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Foothill League track and field: Years in the making

Golden Valley boys, Canyon girls claim league titles

Posted: April 27, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 27, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Golden Valley’s Kristian Martinez, right, widens his lead in the 1,600-meter race. Juan David Garcia, left, ran second.

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The Golden Valley boys had waited years for this moment, so what was another couple minutes?

Co-head coaches Rob and Chris Evans played it cool, casually walking up to the team after the meet and going over the day’s performances like they always do. Then, they announced something they never have.

The Grizzlies are Foothill League champions. The wait is over.

It’s finally over for the Canyon girls, too.

Despite a disqualification that almost cost them the meet, the Golden Valley boys won 68-67 on Thursday at Canyon High School to force a three-way split for the league title, while the Canyon girls won their first league title since 2004 with a convincing 85-51 victory.

The Grizzlies’ win means they finish 4-1 in league, as do Canyon and Hart, which beat Valencia 82-54 on Thursday. All three teams went 1-1 against the others, meaning all three split the title.

The Canyon girls, meanwhile, capped a perfect 5-0 run by beating Golden Valley in a winner-take-all scenario. The Grizzlies finished second at 4-1.

“I can’t even describe the feeling,” said Golden Valley senior Connor Zindroski. “I’ve never been a league champion before.”

He and his teammates almost weren’t. Because of what the Evans brothers called a coaching mistake, Earl Johnson inadvertently checked in to five different events (although he didn’t participate in the triple jump), which is illegal by CIF rules.

Johnson won the long jump and finished second in the 100, meaning Golden Valley lost his eight total points because of the disqualification. According to the CIF handbook, however, if the fourth-place finishers in the events in question are recorded on the scorecards, those finishers slide up a spot and take the points.

The fourth-place finisher in the 100 was not recorded, meaning Canyon’s Dominic Pennucci remained the winner in 10.9 seconds and Golden Valley’s Aaron Kinard slid up to second place at 11.5 seconds. That accounted for the missing point in the final score.

But the fourth-place finisher in the long jump – Zindroski – was recorded, and since the Grizzlies finished first through fourth anyway, they retained all nine points from the event.

J.P. Gutierrez ended up as the winner by going 20 feet, 1 inch, while Golden Valley also received wins in the field from Josef Lucien, who went 42-4 1/2 in the triple jump, and Diontre Harris, who tossed the shot put 45-5 1/4.

Kristian Martinez won both the 800 in 1 minute, 53.8 seconds and the 1,600 in 4:22.2, and he also finished third in the 3,200 at 9:39.

Juan David Garcia won the 3,200 in 9:30, and Golden Valley took all but four points in the distance races. The Grizzlies built off a successful cross country season to finish the league track season strongly.

“Winning league in XC was expected,” said runner Aaron Nguyen. “This was not expected.”

Zindroski had a big day as well, winning the 300 hurdles in 39.9 seconds and finishing second in both the 110 hurdles and the triple jump in addition to his long jump point.

“We needed every single person out there,” Zindroski said.

The Cowboys, who earned a share of their third straight Foothill League title, missed sprinter Drew Wolitarsky due to illness but still had solid performances. In addition to the 100, Pennucci won the 200 in 22.2 seconds and was part of the victorious 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams.

He joined Max Archuleta, Devin Baldwin and Lyndan Coleman in winning the 4x100 in 43.6 seconds, and he joined Baldwin, Coleman and Joel Estrada to win the 4x400 in 3:25.8.

Baldwin won the 400 in 50.5 seconds, while Brenden Stach won the 110 hurdles in 14.9 seconds.

In the field, Brett Molster cleared 6-2 to win the high jump, Robert Wolfe went 14 feet to win the pole vault and Robert Hooper uncorked a throw of 142-6 to win the discus.

For the Canyon girls, Taylor Thomas won both the 100 hurdles in 14.19 seconds and the 300 hurdles in 47.5 seconds, and she was part of both winning relay teams.

She joined Erica Anunwah, Tiffini Stone and Brooke Moore to win the 4x100 in 49.69 seconds, and she joined Anunwah, Ahlexhys Hixon and Kendall Bietsch to win the 4x400 in 4:01.9.

Anunwah won the 100 and 200 with times of 12.6 seconds and 25.8 seconds, respectively, while Stone won the long jump at 16-7 and the triple jump at 37-10.

Stone said that all the girls knew how much Thursday’s meet meant, and that reflected during practice.

“It was much more serious,” she said. “We knew either we won, or we’re done. We didn’t take a second of practice for granted.”

Valeria Soto turned in a standout performance to win the 3,200 in 11:30.1, while Pilar Dizon cleared 9 feet to win the pole vault and Mari Kneisel went 4-10 to win the high jump.

For Golden Valley, Chelsey Totten dominated the 800 with a time of 2:13.6 and also won the 1,600 in 5:05.6.

Courtney Maduike swept the throws with marks of 31-9 in the shot put and 100-7 in the discus. Golden Valley’s other girls winner was Crystal Orellana with a time of 59.9 seconds in the 400.

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