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San Pasqual shines, Escondido has its moments in VL Finals


Photo by Lenny Kerbs

The Golden Eagles of San Pasqual High did some serious running, jumping and soaring during the course of last Friday’s Valley League Finals held up on “The Hill” at Valley Center High School.
How good was the G. Eagle track and field squad? Combined the SP boys and girls captured 17 of the 32 events that were contested and 12 other times they earned second or third-place finishes. To say that the athletes from SP had it going wouldn’t be doing them justice. In a word, they rolled.
And though the other local participant, Escondido High, couldn’t match SP’s prolific output, the Cougars nonetheless were productive in their own right, hitting the board on 15 occasions that included four notable wins.
The VL Finals, which featured member schools Escondido, Fallbrook, Ramona, San Pasqual and Valley Center, was the culmination of the league season and served as the springboard from which the top finishers in each event would advance to this Saturday’s CIF Prelims to be held at Mt. Carmel High School.
Clearly, the individual boys star for SP was the gifted Noah Tellez-Velazquez. Putting his impressive combination of speed and stamina to great effect, the junior Tellez-Velazquez ran with abandon as he doubled-up with victories in both the 800 (2:00.27a) and 1600 meters.
But the G. Eagle dominance in the running events didn’t stop with Tellez-Velazquez. Sophomore Kodiak Ketcham was a revelation with his triumph (50.83a) in the 400 meters while junior Franky Varela demonstrated admirable staying power with a clocking of 9:46.20a that proved to be unbeatable in the testing 3200 meters.
The field events were also fertile ground from which SP found plenty of success. In the high jump, senior Bryce Wickett’s leap of 5-10.00 was unassailable. Meanwhile in the triple, Sunny Shah set a personal standard of 42-07.00 that bested the field by nearly two feet while pole vaulter Amadeo Gonzalez skied as high (11-09.00) as he’s ever gone in finishing on top.
The G. Eagles 4×400 relay team, a foursome comprised of Tellez-Velazquez, Justin Hernandez, Ketcham and Justus Whitaker, also hit paydirt, cruising to the winner’s circle in a time of 3:30.32a.
Additional tracksters who made significant contributions to the G. Eagle cause were Mathis Wouters, who finished a close second in the 3200 meters and soph Kevin Rohy whose personal best time 4:43.92a earned for him a third-place showing in the 1600 meters. Tim Hansen (300m hurdles), sophomore Zack Leso (pole vault) and Luke Dubois (triple jump) were also genuine factors with their efforts that got them on the board.
As for the SP girls, the headliner was definitely senior standout Sydney Pollard. Not only did this versatile athlete capture the 200 meters and long jump (16-09.00) outright but her personal best time of 12.74a in the 100 meters resulted in a dead heat that gave her yet another first-place finish. Remarkably, Pollard had delivered her own version of a trifecta.
But though Pollard’s exploits were exemplary so were those of teammate and distance-runner extraordinaire Renee Laurenzana. Not only did this determined senior own the 1600 meters (5:33.85a) but Laurenzana then impressively stretched things out and doubled her pleasure with an inspiring triumph in the 3200 meters.
Indicating that youth must be served, stylish freshman Elise Miller was another G. Eagle who struck gold when her time of 16.25a in the 100m hurdles proved to be the too fast for everyone else.
And in a pair of field events, the girls shone brightly as well. In the discus, Caroline Pham unleashed a best-ever toss of 97-06 that was more than enough to secure a win while fellow junior Camila Sanudo-Thomas’s mark of 9-05.00 in the pole vault was unmatched.
Kudos must also be given to the SP girls 4×400 relay squad which hit the tape first in a time of 4:15.15a. This success was the result of the collaborative efforts of Miller, Raegan Beckham, Brooke Peterson and Lauren Leisten.
Though they weren’t quite able to take home the top prize, a duo of G. Eagles made their mark with runner-up finishes. Junior Makell Edwards showed extremely well in the 300m hurdles as did Rebecca Dominguez in the pole vault.
And credit Miller (300m hurdles), Leisten (400 meters) and Alyssa Acosta (800 meters) for cracking the board with third-place showings. Moreover, a particular shout-out must go to the junior Leisten who set a season record with a time of 1:02.66a.
As far as the Cougar boys were concerned, it was Joshua Cabarle who climbed the summit thanks to a personal record toss of 50-00.00 that made him the kingpin in the shot put. In addition, Cabarle displayed both his versatility and carryover strength when he tacked on a third-place finish in the discus. Senior teammate Jose Martinez also put his legitimate power to use in that same event with a lengthy heave of 124-01 that netted him an admirable second-place position.
The combination of runners Jake Kanetis, Andre Rodriguez, Wesley Huizar and Jake Frankfather blended nicely, resulting in another notable runner-up finish for the Cougs, this one coming in the 4×400 relay.
As for Esco show placements, those came courtesy of senior Ryan Green’s solid leap of 5-06.00 in the high jump and junior Joel Prewett’s personal best of 11.46a in the 100 meters.
As for the distaff side, it was Jennifer Pedroza who made the biggest impact. Not only did this competitive senior take the 300m hurdles with a personal best clocking of 46.26a but she also proved her worth in the 100m hurdles, finishing a laudable third.
But Cassandra Wright took a backseat to no one while shedding light on her enormous potential. In a performance that wowed, the promising sophomore sped over 100 meters in a season-record time of 12.74a – which earned for her a dead heat with the dynamic Pollard.
With a clocking of 50.82a in the 4×100 relay, Trinity Walger, Serenity Armstrong, Pedroza and Wright joined forces to produce the Cougs third victory of the day.
In conjunction with the wins mentioned above, Esco put together four efforts that delivered distinguished runner-up finishes. The estimable freshman Walger went as fast as she’s ever gone with a 27.16a time in the 200 meters. In the high jump, Madison Heintschel’s height of 4-10.00 was a season record. Olivia Gomez showed quite well with a 29-00.00 throw in the shot put while Heintschel, Pedroza, Lessli Maldonado and Walger were only eclipsed by SP’s quartet in the 4×400 relay.
And certainly not to be overlooked was senior Kendall Howe’s nifty hop, skip and jump in the triple that took her 31-11.00 in distance and culminated in a third-place finish.
Now for the top qualifiers, it’s on to the CIF Prelims where the stakes and the chances for glory will be even greater.

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