Rio Mesa relay qualifies for CIF, but loses top sprinter

Men are running sprint.
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© Chuck Kirkman/The Star
Codie Conway, center, of Newbury Park and Alford Marcus, right, of Rio Mesa, compete in the boys 100-meter dash at the CIF Southern Section Division 2 Prelims at Moorpark High. © Chuck Kirkman/The Star
As expected, the Rio Mesa High boys 4 x 100 relay unit qualified first in the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 prelims on Saturday at Moorpark High with a solid clocking of 41.69.

Uncertain is what happens next.

As anchor Cameron Roach was zipping across the finish line, the real drama was happening behind him on the running track.

Blake Selig, the speedy junior who runs the No. 3 leg for the Spartans, lay sprawled on the track, momentarily, before crawling to the grass on the adjacent stadium field.

The initial prognosis? Selig said he felt a “pop” on a tendon near his left ankle, which is likely related to the tendinitis he has suffered throughout this season.

The reality? Selig will await a doctor’s examination on Monday, but is almost certainly out for the remainder of the season, said Rio Mesa coach Brian FitzGerald.

The injury already cost Selig the opportunity Saturday to qualify for next week’s CIF-SS Divisional championships in the boys 100- and 200-meter dashes. It may jeopardize Rio Mesa’s chance for CIF-SS and state titles in the 4 x 100.

The Spartans placed second in the state in 2010.

“It’s tough for him, no doubt,” said FitzGerald. “He’s such a good guy and a good athlete. But the good news is that he’s only a junior. He’ll be back next year.”

Selig’s spot in the 4 x 100 relay in next week’s CIF-SS finals will be taken by Darion Zimmerman, said FitzGerald.

“We lose our fastest guy, but maybe we still have a chance to qualify for state,” he said.

Fitzgerald said Selig has been having issues with the tendon located outside his left ankle for much of the season.

“We would have preferred to rest him, but this is the CIF-SS prelims,” said FitzGerald. “He felt good this week. He was ready to go.”

Selig, in fact, ran trouble free until the final steps of his relay leg, allowing him to pass the baton before pulling up on the track.

Selig’s injury matched the gloom of a gray, overcast day at Moorpark High. But there was plenty of bright news delivered by county athletes.

Newbury Park High twin sisters Morgan and Megan Thompson each won their heats in the girls 400 to earn precious qualifying spots in next week’s divisional championships. Megan posted a winning time of 57.28 in heat 3. Morgan’s clocking of 57.51 won heat 2.

Both also qualified in other events. Megan finished second to Thousand Oaks’ Caitlin Turner in the 800 in 2:18.33, while Morgan qualified third in the 200 in 24.91.

The senior siblings push each other to notable achievements.

“She’s my practice partner, each day and every day,” said Megan. “She makes sure I do all the hard work.”

Morgan said performance was more important than times in this meet.

“The key objective is to qualify and move on,” she said. “You want to save your best times for the CIF finals and state.”

Camarillo High’s Heyden Wooff had double success.

He qualified fifth in his specialty event, the boys 3,200, with a time of 9:23.32 and also won his heat and placed second overall in the 1,600 at 4:14.64.

For Wooff, the personal best in the 1,600 marked his finale in that event as a high school athlete. He will focus on the 3,200 for the CIF-SS finals.

“The race unfolded perfectly for me,” he said after his 1,600 victory. “I wanted to stay close and then make my move down the stretch. It couldn’t have gone better for me.”

Wooff savored his clocking for the 1,600.

“I wanted to go out with my best time today,” he said. “I got it, which certainly gives me a lot of confidence for the two-mile.”

Alex Morgan of Ventura was dominant yet again in the girls throwing events. She was first in the shot put at 41 feet, 7 ¾ inches and was the top qualifier in the discus at 151-5.

The top nine placements on Saturday all earned spots in next week’s CIF-SS finals at Cerritos College.

The girls 800 turned out to be a win-win for local runners.Thousand Oaks’ Turner qualified first in 2:17.34, Megan Thompson was second and Emily Hooke of Ventura was fourth in 2:20.12.

Westlake freshman Brooke Edell qualified in both the 100 and 200.

County performers also shined in the girls high with Thousand Oaks’ Angelyn Caldwell and Rio Mesa’s Raegan Nizdil among nine qualifiers at 5-3.

For the boys, Phillip Hanley of Thousand Oaks qualified fourth in the high jump and Terry Pagano of Newbury Park was seventh in the 200.

Ventura’s Edwin Herrera and Easton Tackett will each compete in the 1,600 in the CIF-SS finals.

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