High school track: Frosh-soph pair shines at Windsor Relays

By JIM CROWHURST
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

WINDSOR — Though the varsity athletes shined once again, there were a pair of freshman/sophomore stars who turned heads on Saturday.

Montgomery’s Margaret Smith and Ukiah’s Sala Fitisemanu were competing for the first time this year in Redwood Empire track, so their coaches started them off easy, running in the lower divisions.

Don’t be surprised to see them moving up before the season is over after they outperformed their varsity counterparts in Saturday’s Windsor Relays.

Smith had run the 100 and 200 while at Slater Middle School, but competing in her first high school meet as a freshman, she not only crossed the finish line first in her debut in the 400, but her time of 62.95 is the fastest time run by a prep athlete so far this year.

“In my 400 today, I didn’t even know if I was even as fast as my other teammates in that race,” Smith said, “but I found out it is a really good race for me, and I think now I will become a 400/200 runner.

“I had never done a race that long before and it’s a hard race, but I can see it’s a good race for me.”

Fitisemanu is a sophomore who competed in Phoenix last year.

“In Arizona, I missed making their state meet by about four inches last year in the shot put, but the level is so much higher here in California,” she said.

Well, maybe not as high as she thinks.

Her winning freshman-sophomore mark on Saturday of 34-feet, 10½ inches was more than 4½-feet farther than the winning varsity mark, and is the farthest in the North Bay league this year.

“I think my coach will move me up later in the year and I’m just happy to be improving each meet,” Fitisemanu said.

“I hope to someday make the state meet here.”

The fact that top marks were produced at the Big Cat Invitational was not unexpected, considering the weather and the quality of the teams in attendance.

Windsor’s Zach Price, who won the 1,600, won Saturday’s 1,500 in 4:08.83, 11 seconds ahead of second. Price also helped his 1,600 relay team to a school record 3:36.63.

The Jaguars also earned jump wins by Hunter Straub (high jump, 6 feet), Tyler Lewis (long jump, 20-9) and Joel Moens (triple jump, 41-6).

Analy’s Bismark Torrez won the high hurdles (17.55) while the Tigers’ 400 relay team won in 45.97.

Maria Carrillo’s DJ Russell dominated the 300 hurdles running 42.72.

Sonoma Valley sophomore Edwin Reyes won the 400 in 51.48.

Other wins came from Casa Grande’s Edgar Irizarry (pole vault, 12-0), Montgomery’s Elijah Higgs (100, 11.54), Santa Rosa’s Justin Thurman (800, 2:06.15), Cyrus Corman-Gill (shotput, 47-2½) and Piner’s Jimmy Arango (discus, 141-1).

Santa Rosa had two girls who repeated Big Cat wins, as Annette Sutton continued her domination in the 100 with a 13.09 and Delaney White won the 1500 in 5:12.14, 11 seconds ahead of second, and she helped the coed distance medley relay team to first in 12:19.97.

Montgomery’s Tori Mollard defended her high hurdles title in 17.07. Vikings athlete Meili Bartholome improved her own prep best in the triple jump to 34-4½.

The Montgomery girls won the 400 relay, in a new prep best of 51.75 and the 1,600 relay in 4:26.52. The Vikings’ coed squad won the 4×200 relay in 1:44.51.

Maria Carrillo’s Cami Rencken outran Mollard in the 300 hurdles, besting her by a little over a half second, 47.51 to 48.10 as both moved into the all-time top 50 in that event.

Sonoma Academy’s Lilly Reinstein took the 800 in 2:33.61, while Melissa French took the long jump (14-7).

Windsor’s Kelli Fitzpatrick won the high jump at 4-10.

Other varsity winners included Healdsburg’s Millie Unti (discus, 95-6), Petaluma’s Natalie Gilmore (pole vault, 9-0) and Stotts of Cloverdale who won the varsity 400 in 63.32.

 

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