Star runners lead girls’ track to victory, freshman boy runs fastest time in state for event class

By Julius Pak

For the first time in school history, the girls’ track and field team won the CIF Division III Championship. The girls’ team’s performance also earned five of its members a place at the CIF Masters Tournament on May 27 in six events. The top nine finishers in each event, regardless of division, advance to Masters. Additionally, the team broke three school records and captured four event championships at Finals.

Coming back from a 63-60 second-place finish to Great Oak at CIF Finals last year, the girls’ team defeated San Luis Obispo by fourteen points at Cerritos College. Great Oak competed in Division I this season.

After contributing to a seventh place finish by the 4×100-meter relay team, Hilary King ’11 took fourth place in the long jump event, jumping 18’1.75″, for the team’s first qualification to the Masters Tournament.

In the 1600-meter event, Cami Chapus ’12 simultaneously captured the division championship, qualified for Masters and broke the school record that she already held. Chapus captured her second division championship later in the day by winning the 3200-meter event, which qualified her again to Masters.

Like Chapus, Lauren Hansson ’11 once again broke her own school record, but in the 400-meter event through a second-place finish.

Amy Weissenbach ’12 recaptured her division championship in the 800-meter event, improving upon last year’s time by just over five seconds. Her performance in that event, as well as her third-place finish in the 1600-meter event, qualified her to Masters.

Weissenbach sustained a hip injury earlier in the year during the cross country season.

“It felt great,” Weissenbach said. “It was the first time that I felt like I’m back from injury. It was the first time I felt fast in a while.”

Chapus, Hansson and Weissenbach joined KC Cord ’11 in the 4×400-meter relay to win that race and break the third school-record of the day. The record that had been broken was one of the few that had not been broken this year. Hansson and Weissenbach had teamed up with Jennie Porter ’10 and Zaakirah Daniels ’10 at last year’s state meet to set the record.

Two members of the boys’ team competed at CIF Finals. David Manahan’s ’14 seventh-place finish made him the fastest freshman in the state and the ninth-fastest in the nation. Ben Gaylord ’13 placed fifth in pole vault.

The qualifiers to the Masters Tournament will compete at Cerritos College on May 27. All entrants in the Masters Tournament will compete in the same division.

The top performers in Masters from each event will advance to State Prelims at Buchanan High School on June 2.

“I still can’t believe it right now, it’s overwhelming,” King told the LA Daily News. “We all felt like we had to do it this year for the coaches because they’ve been working so hard. This was definitely our year.”