By Joe Snyder
Serra High’s defending California State champion girls’ track and field team won what many, including head coach Christopher Mack, calls the prelude to the CIF-State Championship Meet which will be on June 2 and 3 at Buchanan High in Clovis; the Mt. San Antonio College Relays last Saturday in Walnut.
The Lady Cavaliers, behind their outstanding sprinters and a few more top athletes, tallied 57 points to win over second place Chino Hills, which finished with 54.5. Taking third was Long Beach Wilson with 51.
Serra picked up one event win as its 4×200-meter relay team, including Brazil Neal, Saudia Green, Zakoydl Wilson, Jaiya Flowers and Mia Flowers, at one minute, 37.33 seconds, to defeat second place St. John’s College High from Washington, D.C. which was clocked in 1:38.14.
Neal, one of the top female sprinters in California and the United States, also led off the Cavaliers’ 4×100 relay squad which finished second, behind winner Carson, in a season best time of 45.77. The Lady Colts were timed at 45.28, which is currently ranked No. 1 in the state and third in the nation. Other runners for Serra included Flowers, Fletcher and Wilson.
Neal, a senior, had a pair of third place finishes in the 100 and 200 with times of 11.7 and 23.92, in order. Carson’s Reign Redmond won the 100 in 11.45, also one of the best in the country this season. Neal’s 200 time is ranked second in the state. The best was from winner Anajah Currie from Palmdale Quartz Hill who finished second in the race the race clocking 23.81 but she has run as fast as 23.58 in an earlier meet. Branson Baker of Bear Creek in Idaho won at 23.71.
Sienna Claiborne placed third in the 400 clocking 56.63 and sparked Serra to a fourth-place finish in the invitational division of the 4×400 in 3:52.25. Other runners were Green, Mecca Mohammed and Savannah Mullins.
Jordyn Brooks took third in the long jump with a leap of 17 feet, eight inches and Fletcher was sixth in the 100-meter hurdles timing 14.76.
Serra not only won the meet but was sweepstakes winner in the sprints-hurdles, as well.
“This meet was a prelude to state,” Mack said. “They (our girls) know how to step up to the challenge. They’re supportive to each other.”
In the boys’ division, one certainly not to forget is senior Roderick Pleasant. Pleasant ran just one race, the 100-meter dash, and he cleaned up the rest of the field by winning the event in his season best time of 10.23, although it was wind-aided.
“It was a good race,” the University of Oregon-bound Pleasant said. “I was excited.”
Pleasant won by .16 of a second over runner-up Augustus Remlinger of Buchanan (10.39). Nickolas Miller of Clovis North (10.4) was third.
It is on to the Del Rey League Championship Meets, hosted by Serra. The prelims were on Wednesday with the finals next Wednesday, starting at 2 p.m.
For the second straight season, Moorpark High, which has one of the fastest high school tracks in the nation, will host the CIF-Southern Section division finals on May 14 and the masters on May 21. Moorpark was the track that Pleasant ran his best times of 10.14 in the 100 at the Masters and 20.4 in the 200 in Division IV. Serra continues to compete in CIF-Southern Section Division IV with the prelims being on May 7 at Carpinteria High in South Santa Barbara County.
ECC has strong day at Mt. SAC
El Camino College’s men’s and women’s track and field teams proved that they can contend for the South Coast Conference and, possibly, the California state championships after having several outstanding performances at the Mt. San Antonio College Relays on April 8 in Walnut.
The Lady Warriors were led by Alyssa Matsiuzake who won the 400-meter hurdles at one minute and seven seconds and finished second in the 110 high hurdles clocking 15.19. Matsiuzake has a personal best time of 14.99 in the 100 hurdles she did a week earlier at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo.
ECC’s men also excelled in the hurdles behind Lincoln Marshall who won the 400 intermediate hurdles in 52.69. He also had a personal best time of 52.4 he did at Saddleback College. Marshall’s 400 hurdles time is the best in California this year.
