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Drake blazes in Clovis

Valencia runner wins her heat; Saugus’ Randall doesn’t make 1,600 final

Posted: June 5, 2009 10:04 p.m.
Updated: June 6, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
CLOVIS — Valencia’s Aly Drake ran a smart 800-meter race at Friday’s CIF State Track and Field Championship prelims.

Another smart race will likely win her the state championship.  

Her chief competition will be waiting.

Drake won the second heat in 2 minutes, 11.03 seconds, the top qualifying time Friday at Buchanan High School in Clovis.

In the first heat, Marlborough’s Carlyle Davis all but coasted to a time of 2:15.05, which was still good enough to win the heat. The three heat winners plus the next six fastest times qualified for the state finals.

Davis beat Drake at last week’s CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet, but the lack of top-notch competition in Davis’ heat Friday meant Drake had to run harder – which was perfectly fine with the Valencia runner and her coaches.

“We already knew she was beating everybody (in her heat),” said Valencia sprints coach Darryl De La Vega. “The only competition is Davis.”

The two will square off in the 800 finals, which are scheduled to begin at 7:50 p.m. today.

As for Friday, Drake wasn’t going to be denied the automatic finals berth.

She ran in front for most of the race, but with 300 meters to go, Leigh High School’s Jordan Diaz moved in front of her by a couple paces.

“I started feeling her on my shoulder with 400 meters to go,” Drake said. “She ended up getting past me. I just wanted to stay with her. She started kicking so early that she just died, so I went ahead.”

Drake also held off a furious kick by Long Beach Poly’s Neausha Logan, the defending state champion who finished with a time of 2:11.17 Friday.

Saugus’ Daniel Swarbrick, meanwhile, qualified for the state finals in both the discus and shot put.

Swarbrick’s toss of 167 feet, 2 inches in the discus Friday afternoon left his fate somewhat in question, as several athletes finished with better marks.

His throw was good enough for sixth, and with the top nine throws qualifying for the finals, Swarbrick ended up almost four feet clear of the last qualifier.

Swarbrick finished eighth in the shot put with a toss of 54-11 3/4, and will get six more throws in both events to try to win the state title today.

The discus finals are scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m., while the shot put finals are scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

“My timing was off,” Swarbrick said of the shot put. “I’ve just got to pull it together.”

Saugus’ Anne Randall came up short in the 1,600-meter run, finishing 11th in her heat with a time of 5:05.19, which was 23rd overall.

The two heat winners plus the next 10 fastest times qualified for the finals.

With graduation and the end of school all taking place in the past week, Randall’s practice schedule was thrown off.

But she’s not making any excuses.

“It just wasn’t my day to race,” she said. “I didn’t feel good early. It could be a variety of different reasons.”

Randall will still get to compete in today’s 3,200-meter finals, which are set to begin at 8:46 p.m.

Joining her will be teammates Kaylin Mahoney, Stephanie Bulder and Karis Frankian. Together, they represent the most runners from a single school to qualify for the state 3,200 finals in one season since the state meet began holding the race in 1980.

“It’s nice to know I have something to fall back on,” Randall said. “Coach (Rene) Paragas tells me it’s my race. We’ll see if that’s how it goes.”

jgulino@the-signal.com

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