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Area athletes set to compete in CIF-SS Track and Field Championships

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When Rio Mesa High sprinter Blake Selig fractured his femur last Saturday in the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 prelims, it was a snap heard all around the state of California.

Selig’s unlucky break happened while he was running the third leg of the boys 4×100-meter relay. Originally, the thought was that Selig had injured the tendon near his left ankle, but by Monday afternoon it was found to be a much more serious injury.

“What appeared to be tendinitis was actually a stress fracture that worsened over time and weakened the bone,” Rio Mesa coach Brian FitzGerald said, “and on Saturday, it snapped. That’s why he was in so much pain.”

The fractured femur, and its six-week recovery period, ruined the junior’s chance to qualify for the CIF-SS and state meets in the 100 and 200 as well as the 4×100.

Rio Mesa, however, still has a leg to stand on in the relay for Saturday’s CIF Divisional Finals at Cerritos College, FitzGerald said.

“We’ll substitute in Darion Zimmerman,” the coach said. “Of course, we lose a little time because Blake is one of the fastest kids around, but Darion’s pretty quick. We still have a chance to be close to the leaders in our division in the 4×100. … Our goal would be to win or finish high and make the Masters meet and I still think we can run under 42 seconds if we get to the Masters meet and that would get us to the state meet.”

Qualifiers Saturday move on to the May 27 Masters meet, also at Cerritos College, and the best of the best advance to the state meet June 3-4 in Clovis.

Among Rio Mesa’s other top athletes competing Saturday are Raegan Nizdil in the girls high jump and Marcus Alford in the boys 100.

Oaks Christian has team championships in its sights for both girls and boys Saturday. The Lions have the guns to do the job, but they will have to knock down perennial power Serra/Gardena to do it. Serra has earned seven of the last eight Division 4 boys titles with the only gap being in 2006, when Oaks Christian won. Oaks has been the runner-up the last two years. Serra’s girls are two-time defending Division 4 champions.

“We want to bring some hardware home for both teams,” said coach Wes Smith. “That’s definitely a focus for the kids.”

Senior Ally Courtnall and sophomore Danni Alakija will both be competing in four events and senior Lauren Anderson will be in three. On top of that, the Lions have four pole vaulters who have qualified: Erin Triplett, Kim Sanchez, Hannah Packham and Annalise Bachman.

“I think the event we’re most excited about is the girls 4×400 relay,” Smith said. “Running at 3:51 last week (in the CIF-SS prelims), we felt like we could do a lot more to make it a lot faster.”

Vinnie Saucer and Terry Johnson will be four-event athletes for Oaks Christian’s boys and sprinter Ishmael Adams will also be key, Smith said. Senior Allen Stevens will be counted upon to score points in the triple jump and high jump.

By far the best athletes the Ventura County area has to offer are Simi Valley’s Sarah Baxter in the girls 3,200 and Agoura’s Johnathan Cabral in the boys 110 and 300 hurdles.

Cabral tops the nation in the 110 hurdles with a time of 13.43 seconds and until last Saturday his time of 36.42 led in the 300 hurdles. Gregory Coleman of Warren, Texas, turned in a time of 36.34 in his state meet.

Baxter’s best time is 10 minutes, 14.11 seconds in the 3,200, which had her leading the nation until last week. She is now third.

County girls discus record holder Alex Morgan of Ventura is the defending Division 2 champion in the shot put and discus.

HIGH SCHOOL TRACK AND FIELD

What: CIF-SS Divisional Finals

Where: Cerritos College

When: Field events start at 11 a.m., running events at 1 p.m.

Returning area CIF-Southern Section track and field champions

Boys: Johnathan Cabral, Agoura, Division 3, 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles; Gustavo Sanchez, Nordhoff, Division 4, 3,200; Paul Vozzo, Oaks Christian, Division 4, pole vault; Rio Mesa, Division 2, 4×100 relay; Oaks Christian, Division 4, 4×100 relay

Girls: Alex Morgan, Ventura, Division 2, shot put and discus

Area track athletes ranked among top 10 in the state:

Boys: Vinnie Saucer, Oaks Christian, 8th, 100; Johnathan Cabral, Agoura, 1st, 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles; Connor Stark, Oak Park, 5th, pole vault; Rio Mesa, 2nd, 4×100 relayGirls: Sydney Lewis, Oak Park, 8th, 100; Danni Alakija, Oaks Christian, 5th, 400; Morgan Thompson, Newbury Park, 8th, 400; Sarah Baxter, Simi Valley, 5th, 1,600, and 1st, 3,200; Raegan Nizdil, Rio Mesa, 9th (tied), high jump; Alex Morgan, Ventura, 2nd, discus, and 5th, shot put; Oaks Christian, 5th, 4×400 relay

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