag was still gasping for breath and could barely speak a few minutes after his furious comeback edged top qualifier Bryce Granillo of Los Angeles Cathedral by 16-hundredths of a second in the 800 meters in a time of 1:57.79 — a personal best by two seconds.
“I never doubted it because I’m a quarter-mile guy,” said Dienstag, who will continue his track career at the University of Chicago. “If it was close going into the last lap I knew I could get him and I did at the very end. Sometimes I start my kick a little too late, but not today. I opened at 2:16 this year and since then I’ve been improving little by little.”
Andrew Villapudua of South Pasadena clinched the boys’ team title for the Tigers when he took first place in the 3,200 in 9:21.16.
Camryn O’Bannon of Bellflower St. John Bosco won the long jump with a leap of 23 feet 10 inches and the triple jump in 46-1.75.
La Cañada freshman standout Arielle McKenzie won the girls’ 1,600 in 4:55.06 and the 800 in 2:15.39 — she ran the second lap in 65 seconds — and Southern Methodist commit Kendall Saeger from Santa Margarita won the 3,200 in 10:40.46.
Harvard-Westlake finished atop the girls’ team standings with 93 points — 23 ahead of runner-up Sherman Oaks Notre Dame — thanks in part to a win in the 1,600 relay (48.50) and Anna Jennings winning the long jump at 18-5. Jennings was also second in the triple jump (35-7).
In Division 1, one of the top performances was Tristyn Flores of Rancho Cucamonga winning the 100 in a scorching, but wind-aided, 10.35 seconds. Kennedi Porter of Etiwanda won the girls’ 100 in a wind-aided 11.82 and the 200 in 24.39. Darius Hill of Vista Murrieta cleared 6-10 to win the high jump. Jade McDonald of Long Beach Poly took the girls’ triple jump at 40-2 1/2. Phillip Jefferson of Long Beach Wilson ran 48.28 in the 400. Paige Sommers completed her Westlake career with a Division 1 championship in the girls’ pole vault at 14-0. Poly won the girls’ title and Long Beach Wilson won the boys’ crown.
In Division 2, a healthy Jackson showed off his speed. He missed the Arcadia Invitational because of an injury. Raykiyat Olukoju of Riverside North became the state leader in the 100 with a winning time of 11.67 (+3.5). Freshman Kylee Davis of Santa Clarita Golden Valley won the girls’ long jump with an effort of 19-2 1/4. North won the girls’ title and Thousand Oaks won the boys’ title.
In Division 4, Pleasant ran a state-leading, wind-legal 10.46 seconds in the 100. He broke an 11-year-old divisional record. In the 200, Pleasant set another divisional record in winning in 21.02. The cornerback/receiver has been picking up college football scholarships en masse as his track times continued to drop this spring.
Audrey Suarez of Pasadena Mayfield won the girls’ 1,600 in 4:45.59, breaking a 10-year-old Division 4 record. Asjah Atkinson of Long Beach St. Anthony became a three-time champion in the 100 hurdles, winning in 14.32. Brooklyn Courtnall of Westlake Village Oaks Christian won the 400 in 55.66. Oaks Christian won the boys’ and girls’ team titles.
Gabe Martin of Oaks Christian set a school record in winning with an effort of 24-3 1/4.
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