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On the Beat Track and Field: Hopeful for the future

Posted: June 8, 2014 10:23 p.m.
Updated: June 8, 2014 10:23 p.m.
 

It’s not as if the 2014 track and field season didn’t have it’s highlight moments and admirable performances.

But just imagine what 2015 could be like.

Two years ago, the Santa Clarita Valley’s top performances at the CIF State Track and Field Championships came from two Saugus sophomores: Sabrina Janes and Samantha Ortega.

This year, the top two finishes of the season were accomplished by juniors who competed Saturday in the state finals. It was West Ranch’s Nathan Bultman in the shot put and Saugus’ Brian Zabilski in the 3,200.

Bultman was sixth place with a throw of 58 feet, 10 1/2 inches and Zabilski was 12th place in 9 minutes, 4.64 seconds.

But other than making it to the state finals in their events, what do all four of these athletes have in common?

They’re all seniors next year.

And big things will be expected of them.

Following outstanding sophomore track seasons, both Ortega and Janes battled injuries most of this spring. As a result, neither one competed in the postseason.

We’ve seen what Ortega can do when she’s healthy. She finished second place and third place in the last two state cross country Division II finals.

Janes put together an admirable run through the track and field postseason as a sophomore in the 800 meters, breaking an all-time SCV sophomore record in the event along the way. She wound up in seventh place at the 2013 state finals.

No doubt, there will be other athletes to emerge next season and perhaps make it all the way to the state meet. But we know that these four athletes are the ones to keep an eye on.

Maybe one of them could become the area’s first track and field state champion since Valencia’s Aly Drake won the 800-meter title in 2009.

Others to watch for 2015: There were plenty of underclassmen who showed a lot of potential for big follow-up seasons.

Two athletes will return from Canyon’s strong core of sprinters: Steven Childs and Austin Stevens, who will both be seniors.

The two of them helped Canyon win the Foothill League 4x100-meter title and Childs made it to the CIF finals in the long jump.

On the girls side, the top returning sprinters look to be Golden Valley’s Azaria Hill, Saugus’ Avery Schulhofer and Canyon’s Kendall Bietsch.

Schulhofer won league titles in both the 100 and 200.

Other league champions who are expected to return next year include Valencia’s Kaitlyn Matthews in the high jump, Golden Valley’s Crystal Orellana in the triple jump and Hart’s Liz Sulaiman in the long jump.

In addition, Golden Valley’s Nikaela Harris won the league shot put title and advanced to the CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet in the event. She should be the league’s top returning thrower.

In addition to Bultman coming back, West Ranch should bring back three additional athletes coming off strong seasons.

There’s soon-to-be senior Marisa Magsarili, who won both the 800 and 1,600 league titles this year. And then there’s Max Cawley, the league triple jump champion, who will also be a senior.

Arguably the freshman of the year was West Ranch’s Adaugo Oguejifor, who won the 100 hurdles league title and was also strong in many other events.

She appears to have a bright future in front of her.

NCAA Championships: The pinnacle of college track and field season is coming up, and Canyon graduate Chris Low is competing.

Low, a former College of the Canyons runner who is now with Long Beach State, will be running in the 800-meter event in Eugene, Oregon running from Wednesday to Saturday.

Low is seeded fourth out of 24 competitors.

His seed time of 1 minute, 47.52 seconds is a mere seven-tenths of a second behind the top qualifying time of 1:46.80.

This season, Low won the Big West Conference championship in the event and he broke both the Long Beach State record and the all-time SCV record in the event.

Now he has a chance to go for a national championship.

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