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Off on the right foot

Depth of Saugus’ track and field teams leads to win over Valencia

Posted: March 27, 2009 1:36 a.m.
Updated: March 27, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Valencia's Aly Drake, front, runs the 400-meter race Thursday at Valencia High School. Drake broke her own school record in the 800.

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Saugus has the kind of balance and depth that few track teams in the Foothill League can match.

In the league-opening meet against Valencia, that balance and depth got the Centurions off on the right foot.

Saugus took first in every hurdle race and racked up important points in the discus and shot put as the boys defeated Valencia 76-60 and the girls won 80-56.

“We had an advantage in the hurdles and our throws teams,” said Saugus head coach Christian Standley. “That kind of put us in the driver’s seat.”

The highlight of the meet for Valencia came when Aly Drake ran the 800-meter race in 2:14.80, breaking her own school record by four seconds.

“It doesn’t really feel like I broke it in four seconds,” Drake said. “We’ve been training really hard.”

Drake also won the 400 with a time of 58.68 just one event before the 800, and her coach said it was her potential showing through.

“She’s never tapped the surface of what she can do until this year,” said Valencia head coach Pat Connelly. “Whatever we ask her to do, she just does it. She’s just one terrific athlete.”

Drake helped the Valencia 4x400 relay team triumph with a time of 4:06.92, and the Valencia boys won the same race with a time of 3:30.90 to go along with a victory in the 4x100.

Most of the meet, however, belonged to Saugus.

Centurions hurdler Shahan Khalighi won the 110-meter race with a time of 16.17 seconds, and Khalighi also won the 300-meter hurdles with a 41.17 mark.

Ashley Kramer swept the 100- and 300-meter hurdles for the Saugus girls, and Daniel Swarbrick was his typically dominant self, winning the discus with a throw of 175 feet – 49 feet longer than the next-best throw  – and winning the shot put with a mark of 59-5 1/2.

Valencia’s Marisol Guzman tossed the discus 105-1, but Saugus’ Alexandra Ecsedy and Rachel Brown placed second and third, and Ecsedy won the shot put.

“You can’t give up 22 points like that and expect to win,” Connelly said.

Valencia had a strong showing in the sprints, with Zach Tartabull winning the 200 and Malcolm Flowers winning the 400 by finishing the race in 50.77 seconds.

On the girls side, Valencia’s Jasmine Hall won the 200, but Saugus’ Amber Wright and Jamie Molacek finished first and second in the 100.

“I believe in the girls and I believed they could do it, but we haven’t finished first and second in the 100 before,” Standley said.
Brandon and Briana Jauregui each won the 3,200-meter run for Saugus, and Valencia’s Falco DiGallonardo won the 800- and 1,600-meter runs for the Viking boys.

Saugus’ Anne Randall won the 1,600-meter run for the girls, while she finished third in the 800 behind Drake’s record time and teammate Amber Murakami, who ran a 2:18.3.

Valencia swept the girls high jump, with Hall clearing five feet to take first. Hall also won the long jump with a leap of 16-6, while Saugus’ Christy Edwards soared 33-2 1/2 to win the triple jump.

Brennan Bernardino cleared 5-10 to win the high jump for the Vikings, and Jabari Howard took first in both the long jump (20-1) and triple jump (40-1).

Valencia’s Claire Frederickson won the girls pole vault by clearing 7-6, and Saugus’ Anthony Cresswell cleared 11-6 to win the boys event.

“Balance and depth basically win out,” Standley said. “I’m proud of the effort today.”

jgulino@the-signal.com

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