Foothill League track and field teams use Mt. SAC relays as tune-up for league finals

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In the last invitational before Foothill League prelims and finals, track and field athletes from Canyon, Golden Valley, Saugus, Valencia and West Ranch used the Mt. San Antonio College Relays at El Camino College on Saturday as one final tune-up.

Valencia’s Kai Wingo won first place in the boys 800-meter run, finishing in one minute, 52.11 seconds; almost a full three seconds better than the runner-up.

But according to Wingo, he knows that it’s going to be a battle between him and Antonio Abrego of Golden Valley at Foothill League prelims and finals.

“Last prelims I took it slow and everyone thought I was injured, but I think my time shows that I still got it and I’m still improving every time. This league final is going to be hot and interesting with Antonio (Abrego).”

Wingo’s teammate Tylyn Cook also brought home runner-up honors in the boys 100-meter dash with a time of 11.20 seconds.

“I feel good getting to that level, but finishing second kind of made me a little angry,” Cook said. “I feel like I could have gotten first, but that just makes me work a little harder to get faster. It just motivated me because I saw the talent around there and if I want to be somebody in track, I’m going to have to work. I saw everyone there and all the colleges, I was amazed. I was like, in awe.”

An alternate in the girls 100-meter dash, the Vikings’ Julianna Anuakpado finished with a time of 12.98 seconds for a 15th-place finish.

Canyon’s Angelee Berganio clocked a time of 2:16.22 seconds in the girls 800-meter run for 11th place.

Switching things up, the Saugus girls team of Miranda Velasco, Ronnie Jones, Brooklyn Bendrat and Bella Duarte had the best finish out of the four Saugus relay teams, taking first in the girls 4×1600-meter relay in 21:06.47 and setting the new Mt. SAC relay seeded time in the event.

“It’s pretty incredible that three freshmen and one sophomore set the new seeded time,” said Saugus coach Kevin Berns. “That was that pretty cool.”

Julia Pearson, Heaven Sanchez, Dani Salcedo and Hannah Fredericks followed up with a second-place finish in the girls distance medley in 12:02.84.

Similarly, the Saugus boys 4×1600 relay team (Blake Gallardo, Anthony Dugan, Tyler Lentz, Zach Fineberg) had solid a top-three finish with a time of 18:20.95 for third place.

“We just have to continue to train hard and stay healthy,” Berns said about the impending league prelims and finals. “That’s what it’s going to come down to, honestly.”

Nick Serrano, Kristian Rascon, Zachariah Turner and Blake Gallardo clocked a time of 10:40.94 for 10th place in the boys distance medley.

Golden Valley’s Kienan Donovan impressed in the boys discus, winning first in the seeded event with a throw of 49.97 meters and ninth 12th in the invitational with a distance of 49.28 meters behind Saugus’ 10th-place finisher Gaetano Ferrera (49.38) and ahead of Canyon’s Jacob Lopez’s 13th-place finish (48.04).

Donovan also placed ninth with a throw of 16.25 meters in the shot put, this time behind both Lopez’s fifth-place finish (17.89) and Ferrera’s eighth-place throw (16.28).

“I have to come out with more intensity,” Donovan said. “Those guys came out, they were fired up and ready and they just caught me off guard a little bit. But I’ll come back and I’ll beat them for sure.”

Saugus boys high jumper Joel DeSantiago-Espinoza recorded a height of 1.72 meters for eighth-place tie while teammates Kylee Davis finished in 11th place in the girls event with a height of 1.52.

Davis also picked up another 11th place finish in the girls long jump with a length of 4.88 meters.

Canyon’s Tyler Cash finished as the runner-up in the boys high jump with a height of 1.93 meters.

West Ranch boys shot putters Noah Bultman also walked away with a second-place finish, setting a new personal record with a throw of 15.73 meters while Bryce Valles finished right behind him in third place (15.29).

Matthew Krogh recorded a distance of 14.57 meters for an eighth-place finish.

“It’s nice to have teammates that are constantly pushing you,” Bultman said. “We have three guys over 50 feet in the shot so all the friendly competition that we always have going keeps pushing us to go further. It’s a really good team environment to have.”

Rounding out the field events, Amber Racina was the lone Wildcat girls competitor on the day finishing tied for eighth in the girls pole vault with a height of 3.20 meters.

Foothill League finals are slated for Thursday at College of the Canyons at 2 p.m. Throwing events will take place on Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Hart High School.

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