The last weekend of April is the busiest part of the season with two popular events that have been around for a long time. For years there was a boys only Friday Night event at Orange Glen High School that was a Pre-League and CIF Championship showcase meet. Around 2006 it morphed into the Escondido Invite at Escondido High School, and in 2008 girls competition was added.
The county Frosh/Soph "championship" meet, for as long as I can remember, was the next day at El Capitan High School. Often there was a rodeo on the same grounds which made the parking lot and air quality rather interesting. Sometimes it seemed you were running with the cows. Since 2013 it's been held at Del Norte High School.
The first events for us at Escondido were the girls high jump, shot-put, and discus throw, all at 3:30 PM. The shot and discus, for us, were at the same time because our only female thrower, Victoria Perez, qualified for the Invite section of the discus and the second section of the shot. Fortunately, she was able to get her discus throws in before her flight for the shot came up. She placed 11th overall in the discus and won her section in the shot which ranked her 12th overall for that event. Alysah Hickey and Ruthie Grant-Williams were two of the favorites going into the high jump with Torrey Pine's Jade Cany a consistent jumper with a 5-foot 4-inch PR to her credit this season. With a small field in the Invitational section of the high jump, the event should have taken less than an hour to complete. However, there was a problem with the standards. After nearly every second or third jump, and sometimes when an athlete was getting ready to jump, they collapsed back to a lower height, and the bar had to be reset and remeasured. This delayed the event to the point where both of our jumpers had to leave to run in the 4x100 relay just as the bar went up to 5 feet 5 inches. By the time they came back, Jade had PR'd at 5-5 and our girls had to jump with tired legs. Ruthie didn't make the height and placed third while Alysah cleared 5-5 and the next height of 5-7. Jade didn't clear 5-7, so she placed second. Alysah didn't make 5-9, but her jump of 5-7 broke the meet record by 2 inches and earned her the title of girls' field athlete of the meet. Joining our two high jumpers in the 4x100 relay were Madison Shanks and Abby Whittemore. They nearly pulled off a win, only three-tenths of a second behind Olympian. Their time of 48.69 was fast enough to break their school record set earlier in the season. Madison came back to place 4th in the second heat of the 400 with a time of 1:01.5, Ruthie placed fourth in the Invite heat of the 100 hurdles in 15.50, and Alysah easily won the Invite heat of the 100 in 12.18. Both Teresa Perez and Madden Hundley set Personal Records in the 1600 meter run. Teresa's time of 5:03.67 set a new school record, and Madden's time of 5:15.63 was two seconds faster than her previous best. The old 1600 record of 5:03.82 was set by Katherine Wingert in 2004 at the CIF prelims. We had hoped that Ian Hurburt would face some quality competition in the boys' 800 from Everett Steward of Long Beach Poly. It didn't pan-out because Steward scratched and Ian's only competition consisted of runners from San Diego schools. He won easily with a time of 1:57.11.
In the Frosh/Soph meet, we entered four freshmen: three girls and one boy. Abigail Hundley knocked a few seconds off her best time with a 5:24.68 effort in the 1600. Jessica Ehret fulfilled her goal to break 12 minutes in the 3200 with a time of 11:58.74. Max Fuller placed fourth in the 400 with 52.94. Sofia Van Arsdale learned a valuable lesson about pace control in the 800 with a second place finish in the 800 with a time of 2:21.94. Coming into the race, Sofia was ranked second behind Christian's Jenna Rubidoux, who had a breakthrough race the week before, clocking 2:16.4. I knew that Sofia could run that fast, so I told her not to be intimidated. But she took it to the next level. At the gun, she sprinted to a 10-meter lead and hit the first 200 in around 31 seconds. At the 400, I had her split at 62 and change. She held the lead through the 600, but in the last 60 meters the proverbial bear jumped on her back, and Rubidoux caught her just before the finish. Hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Next time she'll run smarter.