A turnaround as quick as the one between Thursday’s Foothill League meet and Saturday’s Mt. SAC Relays can be daunting. For Saugus runner Mariah Castillo, however, her body was fresh and ready for a challenge. She clocked four minutes and 45.24 seconds in the one-mile race – which marked a new top time in the nation in the event. “I was pretty happy,” said Castillo via text message. “I was just taking everything in from the race. I am just grateful for the opportunity to race fast and be able to race against some great competition before CIF comes.” The result has earned the TCU commit an opportunity to compete at the Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle, Washington this summer. It’s the latest accomplishment on the runner’s resume, which also includes a third-place finish at this year’s Nike Cross Nationals and a Central Park course record at the Foothill League cross country finals.
“Ever since I was little I always wanted to be the best in everything,” Castillo said. “That is still the case today. “I love being competitive and set these high goals because I have that drive and desire to be the best runner I can be. I always think that every goal is reachable with hard work and being focused.” Castillo was also part of the relay team that took second in the girls distance medley invitational event. Jacqueline Cascione, Heaven Sanchez and Sophia Pearson were also on the relay team, which recorded an 11:56.38 time. Sharing in the Foothill League relay success was West Ranch in the 4×100. The Wildcats claimed first in the seeded event at 47.88. Hailey Hunt, Shelbi Schauble, London Lewis and Jenneh Sesay each contributed to the win. “It’s been a really fun experience being able to grow, especially because we all come from such different running backgrounds,” Schauble said.
“It’s been really fun to compete against teams we never thought we’d be able to. We reached a level that I don’t think anyone expected we would.” Schauble also placed sixth in the triple jump invitational with a leap of 37 feet and 3.25 inches. The result was a relief for the junior, who has had a breakthrough year with the Cats after dedicating a lot of time to figuring out which events she truly excels in. “Coach Sara (Soltani) stuck me in the long jump last year to score and realized that jumps could be like, a new thing for me,” she said. “… I was just surprised at how well it’s going and I’m very grateful and exited and it’s really fun.” In girls field events, fellow Wildcat Natalie Ramirez placed fourth in the invitational shot (12.50m) and fifth in the invitational discus (140-11). Golden Valley thrower Shyann Franklin was second in shot (12.95m) and 12th in discus (121-04) invitationals and first in the seeded discus (132-09). The Grizzlies’ Imani McGee was 12th in the shot invitational at 10.89.
Canyon thrower Jacob Lopez set a new personal record in shot put with a fifth-place throw of 17.55 meters. Lopez admitted that his early-season throws weren’t his best and sees his new PR as a big step in the right direction. “In the beginning of the season it was hard for me to get over this hump,” he said. “It was hard to get over that and mentally it was draining. Every day going to practice and not giving up on that faith that I can do something great someday.” West Ranch’s Daniel Bryant followed Lopez in sixth place in the invitational shot and Saugus’ Nathan Tripp was 15th. In invitational discus, Bryant came in 11th and in seeded discus, Lopez was sixth. Trinity Classical Academy’s Solomon Strader earned first place in the 400-meter dash invitational, clocking 47.77. JaCore Johnson was sixth in the same event at 49.02. Canyon pole-vaulter Christian Valles cleared 15 feet for third place in the invitational event and Valencia’s Tanner Berney jumped 45-05.25 for fifth place in triple jump. In relays, Valencia came in third in the 4×4 invitational. Berney, Zaphyr Smalls, Kai Wingo and Antonio Marroquin recorded 3:20.90. Golden Valley’s Alexis Romero, Nate Dougherty, Joseph Clemons and Daniel Rush logged 18:07.26 for third in the 4×1600. The distance medley relay invitational featured two teams from the Foothill League: Canyon and Saugus. The Cowboys’ Patrick King, Troy Chairez, Afredo DeAnda and Ethan Danforth placed eighth and the Centurions’ Juan Enciso, Zach Turner, Jake Rochford and Collin Werth were 11th. Rounding out the girls events were the Valencia 4×200 invitational relay team of Julianna Anuakpado, Jaliyah Berkley, Aaliyah Burney Muhammad and Catelyn Edwards were seventh.
West Ranch’s Abby Bryant was seventh in seeded hurdles. Foothill League prelims will be held on Friday at College of the Canyons.