Foothill League track and field athletes set sights on CIF-SS finals

The Foothill League sent a large contingent of athletes to the Division 1 and 2 track and field CIF-Southern Section prelims this past Saturday, and a large fraction qualified for the CIF-SS finals this Saturday at El Camino College.

Saugus, Valencia and West Ranch participated in the Division 1 prelims at Trabuco Hills High School and Canyon, Golden Valley and Hart competed at the Division 2 prelims at Moorpark High School.

The Grizzlies are sending the most athletes to the Division 2 finals with six boys and four girls qualifying for multiple events, plus both the boys and girls also qualified for the 4×100 and 4×400 relays.

Jalen Davis tied for ninth in prelims in the boys 100-meter dash with a personal record of 10.85 seconds. He will also run in the 4×100 along with Kory Bacon, Deven Mendez and Samuel Malik.

Malik, who finished fifth in the boys 400-meter with a time of 49.69, will run in three races in the championships. In addition to the 400-meter, he’ll run in the 4×100 and 4×400 with Antonio Abrego, Joseph Clemons and Tyler Walker.

“At the end of the day the little things will matter the most,” Malik said. “I’ve done the training. Now I just need to put it all together and leave it all on the track.”

Abrego took the top spot in the boys 800-meter with a time of 1:54.96.

Alec Walker advanced in the boys pole vault after tying for third place with a PR of 13-6. Max Gabriel also set a PR in the long jump with a mark of 21-6 1/2, good for the No. 8 spot.

Kienan Donovan will represent the Golden Valley boys throwers in both the shot put and discus after finishing fifth in shot put (56-4 1/2) and fourth in discus (161-11).

Shyann Franklin leads a strong Grizzlies girls unit. She took home first in the girls shot put with a mark of 46-3 1/2 and tied for third in discus with a mark of 127. Emma Rudolph tied for the No. 7 spot in the girls pole vault at 10-6.

Jasmyn Lewis will compete in the girls 300-meter hurdles after finishing ninth in the prelims with a time of 46.35.

Tylar Gallien will compete in two races after setting a PR of 24.85 in the girls 200-meter (third place) and recording a time of 57.42 in the girls 400-meter (sixth place).

Gallien will also run in the 4×100 along with Kayla De la Merced, Delaney Sherwood and Yleana Lopez. Iman Holmes will join Gallien, Sherwood and Lopez in the 4×400.

“I’m extremely proud of how far we’ve all come,” Malik said. “We have trained together and we will win together.”

West Ranch has nine athletes competing in Division 1 finals, six boys and three girls.

“Very few D1 schools have nine individuals make it to CIF finals, and for West Ranch to be one of those few schools speaks for how much the program has turned around,” said Evan Bates, who will represent the Wildcats in the boys 3,200-meter. “I’m extremely proud of what this team has been able to accomplish at West Ranch.”

Natalie Ramirez will lead the girls throwers after taking first place in both the shot put (45) and discus (158-6) at prelims. Amber Racina will compete in the girls pole vault after tying for first with a mark of 11 feet.

Sophia Hoelzel will compete in the girls 1,600-meter after finishing in eighth with a time of 5:02.41 in prelims.

In the boys shot put, Bryce Valles (54-8) and Noah Bultman (54-6 1/2) will both compete at the finals after finishing second and third in prelims, respectively.

Solomon Strader will run in two races, the boys 200-meter and 400-meter. He logged a time of 21.79 (sixth) in the 200-meter and 48.90 (fifth) in the 400-meter at prelims.

Mya Davis will gun for the top spot in the boys 300-meter hurdles after finishing seventh at prelims at 39.24.

Bates will run alongside teammate Isaiah Seidman in the boys 3,200-meter. Bates finished seventh with a time of 9:21.02 and Seidman finished sixth at 9:18.41 at prelims.

“This weekend, to have the best race of my life, it’s going to be 100% mental. I know I’m extremely fit, but at the end of the day it’s going to be my mind pushing me forward all the way to the finish line,” Bates said. “Also, I’m extremely fortunate to have my teammate Isaiah Seidman in the race with me so that I’ll have someone to work with.”

Canyon’s Jacob Lopez advanced in both the shot put and discus in Division 2. He finished second in the shot put with a personal and school record (60-3) and third in discus (167-4).

Joining Lopez will be his teammates Ethan Danforth and Tyler Cash. Danforth finished sixth in the boys 3,200-meter with a time of 9:21.65 in prelims and Cash will compete in the high jump after tying for seventh with a mark of 6-1 in prelims.

Saugus is sending four athletes to the finals in Division 1: Gaetano Ferrera, Hailey Rutter, Dani Salcedo and Kylee Davis.

Ferrera finished in the No. 8 spot in the shot put at prelims (49 6-1/2) and set a PR in the discus (169-5) for a third-place finish.

Rutter qualified in the girls 3,200-meter after finishing ninth at prelims with a time of 11:04.82. Salcedo finished ninth in the girls 800-meter with a time of 2:16.43, a personal record.

Davis finished tied for first in the high jump with a mark of 5-3.

Hart will be represented in five different events in Division 2.

Joe Hylton leads the Indians in the boys 100-meter, taking home a third-place finish with a PR of 10.72 at prelims. The senior has showed no signs of slowing down despite taking a year off last season and also dealing with a left knee injury.

“It means a lot to me, knowing everything I put in the track showed itself in my most important races,” Hylton said. “The other athletes will certainly be a challenge knowing they have trained more, but I know I’ve got what it takes to handle my business and execute finals and advance to Masters.”

Cole Shirakata will compete in both the boys 110-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles after finishing in sixth in the former (14.79) and ninth in the latter (39.96) at prelims.

Jeremiah Rasmussen will look for another first-place finish after grabbing the top spot in the boys 1,600-meter at prelims with a time of 4:17.42.

Hylton, Shirakata, Rasmussen and Miguel Galvan will also compete in the 4×400 relay.

“We have been training way before season even started. We were the first ones out on the track pushing each other to our limit and now we are the last on the track team,” Hylton said about his teammates. “I am more than proud seeing not only my teammates but my brothers advance on. We have all had our ups and downs but in the end I saw all the work they put in and they deserve it more than anyone.”

Valencia has two athletes competing at the Division 1 finals with Kai Wingo racing in the boys 800-meter and Chloe Stewart racing in the girls 100-meter hurdles.

Wingo finished second at prelims with a time of 1:52.66 and Stewart finished seventh with a PR of 15.25.Q

Quentin Thompson of Trinity Classical Academy finished in seventh in the boys long jump in Division 4 with a PR of 20-4 1/4 to advance to the finals.

The stadium at El Camino College will open at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday with the first finals event slated to start at 10:30 a.m.

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