Hitting their stride

Tyler Graham

Three Wolverines ascended the throne and one defended it when the girls’ varsity track team captured the crown jewel of CIF Division III in a golden CIF Finals for the Harvard-Westlake track program Saturday.

After winning the Mission League for the third consecutive year, the girls’ team can hang up another banner in Taper Gymnasium as the winners of the CIF Division-III Championship Saturday at Cerritos College. Efe Agege ’14, Alex Florent ’15, Courtney Corrin ’16 and David Manahan ’14 claimed individual CIF titles, with Corrin repeating as CIF Champion in the long jump.

Corrin clinched her second girls’ long jump title in two years with a jump of 19-feet, 9.5-inches, highlighting the girls’ team CIF Championship. The girls’ team qualified seven athletes for CIF Masters. Joining Corrin at Masters will be Agege, Florent, Shea Copeland ’15, Imani Cook-Gist ’15, Lizzy Thomas ’14 and Francesca Walker ’16.

Corrin added a third place finish in the 300m hurdles to her victory in the long jump. The girls’ team’s victory was aided by wins from Agege, who won the girls’ triple jump with a jump of 38-feet, 3.75 inches, and Florent, who won the girls’ high jump with a jump of 5-feet, 9-inches. Copeland’s 100m time of 12.04 set a new school record and put her in second place in the meet. Cook-Gist was also able to set a school record in girls’ pole vault with a vault of 10-feet, 9-inches.

Manahan was the only athlete on the boys’ side to qualify for masters, recording a win in the 800m with a time of 1:52.53. Manahan’s time set a new school record.

Heading into CIF Finals, Head Coach Jonas Koolsbergen was optimistic about his team’s prospects. The team sent a total of 13 athletes to CIF Finals who qualified by way of CIF Prelims.

“We’re excited and we’re looking forward to competing extremely well and doing extremely well,” Koolsbergen said. “We had probably our best CIF Prelims that we’ve ever had as a program. We hope to cross that success over to hopefully our best CIF Finals that we’ve ever had as a program.”

Reflecting on the season, Koolsbergen is proud of his athletes but believes the best is still to come as the team advances further into the postseason.

“The season has been excellent,” Koolsbergen said. “It has been a pleasure to coach and work with the athletes. We have excelled, we have done well. Now we’re just coming to the best part were we hope to do our best work in terms of CIF Masters, and ultimately the California State meet. We’re very proud and pleased and looking forward to a fantastic completion of the season.”

The team will compete in CIF Masters at Cerritos College this Friday to attempt to qualify for the California State Prelims June 6.

“I ran absolutely terribly in the 1600 in the morning,” Thomas said. “It hurt our chances of winning as a team, but everyone else really picked up the slack and had amazing outcomes, so that we were still in contention. I knew I couldn’t do the same thing in my second race so I pushed myself to place as high as I could, for my teammates and coaches.”