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One final push

Hall, Drake have stellar days; Pizzo wins exciting 3,200

Posted: May 8, 2009 11:15 p.m.
Updated: May 9, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Tiffini Stone of Canyon skies in long jump.

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As the lights came on at the Foothill League track and field championships, plenty of excitement also arrived.

Valencia sophomore Jasmine Hall won four league titles and senior Aly Drake won three, while Canyon senior Anthony Pizzo scored victory in a photo finish in the 3,200-meter run.

Drake and Hall teamed with Amanda Jenkins and Linnea Herren to run the 4x400 in 3 minutes, 56.29 seconds, and Drake won the 800 in 2:13.79. Drake and Hall were also part of the champion 4x100 squad that won with a time of 48.83 seconds, a team that included Jessica Criner and Faith Anumba.

Hall won the 200 in a blazing 25.47 seconds, and also cleared 5 feet, 6 inches to win the high jump.

For Drake, it was a perfect ending to the league season — even if she didn’t see it coming.

“I didn’t think we were going to win all three,” she said. “It was a great day to race, fun to watch. With so many people watching I want to put on a show.”

The show in the boys 3,200 came during the last 100 meters, when Pizzo and Saugus’ Brandon Jauregui pushed each other to the limit. Pizzo leaned farther at the end and finished with a time of 9:36.24, defeating Jauregui by .03 seconds.

“I’m grateful I had runners to challenge me in this league,” Pizzo said. “I couldn’t have done it without Brandon. On the last lap, the only thing I was thinking was, ‘league champ, league champ.’ I knew I had to kick to do it.”

A similarly exciting finish started the day for the boys track events. Valencia’s Darrol Mitchell bulldozed his way past Canyon’s Nick Lotfi on the last leg of the 4x100 and the Vikings won the race with a time of 43.27 seconds.

“I saw (Lotfi) was going real fast,” Mitchell said. “The competitive boost helped me come through. Our team has a real good bond.”

The team also included Brock Vereen, Zach Tartabull and Jabari Howard.

Saugus’ Daniel Swarbrick capped his league season with a pair of championships, winning the discus with a toss of 172 feet, 10 inches, and the shot put with a throw of 56-10 1/4.

“Today’s just a stepping stone,” Swarbrick said. “I threw just enough to win. Next week has great competition, and I thrive under competition so I’m looking forward to it.”

Swarbrick, along with the day’s other winners qualified for the CIF-Southern Section Prelims May 16. Second and third place finishers qualified if they met a minimum standard that varies by event.

West Ranch’s Matt Harmon swept the hurdles events, running the 110 hurdles in 15.02 seconds and finishing the 300 hurdles in 38.84 seconds.

Saugus’ Josh Coefield also won two league titles, running the 100 in 11.27 seconds –just .03 seconds ahead of West Ranch’s Ross Bacon – and the 200 in 22.77 seconds.

“It’s a good way to go out,” Coefield said. “It’s how I imagined it as a sophomore, and then you had (Hart league champion) Delano Howell last year. This year it was my turn.”

Valencia’s Malcolm Flowers ran the 400 in 50.30 seconds to capture a league championship, Hart’s Anthony Soto won the 800 in 1:59.64, and Valencia’s Falco Digiallonardo won the 1,600 in 4:28.60 with a strong kick.

West Ranch capped the night by winning the 4x400 relay in 3:25.92, with a team that included Bacon, Harmon, Evan Stevens and Nick Brooks.

Hart’s Ted Glasnow won the high jump title by clearing 6-2 before Valencia’s Brennan Bernardino did the same, and Valencia’s Brooks Walsh cleared 12-6 to win the pole vault, accomplishing the feat before three others.

West Ranch’s Cody Cox won the long jump at 21-2 1/2, and Canyon’s Harrison Hall, who was the runner-up in the long jump, earned a championship of his own by leaping 43-9 in the triple jump.

On the girls side, a pair of Canyon freshmen swept their events. Tiffini Stone won the triple jump with a leap of 34-0 1/4 and the long jump at 17-2 3/4.

Hurdler Taylor Thomas won the 100 hurdles in 15.52 seconds, and followed up by trimming about three seconds off her normal time in the 300 hurdles, finishing the event in 45.19.

“I didn’t think I had it in me,” Thomas said. “My strides were longer and I ran faster.”

Saugus dominated the distance races, with Kaylin Mahoney repeating as league champion in the 3,200 at 10:57.09. Centurions occupied the top six spots in the race.

Saugus’ Stephanie Bulder ran the 1,600 in 5:02.11 to win the league title, just .01 seconds ahead of West Ranch’s Jennifer Owen.

After breaking Saugus’ school record in the 400 earlier this year, Alex Hampton broke her own mark again, this time finishing in 57.64.

“I’ve been trying to get 57 the last two weeks, and I’ve been on the boundary,” Hampton said. “My thought is I always have to defend my title, that someone’s always behind me.”

Saugus’ Amber Wright won the 100 in 12.87 seconds, just .02 ahead of teammate Jamie Molacek.

Canyon’s Gillian Lopez cleared 10-6 to win the pole vault title, while teammate Courtney Saunders won the discus with a throw of 130-9.

Saugus’ Alex Ecsedy won the league championship in the shot put with a throw of 40-1 1/2.


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