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CIF track and field: Clovis conclusion

Hart’s Tim White comes within inches of a state title, three other locals post strong finishes

Posted: June 3, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 3, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Hart’s Austin O’Neil, far right, paces the field during the finals of the 1,600-meter race during the CIF State Track and Field Championships on Saturday in Clovis.

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CLOVIS — By the time you reach the CIF State Track and Field Championships, success is very relative.

None of the Foothill League athletes are coming home with state championships, but none of them are coming home overly disappointed, either.

Hart senior Tim White finished as the runner-up in the triple jump after an incredible battle with Claremont’s Klyvens Delunay, while Hart senior Austin O’Neil wound up seventh in the 1,600-meter race on Saturday at Buchanan High School.

West Ranch senior Nick Bultman finished eighth in the shot put, and in her third trip to the 3,200 state finals, Saugus senior Karis Frankian finished 19th.

On his second attempt of the afternoon, White leapt 51 feet, 5 inches, which was the nation’s leading distance this season – at least until Delunay went 51-7 in the third round of jumps.

The two traded high marks the rest of the event, but White couldn’t manage better than a mark of 50-11 1/2 on his third jump.

 “When it comes down to it, anything can happen at this meet,” White said, “and that’s what happened.”

Still, it’s been a terrific season for White, who only started triple jumping at the beginning of the year and won the CIF-Southern Section Division III title in the event.

 “It feels real good to make it here after doing only three months of it,” White said. “I can’t complain. I tried my best.”

O’Neil finished just off the podium, which requires a top-six finish, in the 1,600 finals with a time of 4 minutes, 15.66 seconds.

During Friday’s 1,600 prelims, O’Neil was knocked around in the pack of runners during his heat, so in Saturday’s final he did something about it. O’Neil voluntarily took the lead for most of the first half of the race, but that also meant that the other runners could “draft” off him, a term used to describe when runners save energy by aligning themselves behind the leader.

La Costa senior and eventual champion Darren Fahy overtook O’Neil on the third lap, which accelerated O’Neil’s race.

 “When Fahy went to the front, I tried to go with him,” O’Neil said. “I tried to go with him. I wasn’t really feeling that good going into the last lap. I felt like I was going full speed ahead at 500 meters.”

While several runners passed O’Neil late in the race, he still finishes the season as the Foothill League and Southern Section Division III champion in the race, and he’ll attend UCLA this fall to run track and field and cross country.

 “I’ll take seventh in the state,” he said.  I’ll take that any day.”

Bultman felt the same way about his eighth-place finish, although he wasn’t thrilled with how he threw during Saturday’s shot put finals.

As has become tradition this postseason, Bultman threw his top mark on his last attempt. His throw of 59-1 1/2 was good enough to slot him ahead of fellow finalist Amir Patterson of Crespi by a half an inch.

 “I’m OK with it,” Bultman said. “It was very average for me. I expected 60 (feet). I was really not feeling it today. My legs were tired for some reason, my energy wasn’t there. It took everything to use my legs on the last throw.”

This postseason has seen Bultman break his personal record three times, the latest of which was a 59-10 1/2 at last week’s Masters Meet. His state finish is the highest for a Foothill League thrower since Saugus’ Daniel Swarbrick finished fourth in the discus and fifth in the shot put in 2009.

 “During the season, I was battling injuries and I was not throwing well, so I’m really happy with my postseason,” Bultman said.

Frankian, meanwhile, ran the 3,200 in 10:46.38, which is the best time of her three visits to Clovis.

With Simi Valley sophomore phenom Sarah Baxter — who won the state championship by more than 13 seconds — in the race, Frankian went in with a plan to do her best.

 “I wanted to kind of run the way I can race,” said Frankian, who added she was trying to stay with Dos Pueblos’ Adeline Zerrenner before abandoning that strategy during the middle of the race.

Frankian’s finish caps a remarkable running career at Saugus that saw her win four straight state titles with the cross country team and make three state track meets in the 3,200.

The last prep race of her career left Frankian, a commit to The Master’s College, looking at both sides of the coin.

 “It wasn’t great,” she said. “I’m not happy, but I’m not sad. It wasn’t what I wanted but I did my best.”

NOTES: Baxter’s winning time in the 3,200 was 10:12 flat, well ahead of runner-up Xochitl Navarrete of Colony, who finished in 10:25.85 … Fahy’s winning time was 4:08.78, and he also won the 3,200 in 9:03.29 … the state champion in the boys shot put was Newport Harbor senior Ethan Cochran, who threw a mark of 62-4 1/4 on his third attempt. Cochran also won the discus title at 196-4 … Santa Clarita Valley resident and Harvard-Westlake freshman Alex Florent finished fifth in the high jump by clearing 5-7 … Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks sprinter and highly touted prep football prospect Khalfani Muhammad won state titles in both the 100 (10.52 seconds) and the 200 (21.15 seconds) … Harvard-Westlake senior Amy Weissenbach repeated as state champion in the 800 in 2:05.70, but her senior teammate and fellow Stanford commit Cami Chapus shockingly ran out of gas late in the 1,600 and finished fifth in her bid to defend her state title. Aptos High’s Nikki Hiltz won the title in 4:42.45.

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