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Foothill League track and field: Finale flurry

Favorites dominate the day in Foothill League finals at COC

Posted: May 5, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 5, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Canyon’s Taylor Thomas competes in the the 100-meter hurdles during the Foothill League track and field finals on Friday at College of the Canyons. Thomas claimed three Foothill League titles on the day.

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Maybe it was the completion of a peerless Foothill League hurdles career. Or maybe it was the coronation of two dominant jumpers.

Maybe it was an authoritative kick in the boys 3,200-meter race.

Or maybe it’s pointless trying to find a single highlight of Friday’s Foothill League track and field finals.

Finding a lull in the action, there’s the real challenge.

Canyon senior Taylor Thomas won league titles in both hurdles races to cap a perfect varsity career, while Hart senior Tim White and Canyon senior Tiffini Stone combined for five league titles in the jumps on Friday at College of the Canyons.

West Ranch’s Nick Bultman and Ashley Welker, Valencia’s James Berkley and Chanel Rogers, and Canyon’s Dominic Pennucci all earned multiple league championships.

Thomas ran the 100 hurdles in 14.73 seconds and the 300 hurdles in 45.95 seconds, capping a four-year career during which she never lost a hurdles race against league competition.

“It honestly feels like the biggest accomplishment I’ve had in my high school career,” Thomas said. “It’s amazing.”

Thomas also blazed through the anchor leg of the 4x100 relay to help her team win in 49.14 seconds. Stone, Erica Anunwah and Ahlexhys Hixon also ran in that event.

After winning both the long and triple jump league titles in each of her first two years, Stone came up short in both events last season. She rebounded on Friday, winning the long at 18 feet, 1 1/2 inches and the triple at 37-4 1/2 to give her six career titles in the jumps.

White repeated as league champion in both the high jump and long jump, with marks of 6-6 and 21-11 1/2, respectively. He added a league title in the triple jump by going 46-3 1/4, less than 10 inches off his league record.

This marks five league championships for White the past two years. He said the high jump title is particularly fulfilling, given the circumstances.

“I didn’t jump for three straight weeks with shin splints,” White said. “I knew once I got to full health, I could jump it.”

Pennucci won both the 200 in 22.23 seconds and the 400 in 49.58 seconds, and he joined Drew Wolitarsky, Devin Baldwin and Joel Estrada to win the 4x400 in 3:23.55.

Rogers also doubled in the 200 and 400, winning the former in 25.07 seconds and the latter in 56.04 seconds. Valencia’s James Berkley won the 100 in 10.92 seconds and joined Nick Jones, Michael Kojin and Clint Gingrich to win the 4x100 in 42.45 seconds.

Bultman swept the throws titles for the second straight season, winning the shot put at 54-5 1/2 and the discus with a mark of 162-9.

His teammate, Welker, joined Xiomara Perkins, Amy Falahat and Lauren Ross in winning the 4x400 in 3:57.04. Welker also won her second career league title in the 800 with a time of 2:13.48.

In four years, she’s never finished worse than second in the league in the event. On Friday, she started fast and never relented.

“I know the other girls are very talented,” Welker said. “The motivation for this race was to stay away from them.”

Welker beat Golden Valley’s Chelsey Totten in the event, but Totten began the day with a dominant victory in the 1,600.

She began separating from the pack on the second lap and eventually put 10 seconds between her and the rest of the runners.

Did Totten realize it?

“No,” she laughed. “It felt pretty close.”

In a tremendous set of distance races, Saugus’ A.J. Yarnall turned in the signature moment by going into beast mode and outkicking Golden Valley’s Juan David Garcia to win the 3,200 in 9:17.08.

“Your mind goes somewhere else,” Yarnall said. “There’s nothing left but your legs.”

Hart’s Austin O’Neil outkicked Golden Valley’s Kristian Martinez to win the 1,600 in 4:13.59, but Martinez rebounded to win the 800 in 1:54.72.

Saugus’ Karis Frankian won the 3,200 in 10:43.02 after finishing second in the event the past two seasons.

Hart’s Presley Lambert leaned at the end to win the 100 in 12.45 seconds, while Valencia’s Kaitlyn Matthews cleared 5-2 to win the high jump.

Canyon’s Brenden Stach won the 110 hurdles in 14.83 seconds and Hart’s Riley Stauffer won the 300 hurdles in 39.45 seconds.

Golden Valley’s Courtney Maduike won the shot put at 35-4 1/2, and Canyon’s Janice Walker won the discus at 115-5.

In the pole vault, Canyon’s Robert Wolfe cleared 14 feet to win his first league title, while Valencia’s Briana Pica went 10-2 to win.

Pica was initially disqualified for looking at a picture of one of her vaults during the competition, but a meeting with the coaches and officials overturned the decision.

“It feels amazing and relieving,” Pica said. “I’m happy everyone was trying to fight for me.”


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