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By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter
It was a good day for the Gahr High boys track and field team and even a bigger day for the Valley Christian High squad at the California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section Track and Field Divisional Finals last Saturday at Cerritos College. The Gahr 4×100 relay team advanced to tonight’s Masters Meet along with senior Tony Crosby in the high jump.
But V.C. stole the spotlight in Division 4 as multiple personal and school records were broken, including one that stood for 52 years. That came in the 200-meter dash where junior Josh Akrofi finished in fourth with a time of 22.14. Junior Marian Ledesma advanced to the Masters in the 800-meter run where she came in second place with a time of 2:09.63. She was also part of the 4×400 relay team with senior Cheyenne McKinnie, junior Keely Long, and freshman Kathryn Tamminga that finished in seventh with a time of 4:06.15, another school record.
“We knew she had a good opportunity to do that,” said V.C. relay and sprint coach Rebecca Snoeyink said of Ledesma. “She broke the school record this year in the 800, the 400 and the 4×400 relay. But the 800 is kind of her race. So, she was going for another record with a [personal record], and then also looking to qualify for Masters.”
Senior Maya Archer was third in the shot put with a personal record mark of 37’ 3 ¼”, good for third place, and came in fifth in the discus (113’ 11”). As a team, the V.C. girls finished in eighth place out of 49 Division 4 teams.
But the boys put on a bigger performance as well, picking up 56 points and claiming second place for the first time in school history. The Crusaders finished 51 ½ points behind division champion Oaks Christian High. Senior Michael Polk is the other V.C. athlete advancing to the Masters as he had a personal record mark of 6’ 6” in the high jump, good for second in the division. Polk also had a personal record in the triple jump as he won with a mark of 44’ 10”. In the discus, personal records were set by juniors Gavin Fua and Jake Leue who came in first and second respectively with marks of 163’ 0” and 144’ 0”. Fua also tossed the shotput 46’ 3” while in the 3200-meter run, senior Nathaniel Tamminga finished in second with a time of 9:47.47. Akrofi also ran the 100-meter dash and had a time of 10.82 and junior Bailey Torres ran the 300-meter high hurdles with a time of 42.36.
“I think we did really well,” Snoeyink said. “We had a lot of personal records today. We broke a school record in the 200-meter dash that was over 50 years old.
“We were looking for records because we know we have some kids who can do it today,” Snoeyink later added. “We’ve kind of been seeing that all season. We’ve had a few records broken throughout the season. So, we knew that was a possibility [today].”
The Gahr boys team came in third place out of 50 Division 3 teams and picked up 40 points, only 19 away from champion Servite High. The Gladiators were the division champion in the 4×100 relay as seniors Alonzo Davis, Anthony Mullins, Erik Renfroe and junior Christian Shakir crossed the finish line in 41.67. It’s only the fourth time all season the quartet had ran together.
“Overall I was pleased with the guys,” said Gahr relay and sprint coach Rob Godwin. “They’ve been working so hard and this is really like three years in the making. I’ve had this group together since they came in as freshmen. It was a great day overall for Gahr.”
Crosby had a mark of 6’ 6” in his event, good for a second place tie in the division. Shakir also won the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.08 and came in third place in the 100 with a time of 10.79. Renfroe was right behind him at 10.81. Despite winning the 200, Godwin felt he didn’t run his best race after posting a time of 21.64 in the preliminaries the previous week.
“I was looking for them to finish at least second or third,” Godwin said. “They both are running exceptional times and they are both on the relay teams. So, they’ll continue on next week.”
In addition, senior Larry Hudson came in seventh in the 400-meter run (50.41), junior Jorge Gracian had a time of 2:09.63 in the 800 and the 4×400 relay team had a time of 3:29.14.
Cerritos High junior Destin Flucas advanced to the Masters Meet in the high jump as he finished in second place in Division 2 with a mark of 6’ 4” while freshman Nicole Blue ran a 57.81 in the 400. Also in the division, Norwalk High juniors Misty Diaz (5:15. 29) and Ruby Galindo (5:15.48) finished next to each other in the 1600-meter run.
In Division 3, Artesia High senior Jordan Benoit came in sixth place in the triple jump (42’ 11 ¾”) while in Division 4, Whitney High junior Austin Joseph ran a 42.37 in the 300-meter high hurdles while junior Angelina Crittenden came in sixth place in the 100 (12.72).