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Foothill League track and field: Alternate routes

Canyon boys and girls stay perfect in league in unexpected fashion

Posted: April 20, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 20, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Canyon’s Taylor Thomas gets the baton from Ahlexhys Hixon in the final leg of the 4x100-meter relay during a meet against Saugus on Thursday at Canyon High School. The Canyon girls defeated Saugus 87-49.

The boys meet was a little closer than expected. The girls meet was a little more lopsided than expected.

Ultimately, it didn’t matter. Canyon’s track and field teams will both go into the final week of the regular season undefeated.

Expect next week’s meet against Golden Valley to be the most intense of all.

The Canyon boys overcame uncharacteristic struggles in the sprints to beat Saugus 71-65 on Thursday at Canyon High School, clinching at least a share of the Foothill League title in the process.

The Cowboys’ girls team handed Saugus its most lopsided league loss since 2004, beating the Centurions 87-49.

The girls’ win sets up a de facto Foothill League title meet next week at home against Golden Valley, as both teams are 4-0. The Canyon boys, who are also 4-0, will try to clinch an outright title by beating the 3-1 Grizzlies.

Heading into the 3,200-meter race, their unblemished league mark was in peril.

The Saugus boys pushed the two-time defending league champions to the brink. Canyon needed a big race in the 3,200 — and Zach Wims gave it to them.

“I was freaking out,” said Wims, who hadn’t raced in the meet to that point. “I’m not great with pressure, but today was different.”

Wims ran the race in 9 minutes, 42 seconds to win, defeating Saugus’ A.J. Yarnall by more than 12 seconds.

In fairness to Yarnall, he turned in an impressive triple, winning the 1,600 in 4:47.6 and also finishing second in the 800.

Also for Saugus, Quentin Hendrix won the 100 in 11.1 seconds and the 200 in 22.5 seconds while finishing second in the long jump.

Hendrix’s wins, coupled with Jeremy Gatewood’s win in the 400 at 49.5 seconds, gave the Centurions 15 of the 27 available points in the sprints. Saugus also won the 4x100 when Canyon was disqualified.

According to the Canyon coaching staff, the sprinters had been worked extra hard in practice this week. In the end, they got away with it.

Brenden Stach won the 110 hurdles in 14.7 seconds and the 300 hurdles in 41.7 seconds, while Joel Estrada won the 800 in 2:01.6, which was a 10th of a second faster than Yarnall.

Canyon’s Robert Wolfe cleared 13 feet, 6 inches to win the pole vault and Brett Molster went 6-4 1/2 to win the high jump.

Denley Rodriguez swept the throws for Saugus, with marks of 145 feet in the discus and 49-10 in the shot put. Cameron Engle went 40-3 to win the triple jump and 21-1 to win the long jump, and he also finished second in the high jump and third in the pole vault.

By the time the 4x400 rolled around, however, injuries and illness forced Saugus to concede the race to Canyon, which was careful to hold onto the baton and finished in 3:47.

On the girls side, Taylor Thomas was a part of four victories winning the 100 in 12.4 seconds and the 300 hurdles in 48.2 seconds. She also joined Michelle Hogan, Erica Anunwah and Ahlexhys Hixon in winning the 4x100 in 50.1 seconds and Anunwah, Kendall Bietsch and Tiffini Stone to win the 4x400 in 4:14.

It marks the first time since 2004 that the Canyon girls beat Saugus.

“We all had a meeting yesterday talking about how much we want this,” Thomas said. “We showed it today, and next week we’re going to come out even harder.”

Stone won the long jump at 17-9 and the triple jump at 37-4 3/4, while Bietsch won the 800 in 2:19.1. In the throws, Janice Walker had a mark of 110-6 1/2 to win the discus and Taylor Gaines won the shot put at 32-11.

Because of Thomas’ contributions in the sprints, Jasmine Sales moved into the 100 hurdles and won with a time of 16.8 seconds. Pilar Dizon cleared 9 feet to win the pole vault.

For the Saugus girls, Jenna Vincej and Karis Frankian each won two races. Vincej ran the 200 in 26.6 seconds and the 400 in 59.3 seconds, while Frankian won the 1,600 in 5:10.4 and the 3,200 in 11:18.

Rachel Eaton cleared 5 feet to win the high jump.

“Don’t take anything away from Canyon,” said Saugus head coach John McKenzie. “That’s what I told my kids. You have nothing to be ashamed of. You lost to a great team.”



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