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CIF track and field: Leaping into finals

Hart’s White and O’Neil and West Ranch’s Bultman join Saugus’ Frankian in today’s finals

Posted: June 2, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 2, 2012 1:55 a.m.

CLOVIS — Hart’s Tim White did it on his first attempt.

For teammate Austin O’Neil and West Ranch’s Nick Bultman, it was a little more nerve-wracking.

But as differently as their state prelims events unfolded, they all ended up in the same place – the finals.

White shattered his own Foothill League record to qualify for the finals in the triple jump, while O’Neil was the last qualifier for the 1,600-meter race and Bultman was the last qualifier in the shot put on Friday at the CIF State Track and Field Championships at Buchanan High School.

Canyon’s Tiffini Stone and West Ranch’s Ashley Welker also competed on Friday, but neither advanced.

White made the biggest impression, going 50 feet, 2 3/4 inches in an immaculate triple jump – the third-best jump in the nation this season.

After scratching on a jump that would have gone 50 feet last week, White felt one thing going into Friday.

“Just confidence,” White said. “I felt like I could get 50. I told my parents and friends, ‘I’m going to get 50.’”

White added that his form is as strong as it’s ever been, especially the middle phase of the jump, which requires patience and horizontal velocity.

After White made his mark on the first jump, he passed on his last two. O’Neil, on the other hand, had to sweat it out.

He ran the 1,600 prelims in 4 minutes, 15.34 seconds, which was fifth in his heat. The top four qualifiers automatically reach the state finals, so he had to wait to see what happened in the other heat.

In the end, he was the 12th and last qualifier. He didn’t take the lead like he did at last week’s Masters Meet, and he said he wanted to sit behind the leaders before making his move.

While his heat was slower than the second, O’Neil was relieved to make it to today.

“I’m the most rested out of all of (the runners),” he joked.

Bultman, meanwhile, threw the shot put 59-0 1/4 on his first attempt, which is counter to the past two weeks, which saw him advance on his last throw.

Despite the solid opening throw, Bultman didn’t go farther with his other two, and he watched as several other kids in his flight eclipsed his mark.

Fortunately, Great Oak junior Nick Ponzio never went farther than Bultman, so he made today’s finals as the ninth and final qualifier.

White, O’Neil and Bultman will join Saugus’ Karis Frankian in today’s finals. Frankian will run the 3,200 at state for the third time in her career, and the race did not feature prelims.

As for Welker, she capped her prep career by finishing fourth in her heat and 12th overall in the 800 with a time of 2:14.10.

Welker fell behind the leaders on the second lap, and her typically strong kick wasn’t enough this time.

She did, however, qualify for the state meet in the 800 for the second season in a row, and she will now enroll in the U.S. Naval Academy.

Stone finished 14th overall in the long jump, going 17-8 on her third and final jump but never really approaching the 18-foot plateau that was necessary to be in contention for the finals.

While low-key after her jumps, Stone still acknowledged the success of her season and career.

“I’m just glad to be here,” she said. “This was one of my dreams. Not many athletes get to come here.”

White will jump in the finals at 5 p.m. today, while O’Neil will run the 1,600 at 6:32 p.m. Bultman will throw in the shot put finals at 8:30 p.m., while Frankian’s 3,200 finals are scheduled for 8:46 p.m.



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