State Finals - 06/02/13


CLOVIS -- Andrew Hill's Miguel Vasquez was careful in setting goals for Saturday's state track and field championships at Buchanan High. After qualifying for the 1,600 at Friday's preliminaries, he said he knew it might be a stretch, but he would like to finish in the top three in the finals and break 4:10. That turned out to be a modest wish. Vasquez, unleashing the remarkable last-lap kick that has come to be his late-season trademark, went from seventh place at the start of the final lap to second at the finish line with a 58-second fourth lap, and was clocked in 4:08.44. Vasquez has brought his best time in the 1,600 down 10 seconds the last two weeks, from 4:18.23 to 4:12.58 in winning the Central Coast Section championship and then down to Saturday's 4:08.44 in taking second at state. At that rate, give him a couple more races and he'll break the four-minute mile. "In one race I decided to kick as fast as I could and I liked the way it felt,'' Vasquez said. "Since then I've been working on strengthening my pace.'' Vasquez came back to take seventh in the 800 in 1:53.16, moving up from 12th to seventh on the final lap. Football was Joseph Ilaoa's first love. But now throwing the discus is gaining ground. Ilaoa took fifth in the boys discus with a throw of 183 feet, 5 inches. "They are both passions of mine,'' said Ilaoa, who will compete in each at College of San Mateo. Ilaoa had a big breakthrough in Friday's trials, improving his previous best by more than nine feet by throwing 187-6. He came back with three throws over 180 on Saturday and taking fifth in a very closely-bunched group of leaders. Brendan Song of West Hills took first at 188-8. "I'll take that any day,'' Ilaoa said. Homestead throws coach Andy Arness says Ilaoa's future is bright. "He's coachable and respectable, the kind of kid every coach would love to have the opportunity to coach,'' Arness said. "He's a gentle giant, has the kindest heart, but when it comes time to compete he flips the switch.'' Ilaoa went 55-10 in the shot put for 11th place. Serra's Jon Beering was eighth at 58-3. The Bellarmine 4x100 relay team of Taylor Njaka, Aaron Chapman, Nikolai Makarov and Joey Sanfilippo lowered the school record for the third time in its last three races, clocking 41.56 to take sixth place. Bellarmine's Jaylen Wright took fifth in the 110 high hurdles in 14.24. Sanfilippo placed eighth in the 100 in 10.66. Marc Toney of St. Francis cleared 15-10 in the pole vault, tying for sixth.


CLOVIS -- The Piedmont Hills 4x400 relay team knocked three seconds off its own Central Coast Section record at Friday's state meet trials, and then, incredibly, brought the 1-day-old record down another three seconds at Saturday's state meet finals. The Pirates ran 3:41.14, the No. 2 mark in the nation, to win the state championship, obliterating the CCS record (3:47.81) they set at the Mt. SAC Relays, as well as the 3:44.47 they ran the day before at the trials. The Pirates led throughout. Timarya Baynard ran a 55.4 leadoff leg, and Bianca Bryant, the fourth-place finisher in the 800, was clocked in 55.5 on the second leg. Sprinter Alex Diaz ran a 56.3 third leg, and Ellisa Bryant, the third-place finisher in the open 400, smoked a 53.8 anchor. "I was proud of my team, getting us in good position,'' Ellisa Bryant said. "I didn't know how far behind they were, how close the next runner was. I was just thinking, 'Give it everything you've got.' I just wanted to win it for my coach and for Piedmont.'' After Friday's record-breaking run at the trials, Piedmont Hills coach Chioke Robinson said he thought the team could go faster, and if it did, would win a state title. Robinson turned out to be absolutely on the money. The Pirates became only the third team from Northern California in state meet history to win the girls 4x400 relay. Berkeley in 1974 and Skyline in 1994 were the previous winners. "I just hope we did the CCS proud,'' Robinson said. "It felt so good to go blow to blow with Southern California.'' He made one change in the relay order, moving Diaz from fourth to third and Ellisa Bryant from third to anchor. "I don't think it mattered what order we ran in,'' Robinson said. "But with (Ellisa) graduating, I decided, let her bring it home. She did that.'' Girls from the CCS came in with the three top times in the 1,600 and further cemented their status as tops in the state by going 1-2-3 at the state finals. San Lorenzo Valley's Anna Maxwell ran 4:47.33, defending champion Nikki Hiltz of Aptos 4:48.07 and Gunn's Sarah Robinson 4:48.37. Robinson was in fourth place after three laps but made a move on the first turn of the fourth lap, accelerating into second place. She held the position until the final meters of the race when Hiltz kicked past to take second. "I couldn't be more proud of her,'' Gunn coach Patti Sue Plumer said. "She gave it everything she had, had nothing left. Danielle Katz of Los Gatos placed sixth in 4:52.49. Robinson came back to place fifth in the 3,200 in 10:26.65. Simi Valley's Sarah Baxter won the race, her third consecutive state championship, in 10:10.71 Maxwell was third (10:25.68). Wilcox's Marisa Kwiatkowski took fourth in the triple jump at 39-11, four inches shy of two jumpers at 40-3 who took second and third. "She's been very consistent all year,'' Wilcox coach Mike Buncic said. "An inch or two here and there, that's tough, but that's track.'' Kwiatkowski also qualified for the finals in the long jump with a personal-best 19-1 on Friday. She only managed 17-7 Saturday, but that failed to diminish the satisfaction she felt in her accomplishment "I'm very happy,''gKwiatkowski said. "It was a good way to end the season. I'm just happy to make the finals in the long jump and triple jump. The long jump was a big surprise.'' Greta Wagner of Los Gatos tied for second in the pole vault at 12-11?3/4. Presentation's Taylore Jaques came in fourth at 12-6. Westmont's Keren Hendel, the fourth-place finisher at the CCS meet, tied for sixth at 12-0. Presentation's Emma McCarthy also cleared 12-0, but placed eighth. Ellisa Bryant, who took fourth in the 400 at last year's state finals, held on to get third this time around in 54.64. CCS champion Maddy Price of Menlo took sixth in 54.94. Sophomore Bianca Bryant placed fourth in the 800 in a personal-best 2:10.65