PaliHi Sends Five to State Track Meet

By Sue Pascoe

“All you can hearing is breathing,” said Palisades High School senior Hunter Parker, explaining why he finally decided to make a move on the final turn of the 800-meter run at the City Section track finals at El Camino College on May 25.

Parker took the lead, but was overtaken at the finish line by Shannon Turner of Eagle Rock (1:57.25) and Monroe’s Martin Del Campo (1:57.62), and finished third in 1:58.27.

“I’ve been a bit unpredictable this season,” said Parker, who is headed for the University of Nebraska. “I over-trained in cross-country, trying to double my mileage (70 mile per week),” and it caused him problems. He had to stop training and he feels this led to inconsistency in track. Last year in the state meet, he ran in the 800 with a time of 1:57.10.

Sophomore Elizabeth Rene took first in the 1600. Credit: Sue Pascoe
Sophomore Elizabeth Rene took first in the 1600. Credit: Sue Pascoe

Still, Parker and four other PaliHi athletes (Bailey Jones, Sarah Bentley, Brittany Darrow and Elizabeth Rene) qualified for the State meet which was held in Clovis on June 2 and 3 (results were unavailable at press time).

Junior Ashley Wang, Nicole Figueroa and freshmen Alicia Sigworth and Kiara Bremner won the girls 4×800-meter relay in 10:26.07.

Sophomore Elizabeth Rene captured the 1,600-meter run in 5:12.89. “My top goal was getting first in the city,” Rene told reporters. “The last 200 meters my legs were burning. I thought, just go for it and see what happens.”

Freshman Sarah Bentley won the 3,200-meter run (11:27. 85) and senior teammate Kimia Samand ran a personal best (11:47.08) to finish fifth.

Junior Brittany Darrow placed second in the girls 800-meter run (2:21.79), behind San Pedro’s Maya Richardson (2:18.57). 

The Palisades girls team finished third with 30 points, well behind Carson (177) but close to runner-up Grenada Hills (35). The Dolphins were hampered by not having a single athlete qualify for city in shot put, discus, pole vault, high jump, triple jump and long jump. 

Dorsey won the boy’s team title with 92 points and Pali was fifth with 29 points.

Bailey Jones led the Dolphins by finishing second in both the long jump (21’07.75”) and triple jump (44’06”). “My goal was to qualify for State,” said Jones, who nevertheless was disappointed that he missed first place by a quarter of an inch in the long jump. “I had a couple of jumps that I hit before the board. I was hitting it wrong.” 

Jones, a junior, had also made the 110-meter hurdles finals at the city meet, which was contested at the same time as the triple jump.

“My second jump was good, but then I had to run over for hurdles–definitely hard,” said Jones, who ran 15.64 and took seventh.

He then had to return to the triple-jump competition and refocus. He was in third place, but a strong final jump moveD him into second.

Jones’ personal best in triple jump is 45’2” and long jump is 22’7”. “I’m trying to get back to where I was at the beginning of the season before I got hurt,” he said.

Junior Angel Oqwo, who tried track for the first time as a freshman, was fifth in long jump with 20’10” and sixth in the triple jump with a personal best of 43’1”. 

“I’m hoping to do better,” Oqwo said. “Today it was like a wake-up call. I need to do more and work harder.”

In the boys 1600-meter run, all three Dolphins had personal bests with senior Ben Hansen taking sixth (4:27.11), sophomore Brent Smith seventh (4:28.43) and junior Finn Cawley ninth (4:32.14). In the 3200-meter run, senior Jacob Pollack was fourth (9:57.95) and Smith was sixth (10:05.73).

In the 4×400 relay, Dorsey was first (3:22.84) and the Palisades team of Hunter, Nickolas Mendes, Chris Howard and Rayne Camden took fifth (3:38.89).

The 4×800 relay team of Ben Hamer, Joseph Reed, Jake Greanias and Jack Hockley took fourth (8:36.18), with Monroe winning in 8:28.00. 

PaliHi head co-coach Anthony Hernandez told the News that he was happy how his athletes were growing and performing. 

“I’m excited about Chloe Boldra, who didn’t start doing hurdles until the middle of the season; her first race in hurdles was league finals,” Hernandez said. The freshman reached the city finals in the frosh/soph 300-meter hurdles and finished sixth (55.05), despite hitting the final hurdle. 

Hernandez, a veteran, will take some time off from coaching to attend Santa Monica College, but promises that next year “I’ll help the new coach.”

The most excited team of the night was the frosh-soph girls 4×400 meter relay of Leah Durant, Lilyan Garside, Molly Ryan and Kiara Bremner. Not only did they win (4:11.55), they broke the city record of 4:12.69, set in 2005. That time would have been fast enough to place sixth in the varsity final.

Pali had other topnotch runners and field athletes at the frosh/soph level, like Garside, who won the long jump (16’05.75”), and Elisa Kim and Skylar Smith, who finished first and second in the 800-meter run and first and third in the 1,600. Kim and Grace Dean went second and fourth in the 3,200.

On the boys varsity team next year, watch for promising newcomers like Dylan Lambert and Emmett Kallmeyer, distance runner Ryan Breitman and triple-jumper Kenny Davis.

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