Athletes prepare for stiff competition in CIF track and field meets
By Randy Angel
With the pole resting on her shoulder, Mira Costa’s Brigette Grau focused on the highly-raised bar as she prepared to sprint down the runway.
The junior had cleared 12 feet nine times before in various pole vault competitions, including a winning mark of 12 foot, 7 inches to win the Woodbridge Invitational in March.
But this was two inches higher and for the Bay League title, a season-long goal before heading into CIF competition. Grau sped down the runway and, not only accomplished her goal setting a personal-best mark of 12-9, but won the event by 1 foot, 2 inches over Redondo’s Amari Turner.
Grau was also a member of Mira Costa’s 4×100 relay team that placed 2nd with a time of 49.02.
The victory earned Grau the top seed in the pole vault competition at Saturday’s CIF-SS Division 1 Prelims at Trabuco Hills High School.
Grau wants to clear 13 feet and compete in the State Finals where she placed 12th last year. She has worked hard to improve her runway approach speed overcoming what she considered her weakness.
Grau has worked with sprints coach Moe Russell on her speed and with coach Murray Mead to improve her plant going into the vault.
“Ultimately, I think that all the hard work I put into the off-season was the determining factor of my personal record on Friday night,” Grau said. “With Murray’s help, I was able to focus on the parts of my vault that needed the most work and I believe that all that work is starting to pay off right now.”
Grau believes pole vaulting is a very technical sport that relies on many factors and variables often coming down to each participant just being on or off that particular day.
“I believe that Amari and I both put up a good fight on Friday night and having her as competition always motivates me to jump for those higher bars,” Grau added. “I just want to stay healthy and enjoy every moment of the last of this season. I’m still hungry for that 13-foot bar so Murray and I are really just trying to focus in on some technical elements of the vault to get me over it.”
Redondo coach Bob Leetch feels Turner will have a better performance in the CIF Meets.
“She vaulted a foot below her best mark to place second,” Leetch said. “But she bounced back from that to anchor the 4×100 team to their best time of the year with a win. Then followed that with wins in the 100 and 200 meters. It showed her toughness to brush off her first event and go on to have a huge meet for us. Her entire team is very proud of her.”
Joining pole vaulters Grau (1st) and Turner (8th) as top 10 seeds in the Division 1 Prelims are Redondo’s Akaylah Hill (5th, triple jump and 7th, long jump) and Isabella Landry (10th, 1600), Mira Costa’s Brooke Inouye (10th, 3200) and Peninsula’s Jessica Nye (7th, 1600).
Boys earning top 10 seeds include Mira Costa pole vaulters Cody Kallenbach (3rd) and Calvin Oury (6th), Jonah Tavai (7th, shot put), Kallenbach (8th, 110 hurdles) and Peninsula’s Aiden Lieb (4th, triple jump).
In Division 3, Palos Verdes will send top 10 seeds Grace Catena (1st, 1600), Samantha Steman (3rd, 3200), Savannah Scriven (8th, 1600) and Ife Ibraheem (8th, 100 ) along with boys Colton Russell (3rd, pole vault), Ian Irish (7th, 800) and Wade Nygren (7th, 3200).
The CIF-SS Finals will be held Saturday, May 19 followed by the Masters Meet on Friday, May 25. Both events will be held at El Camino College.
The CIF State Championships take place Friday and Saturday, June 1-2 at Buchanan High School in Clovis.
At the Bay League finals hosted by Redondo on May 4, the Sea Hawk girls won their 9th consecutive championship going undefeated each season. Mira Costa’s boys team captured its first Bay League title in four years.
“The Bay League finals is always an exciting meet,” Leetch said. “This year was no exception with very high calibre marks and a large crowd watching the athletes under the lights. The performances we terrific across the board. Very good sprints, distances, hurdles, jumps, throws, the vault. You name it, great marks everywhere. This really is a premier track and field league and it showed.”
Female league champions included Mira Costa’s Skye Davis (400, 1:01.41) and the 4×400 relay team of Davis, Clara Oscarson, Alicia Chute and Aaliyah Graves (4:09.80).
Placing second for the Mustangs were Graves (200, 35.59), Chute (400, 1:01.85), Kamryn Callwood (100 hurdles, 15.23), Ashley Brownsberger (shot put, 30-10) and the 4×100 relay team (49.02).
Third place finishers included Graves (100, 12.39), Lucy Atkinson (3200 11:20.89) and Samantha Ealy (triple jump, 35-03).
Redondo was led by Amari Turner (100, 12.35 and 200, 25.34), Akaylah Hill (long jump, 18-00.25 and triple jump, 37-03), Ashley Rodriguez (shot put, 32-08), Necole Ellis (discus, 106-10) and the Sea Hawk’s 4×100 relay team of Mahkaia Lee, Amari Turner, Katherine Kluver and Indica Showell (48.22).
Placing second were Allison Montgomery (800, 2:21.31), Mia Fong (330 hurdles, 47.33), Kylee Kallick (high jump, 4-11), Amari Turner (pole vault, 11-07) and Mahkaia Lee (long jump, 17-01 and triple jump, 35-07.75).
Finishing in third place were Shelby Bender (800, 2:26.66), Isabella Landry (600, 5:06.02), Kayla Rebentisch (100 hurdles, 16.82), Analise Asaro (330 hurdles, 47.49), Katherine Kluver (long jump, 17-02.25) and Necole Ellis (shot put, 30-08).
Male champions included Mira Costa’s Xavier Court (3200, 9:21.85), Cody Kallenbach (110 hurdles, 14.82 and 300 hurdles, 39.97), Andrew Sandberg (pole vault, 15-00), Jonah Tavai (shot put, 53-03) and the Mustang 4×400 relay team of Quinn Stow, Kallenbach, Cormac Carew and Andre Nieto (3:28.15).
Redondo was paced by winners Anthony Zuanich (100, 10.91), Justin Yaskowitz (high jump, 5-11) and Vernon Pierce (discus, 134-10).
Other top three finishers at the Bay League Championships were Mira Costa runners-up Andrew Nieto (400, 51.01), Billy Atkinson (3200, 9:34.41), Robert Craig (triple jump, 41-10) and Ryan Fiorito (long jump, 20-11).
Mustangs with 3rd-place finishes were Quinn Satow (400, 51.64), Cole Gamble (1600, 4:32.21), Calvin Oury (pole vault, 14-00), Craig (long jump, 19-11.50). Brett Boone (triple jump, 40-02), Tavai (discus, 122-05) and the Mustang’s 4×100 relay team (3rd, 43.89).
Redondo medalists also included runners-up Anthony Zuanich (200, 22.33), Cade Erickson (800, 1:58.37), Benjamin Tait (1600, 4:29.71), John Welder III (shot put, 43-06 and (discus, 127-00) along with relay teams in the 4×100 (43.57) and 4×400 (3:30.24).
Placing third were Farooq Tariq (800, 1:58.38), Nathan Ladabouche (110 hurdles, 15.53) and Vernon Pierce (shot put, 43-05).
Follow the results of postseason events at prepcaltrack.com.
by Randy Angel