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On the Beat Track and Field: One last step to finals

Posted: May 29, 2014 10:43 p.m.
Updated: May 29, 2014 10:43 p.m.

There’s only one grueling, high-intensity step to go to reach the CIF State Track and Field Championships.

No pressure, though.

We’re coming up on the final stretch of the high school track and field season and it’s all whittled down to seven athletes representing five different Foothill League schools at today’s CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet at Cerritos College.

It’s the Foothill Seven all vying for a trip to Clovis next week for the state meet.

The Santa Clarita Valley tends to send a handful of athletes just about every year.

Today, athletes will have to finish top six in their events or reach a designated at-large qualifying mark to move on.

It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that all seven could qualify for state. They would all be first-timers.

Here is what each one will have to do today.

Nathan Bultman (West Ranch junior): Coming off of last week’s CIF-SS Division I championship shot put throw of 60 feet, 11 1/4 inches, Bultman is perhaps the most likely of the seven locals to qualify. The at-large mark to reach is 57-9, which shouldn’t be a problem for him, especially considering his winning throw last week isn’t the best we’ve seen of him this season. He’s trying to reach the same state meet where his older brother, Nick, competed in the shot put in 2012.

Nikaela Harris (Golden Valley junior): Another shot putter in the mix, Harris has had an incredible last couple of weeks. It stared when she surprisingly beat out her teammate Samiyah Hawkins for the Foothill League shot put title three weeks ago, and it continued with her school record-breaking throw of 41-7 1/2 at last week’s CIF finals. If she can put together a repeat performance, she’ll be in good shape with the at-large mark set at 41-2.

Samiyah Hawkins (Golden Valley senior): While her teammate has excelled in the shot, Hawkins has found a way to stay alive with her excellence in the discus. She was the 12th and final qualifier into today’s Master’s Meet with her toss of 123-01, but she threw much further the week before at CIF prelims. Given the competition above her, she may need a lifetime best throw to get through to state. The at-large standard is 134-3.

Brett Molster (Canyon senior): The third time is a charm for Molster, who finally made it past the CIF-SS finals in the high jump this time after falling short the last two years. Last week, he was second place in Division II with a leap of 6-7, which also happens to be this week’s state at-large measurement. Molster has show he’s capable of going even higher than that, but this week is all about qualifying.

Briana Pica (Valencia senior): Pica is the only one of the Foothill Seven coming in with previous Masters Meet experience as she reached the event last season. She made it through with an impressive pole vault of 11-3 last week, and she’s gone as high as 11-4 this season, but she may need to unleash the biggest jump of her life if she wants to become the first SCV pole vaulter to advance to the state meet since 1968. The at-large mark is 11-7.

Natalie Rodriguez (Canyon senior): After losing by a heartbreaking hundredth of a second at the Foothill League finals to Saugus’ Ashley Heys, Rodriguez ran a redemptive race at last week’s CIF finals by finishing third in the Division II 3,200-meter race in a personal-best time of 10 minutes, 45.95 seconds. She appears to be peaking now, but she’ll likely have to shave a full 10 seconds off that time to get under the at-large time of 10:35.79.

Brian Zabilski (Saugus junior): Though Zabilski was the 12th and last qualifier to the Masters Meet in the 3,200 with his CIF finals time of 9:11.18 last week, some of his previous times this year tell a different story. Zabilski has previously posted a time of 9:04.58, which is well under the state at-large standard of 9:08.64. If he kicks it up a notch from a week ago, we should be seeing yet another Saugus distance runner headed to state.


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