The Santa Barbara County Track & Field Championships come at time when the athletes start pushing their performances to another level as league finals and CIF competition approach.
The championships take place Saturday at Carpinteria Valley Memorial Stadium. The first events begin at 10 a.m.
Besides being held at the picturesque Carpinteria venue, the county meet gives fans the only chance to see the county’s best track & field athletes together.
This will be the final county meet for 800-meter state champion and two-time State Meet qualifier Erica Schroeder of San Marcos. Schroeder, who signed a letter of intent with the University of Washington, is the county meet record holder in the 800 (2:16.25) and a two-time champion. The last athlete to win three 800 titles was Kim Beeson of San Marcos, who won four times (1999-2002).
Schroeder, who has run the 1600 most of the season, also holds the county meet record in that event at 4:57.19.
The tightest races in the girls competition figure to come in the 3200 and 200. Christina Rice of Dos Pueblos and Natalie McClure of San Marcos both have season bests of 11:04 in the 3200. McClure is the defending champion.
In the 200, Cate’s Emily Zhang has the best time at 24.40. She’ll be up against defending champion Jenny Nnoli of San Marcos (25.36) and Janelle Knight of Santa Barbara (26.28). Nnoli is focusing on the 200 and 400 for the postseason, according to San Marcos coach Marilyn Hantgin.
Knight has the fastest time in the county for the 100 at 12.21.
In the field events, San Marcos multi-event athlete Allie Jones figures to challenge county leader Haliegh Batt of Cabrillo in the long jump.
The sister act of Chavon and Cyenna Garrett of Lompoc are 1-2 in the county in the discus. Chavon leads her sister by six inches (117-10 to 117-04).
Cabrillo is the dominant team in the girls pole vault, owning the top four marks in the county. The leader is defending champion Kimberly Deming at 10-8.
Michael Powers of St. Joseph (400), Hunter Clark of Dos Pueblos (3200) and Santa Barbara’s Kiasa Salgado (300 hurdles) are the returning champions in the boys competition. Salgado is trying to become the first three-time champion in his event. He will also be running against Powers in the 400.
Clark’s main competition in the 3200 figures to be Kyril Van Schendel of Cate, who has a season best of 9:35. Clark has run 9:30.5.
Shemar Savage of Lompoc (10.94) and Matt Hempy of San Marcos (10.97) are the top entrants in the 100. In the 200, Hempy has the fastest time at 22.41 and Powers is second at 22.71.
The 110 hurdles should be a battle between Matt Taber of Cabrillo (15.42) and Davis Mullin of San Marcos (15.45).
The long jump competition figures to be tight with DJ DeRisio of St. Joseph (21-5) and Daniel Burquez of Carpinteria (21-2).
In the shot put, Santa Barbara’s Devon Cetti has gone 51-1 and Josh Harrah of San Marcos has a best of 50-2.
The meet also includes a county championship for frosh/soph athletes.