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SCV track and field season ends at state finals

Three Saugus runners finish in Clovis

Posted: June 1, 2013 11:36 p.m.
Updated: June 1, 2013 11:36 p.m.

Saugus sophomore Samantha Ortega, second from right, ended up 11th in the girls 3,200 race the CIF State Track and Field Championships on Saturday in Clovis. Photo by Leonard Coutin/For The Signal

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Somehow it was fitting that the last three remaining locals of the high school track and field season were all distance runners from Saugus High School, a perrenial power in distance races.

Though it was far from a fairy tale finish to the season, all three athletes can say for the first time they competed in a CIF State Track and Field Championship race, which took place on Saturday night at Buchanan High School in Clovis.

The three state first-timers in action were senior Rodrigo Ornelas and sophomores Sabrina Janes and Samantha Ortega.

Janes was the top local finisher as she ran a record-breaking 2 minutes, 11.98 seconds for seventh place in the 800 final. The mark broke the all-time Santa Clarita Valley sophomore record in the event, beating Canyon graduate Alysia Montano’s 2:12.30 time set in 2002.

Montano ran in the 2012 Olympic Games.

Even so, Janes just missed out on a top six finish which would have put her on the podium.

“It was definitely very difficult,” Janes said. “The first 150 meters I was already tired. And going into it, I knew this was going to be the hardest race I’d ever raced.”

Later in the night in the girls 3,200 race, Ortega mistakenly used a her finishing sprint one lap early before realizing she had another 400 meters to go.

The sophomore wound up in 11th place with a time of 10:39.96.

On top of that, Ortega ran most of the race after losing her left shoe on the third lap.

“She thought she was done,” said Saugus distance coach Rene Paragas. “It’s just one of those things. Every now and then, one of those things happen. It just wasn’t our day.”

At the time of her miscue, Ortega was in second place and on a school record pace in the event.

The final Saugus competitor of the night was Ornelas, who took 17th in the boys 3,200 in 9:17.68.

The time was 9 seconds slower than his Masters Meet qualifying time the previous week.

“He gave it his all and we talked about what he did and what he needed just to get here,” Paragas said.

In Janes’ race, she started out toward the back of the pack of 12 racers and stayed there for the first three quarters of the event.

Though she once again put together a strong kick in the final 200 meters, it wasn’t enough to put her up front.

Janes made huge strides this year in the 800 and she was given a second chance at the CIF-Southern Section finals two weeks ago after she tripped and fell during the race, only to get up and finish anyway.

Her time was not good enough to qualify, but Saugus protested the result based on the tripping, and the CIF allowed Janes’ season to continue.

“I am very blessed to have had the season I did,” Janes said. “I’m very thankful. I’ve definitely done some of the hardest things in my life this season and did things that I didn’t think I’d be able to do.”

Ortega also improved by leaps and bounds this year after running on junior varsity a season ago.

Despite the disappointing finish, Paragas said both sophomores have lots of potential for the coming years.

“We got valuable experience today and yesterday and we have another year and another year after that to figure this out,” Paragas.

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