Teammate Anthony Taylor placed second in the 110 hurdles timing 14.54 and was fifth at the 400 hurdles in 55.85.
El Camino’s 4×400 relay won timing 3:15.
Freshman Izak Giacehello took fourth in the 110 high hurdles at 14.97.
GHS continues to struggle with two losses
Gardena High’s baseball team fell to 1-11 overall and 0-2 in the Marine League after a league loss to host Rancho Dominguez Prep 8-2 on April 12 and in a San Fernando Showcase Tournament game at home to Los Angeles Center of Enriched Studies (LACES) 14-1 last Saturday.
At Rancho Dominguez in Long Beach, the Panthers were seeking to break out of their nine-game losing streak as they grabbed a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth inning. Behind 1-0 after the Lobos scored in the bottom of the first, Adrian Altamirano led off with a single, followed by back-to-back walks to Nathan Guzman and Alexander Cardenes loading the bases. After Brady Tanaka struck out, Daniel Serna walked to bring home Altamirano for the tying run. Marco Viveros followed with a base hit to score Guzman giving Gardena the lead.
The Panthers led until the bottom of the fifth inning when Rancho Dominguez scored two runs in the bottom of the inning for a 3-2 lead, then added five in the sixth to break the game open.
Joseph Chavez started as pitcher going five innings, giving up three runs (two earned) but Gardena head coach Tom Anderson went to Altamirano to finish off as he struggled and saw the Lobos bat around scoring five runs on five hits.
Anderson admitted that the Panthers had several missed opportunities, leaving the bases loaded three times, two of those with one out.
“We had them 2-1,” Anderson said. “We left the bases loaded three times. Just one or two big hits, it could have been a different game.”
Chavez allowed just four hits through six innings.
Guzman drove in the only run with a double for Gardena in its loss to LACES. Anthony Garcia scored the run. That RBI hit was one of just two for the Panthers.
Gardena is back from spring break as it continued Marine play at home against Banning High last Tuesday. The Panthers visit the Pilots in Wilmington today at 3 p.m. Gardena will host Lincoln High from East Los Angeles in a San Fernando Showcase Tournament game Saturday at 11 a.m. before visiting Carson in league next Wednesday at 3 p.m.
North Torrance split its two games with cross town rival Torrance in Pioneer League play last week. At Torrance Park on April 12, the Saxons, behind pitcher Brynner Waiolama, held on to edge the Tartars 2-1. At North last Friday, Torrance dominated the Saxons 16-2.
Waiolama limited Torrance, which is 15-3 overall and 7-1 in league, to just two hits while striking out eight batters. Tartar pitcher Tommy Adair did well allowing four hits.
The game was scoreless through six innings before the Saxons scored two runs in the top of the seventh and the Tartars had one in the bottom of the inning.
Torrance, the top ranked team in the South Bay by the Daily Breeze, had four hits and five runs batted in apiece from Ricky Ahumada and Mateo Rickmon in the blowout win over North, which fell to 6-14 overall and 4-4 in Pioneer play.
North has two games with Lawndale this week. After visiting the Cardinals on Wednesday, the Saxons host Lawndale Friday at 3:30 p.m. North will have what should be a critical series against West Torrance next week. The Saxons visit the Warriors next Tuesday and host West next Thursday in 3 p.m. league games.
Serra had its spring break last week but managed to get off a home non-league game against Culver City last Saturday. The Cavaliers had a good tune-up for a critical Del Rey League series against always powerful La Puente Bishop Amat this week with an 11-3 win over the Centaurs.
After hosting the Lancers last Tuesday, Serra visits Bishop Amat Friday at 3:15 p.m. The Cavaliers visit St. Paul High in Santa Fe Springs Monday and host the Swordsmen next Wednesday. Both league games, which are the last two in Del Rey play, also begin at 3:15 p.m. The Cavaliers will close the regular season at Maranatha High in Pasadena on April 27 at 6 p.m.