The San Marcos High School girls track and field team made a statement at Saturday’s Santa Barbara County Championships that it’s a serious contender for a CIF-Southern Section Division 2 title.
The Royals won 10 varsity events and set a school record in rolling to the team title with a whopping 185 points.
Not to be outdone, the San Marcos boys also won with 133 points and set a school record.
The Royals swept freshman team titles as well, enabling them to capture the boys and girls sweepstakes crowns and the grand sweepstakes title.
“We have a lot of good girls in all the events,” said senior Erica Schroeder, who won her third 800 title in a meet record of 2:13.45 and ran on a winning 4×400 relay team.
Allie Jones was the big point maker for the Royals girls, winning the 100 meters and 100 hurdles, taking second in the shot put and running on the first-place 4×100 relay.
Jones set a school record in the hurdles at 14.08, besting the 14.10 she posted in the Arcadia Invitational heptathlon.
“I’m feeling good,” said the junior, who ran 12.47 in the 100 and threw a PR of 35-06 in the shot put. “The hurdles is always the fun.”
The 100 was only her second of the season.
Schroeder ran in just her third 800 race in a meet this season. She’s one three 1600s and a pair of one-mile races.
The University of Washington signee bolted away from the field at the start and ran alone. She didn’t reach her preferred time but was still pleased with her performance.
“I put in a good effort today,” said the two-time State Meet qualifier in the 800 and the 2015 State Meet champion. “It’s good to see where I’m at at this point in the season.
“I was trying to go for 2:10 today. It was a pretty hefty goal but I want to beat them. I’m not going to get those times if I don’t shoot for them.”
Schroeder said there’s a possibility she will run the 1600 in CIF competition, and will continue running on the 4×400 relay through the postseason.
“It’s something I didn’t do as much last year and I think it may have been a factor of not quite getting the speed I needed (in the State Meet 800),” she said. “The relay helps you develop more speed.”
Jenny Nnoli, the school record holder in the 100, is now concentrating on the 200 and 400. She won the events Saturday in 25.36 and 58.02, respectively.
“I’m relatively better at the 400 and I have more potential in 400,” she said. “I’m taller and I can’t really accelerate that fast out of the blocks (in the 100). Being tall, I have an advantage of opening up in the 400.”
Bothered by a hip flexor injury, Nnoli was running her first 400 since Arcadia. She wasn’t happy with the time.
“I wanted to run faster than that,” she said. “I’m just coming back from an injury, so this is my first meet back. I was trying to run like a 56-low but I ran 58 flat, so I’m kind of disappointed in that sense. But I’m happy I can run it.”
The San Marcos girls also got wins from Kaela Cleary in the 1600 (5:09.64), Abbey Willett in the 300 hurdles (47.30) and Carolyn Weisman in the triple jump (36-00.50).
Haliegh Batty of Cabrillo High was a double champion. She set a meet record in the long jump at 18-04.25 and won the high jump at 5-4.
Senior Brian Nnoli, had his best day of the season in the boys triple jump, setting a personal best of 46-01.75 to win his first county title. His series included marks of 43-10, 45-04 and 46-01.
“I’m trying to get the school record,” he said of the mark of 47-3 set in 2011 by San Marcos High’s Shane Rowan, now an assistant track and field coach at Westmont College.
“My coach thinks I can get 47. Second place on the school record list is 46-2.”
Sophomore Beau Allen put his name at the top of the school record book in the high jump. He cleared 6-5 to win the frosh/soph title and set a county record in the division.
Josh Harrah gave the Royals a win in the shot put, beating out county leader Devon Cetti of Santa Barbara High. Harrah threw 47-10 and Cetti 47-3.
Sprinter Matt Hempy finished a close second to Lompoc’s Shemar Savage in the 100 (11.16 to 11.2) and Anthony Manahan of the Braves in the 200 (22.54-22.55). Manahan also won the 400 in 49.37.
“I’ve raced Shemar before and he’s a really quick guy,” Hempy said. “We all got out pretty quickly, pretty even. I thought I was going to get him at the end but he had one step in front of me.”
Hempy said he feels good going into the postseason.
“I’m feeling like I’m right where I want to be going into league finals and what not,” he said. “Today I ran 11.2, which I’m satisfied with. The goal would be to break 11 going into league.”
Kiasa Salgado of Santa Barbara became the meet’s first three-time champion in the 300 hurdles. He won his third title by matching his PR of 39.36.
Salgado took command of the race at the first hurdle, and he did it while hurdling on his off leg.
“I was working it pretty good,” he said. “I wanted to see how my dominate side was doing and my hamstring hurt a little bit, so I did the off side for the rest of the race and it felt really good.”
Hunter Clark of Dos Pueblos repeated as champion in the 1600, winning in 4:23.98. Cate School’s Kyril Van Schendel finished second in a personal best of 4:24.81. The Cate senior came back and won the 3200 in 9:39.06.
“It went pretty good considering I ran a PR in the mile,” Van Schendel said after bursting down the home stretch in the 3200. “I’m really happy with the result; 9:39 that’s four seconds off my PR, but considering I was running by myself for the majority of the race I’m really happy with it.
“And I’m super happy with the kick at the end. When Isaac (Acosta of Lompoc) pulled up to me with 600 to go, I knew that when it came to the last 250 meters I would just have to kick it and not look back and not slow down. That’s what I did.”
Van Schendel has been dropping his times in the last few meets. In the 1600, he ran 4:31 and 4:26 before going 4:24 on Saturday. In the 3200, he’s gone from 9:45 to 9:35 in a week. “To come back (after a PR in the 1600) and run sub 9:40, that’s great. I’m super happy.”
Christina Rice of Dos Pueblos lapped four runners in winning the girls 3200 in 11.26.89. It was her first county title.
“It was kind of hard,” she said. “There was nobody out there in front to be racing with. I did the mile (finishing in third place) and my coach really wanted me to have a strong 3200. It was like, ‘Go and attack but don’t really go all out.’
“I was hoping Natalie McClure from San Marcos was going to race. She wasn’t there and it was kind of hot so it was just go out and do even splits and feel good.”
After a slow start to the season because of a sinus infection, the UCLA-bound Rice said she’s “getting back to where I want to be. I’m really looking forward to CIF. I’m happy where I’m at, running smoothly and keeping good form.”
Other county champions include Cabrillo’s Kimberly Deming in the girls pole vault (10-6), Sarah Perkins of Santa Ynez in the shot put (39-04.25) and Chavon Garrett of Lompoc in the discus (111-02).
The other champions on the boys side were Guilio Giordani of Santa Ynez in the pole vault (13-0), Joseph Domingues of St. Joseph in the 800 (1:58.67), Davis Mullin of San Marcos in the 110 hurdles (15.37), Daniel Burquez of Carpinteria in the long jump (21-05.25, PR), Spencer Kemmerer of Dos Pueblos in the high jump (6-2) and Cetti in the discus (159-02, PR).