Selig powers Spartan track team

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© Richard Gillard/Acorn Newspapers
Rio Mesa High senior Blake Selig is one of the fastest 100-meter sprinters in California. © Richard Gillard/Acorn Newspapers
Blake Selig is a textbook case of not judging a book by its coverThe Rio Mesa High senior doesn’t look noticeably bigger or taller than when he first arrived on the Spartan campus four years ago.

“He still doesn’t look like He- Man,” said Brian FitzGerald, Rio Mesa’s track and field head coach.

“We tease him that we can floss our teeth with his legs.”

Selig is deceptively fast. He runs more like a greyhound than a thoroughbred.

Underneath Selig’s slender frame is a Superman “S.” It’s certainly there, glowing inside, immune to all evil forces, except kryptonite—and Gene Hackman.

Deep within his core, there’s a desire to accomplish whatever his mind fathoms.

“Go out and have fun. Do your best,” Selig said.

“The possibilities are endless in what can happen.”

Selig has the second-fastest 100-meter dash time in California this year. The senior completed a wind-legal 100 in 10.74 seconds at the March 24 Mt. Carmel Invitational.

What made the race more impressive is that Selig had a fever before recuperating in time for the meet.

“ At the beginning of the season, I got sick. I was tired all the time,” Selig said. “The fever wiped me out cold. It took a lot out of me.”

Superman Selig was knocked down but not out.

He has his sights sets on reaching the state meet in multiple events. The senior is also a contender in the long jump (careerbest 23 feet, 8½ inches), the 200 (21.72 seconds) and in the 4×100 and 4×400 relays.

Rio Mesa’s 4×100 relay owns the third fastest time in California.

At last weekend’s Spartan Relays, Selig was a key runner in victorious 4×400 and 8×200 relays in which RMHS established meet records.

“The 8×200 shows the depth of team,” the 18-year-old said. “A lot of teams have four fast guys. We had eight guys running 200 meters fast. . . .

“Every year we surprise ourselves with relays. Those are my favorite events.”

For Selig to succeed, he always sets goals. In big meets, league outings or run-of-the-mill competitions, he goes all in.

“I always try my best,” the Spartan said before Wednesday morning’s practice. “I never try to take a meet off. No one here takes a meet off. You will never see anyone rest.

“It’s nice to have some of the best runners in the state push you every day. It’s pretty crazy how fast everyone runs.”

Teammates and coaches appreciate Selig working tirelessly for Rio Mesa.

“I really enjoy his work ethic,” said fellow senior sprinter Cameron Roach. “At the end of the day I always see him on the track breathing hard.”

Described as “cerebral” by FitzGerald, Roach is a Division I-caliber sprinter who excels in the 100, 200, 4×100 and 4×400.

FitzGerald said he also thinks highly of Selig.

“He’s outgoing. He’s a funny kid,” the coach said. “He has a really good sense of humor. He’s very dedicated to what he does. He doesn’t shy away from competition.”

Selig snapped his fibula during the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 preliminaries last spring. FitzGerald said he was impressed with how the Spartan recovered from the injury.

“It was a real setback. His season ended prematurely,” the coach said. “It was disappointing for him, but he handled it well. He came back with a vengeance.”

The son of Erin and Ron, Selig is joined on the track team by two siblings, sophomore twins McKenzie and Austin.

McKenzie is a promising high jumper for the girls’ squad. Austin is a sprinter on the boys’ side.

Born in Virginia Beach, Va., Selig bounced around the country from Texas to San Diego while his father worked in the U.S. Navy. He spent a couple years on the Port Hueneme base before moving to Camarillo in fourth grade.

Selig played wide receiver for two seasons but quit football after sustaining multiple concussions.

The senior started running for fun with the Camarillo Cosmos. Now he’s heading to UCLA on a scholarship to run track and study business. He signed a National Letter of Intent on Feb. 1.

“It’s one of those lifelong goals,” Selig said. “I remember going to UCLA games at the Rose Bowl as a kid. Now I’m a Bruin. It’s definitely surreal.

“Not in my wildest dreams did I think I’d run at a Division I level.”

SPARTANS

ON THE GO

Selig isn’t the only studentathlete excelling for the Rio Mesa boys’ track and field team.

Cameron Roach has developed into an outstanding sprinter, according to FitzGerald.

Darion Zimmerman is another senior sprinter who excels in the 400, which he’s completed in 49.68 seconds.

Jordan Nunnery, a senior, leads off in the 4×100 relay. Nunnery also runs the 100.

Geno Arthur bolsters the distance running crew. The senior runs the 3,200 (9:28) and the 1,600 (4:29). Arthur was one of the fastest cross country runners in Ventura County in the fall.

Anthony Teart and Nick Holt are standout junior hurdlers.

Teart, the basketball team MVP, also thrives in the triple jump.

Senior Christian McNair excels in the discus and shot put.

On the girls’ team, Raegan Nizdil is currently the best high jumper in the state, according to FitzGerald. Nizdil, a junior, has a high jump high of 5 feet, 8 inches.

Nizdil is one of only three Spartan girls in school history to reach the state meet in an individual event as a freshman. She qualified for state as a freshman and sophomore in the high jump.

Senior Anika Gasner (400 and 800), sophomore Alisha Greenlaw (100, 200 and hurdles) senior Elena Roffel (shot put and discus) and Rachel Graves (shot put and discus) strengthen the girls’ squad.

Rio Mesa will compete at the Arcadia Invitational today and Saturday.

Pacific View League action resumes Thursday at Oxnard, with Camarillo looming the following week.

“This is a great program,” Roach said. “It’s definitely a very fun experience. You learn a lot, you do a lot and you challenge yourself.”

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