Village News Reporter
Last year Bonsall High School had two track and field participants. Twelve Bonsall students were on the 2022 team, which was also the first for Manuel Ramirez as a coach.
“It was amazing,” Ramirez said. “I’m just thrilled and happy with what they accomplished.”
Ramirez ran track for Vista High School, both as a sprinter and in the 1,600-meter event (he also played soccer for the Panthers). He hoped to transmit the enjoyment of his own track and field participation to the Bonsall athletes. “I wanted them to fall in love with the sport,” he said. “It’s an amazing sport to show the individual potential of an athlete.”
A high school track and field meet has 16 boys events and 16 girls events. Six of those are individual running-only races ranging in distance from 100 meters to 3,200 meters. Hurdles races at two different distances are contested, as are relay races at two different distances. The six field events consist of two throwing competitions, two horizontal jump events, the high jump, and the pole vault.
The athletes have no control over their opponents’ performances, so Ramirez focused on improvement rather than positions. “I just wanted them to become better every day,” he said. “That’s what I strive for.”
Ramirez strived for his own improvement, since had never previously coached the sport. “I was very nervous for the first one,” he said.
Bonsall’s first meet of the season was a Frontier Conference cluster meet (a cluster meet involves all of a league or conference’s schools) Feb. 24 at The O’Farrell Charter School. Ethan McFarland, the only returning member from the 2021 track and field team (Henrik Nylund graduated in 2021), was the only Bonsall athlete with a top 10 finish Feb. 24; he finished fourth in the 1,600-meter race and placed sixth in the long jump. The only Bonsall girl at that meet, freshman Samantha Kylestewa, was 12th in the girls 1,600-meter race.
The second conference cluster meet was held March 10 at O’Farrell. Five Bonsall girls participated, and in the 1,600-meter race Milana Collier finished fourth, Luiza Schmitt was sixth, and Kylestewa improved to 11th place. McFarland was third in the boys 1,600-meter race.
Jeff Lee participated in four boys events during the April 7 cluster meet at O’Farrell. He was third in the 400-meter race, fifth in the 200-meter dash, and sixth in the 100-meter dash while the boys 4x100 relay team of Brayden Duke, Lee, Gabriel Tamimi, and McFarland finished third.
McFarland won the boys 3,200-meter race with a time of 10:54.72 and was third in the boys 800-meter event. The girls 4x100 relay team of Collier, Grace Ferrante, Mary Ramirez, and Schmitt finished third. Schmitt took fifth in the girls 1,600-meter race.
O’Farrell hosted the April 28 cluster meet. Lee finished second in both the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash and was third in the 400-meter run. McFarland obtained second place in the boys 1,600-meter event and third in the boys 3,200-meter run.
Schmitt took seventh in the girls 1,600-meter race while Kylestewa was 10th. Ferrante, Collier, Ramirez, and Schmitt were fourth in the girls 4x100 relay and sixth in the girls 4x400 relay. McFarland, Brayden Duke, Lee, and Devin Duke finished fifth in the boys 4x100 relay.
The league championship meet, which was held May 5 at O’Farrell, determines individual league champions and CIF meet qualifiers. The league champion automatically qualifies for the CIF meet preliminaries while the best times from throughout the section determine who else has lanes or field event flights at the CIF preliminaries.
Although High Tech High North County senior Pablo Chapman had the winning boys 3,200-meter time of 10:09.52, McFarland’s second-place mark of 10:12.51 gave him a lane at the CIF meet.
“He’s dedicated to the sport and really set an example for everyone else,” Manuel Ramirez said of McFarland. “He was a great pillar for the team.”
Lee finished third in all three of his individual races but qualified for the CIF preliminaries with times of 11.68 seconds in the 100-meter dash, 23.54 seconds in the 200-meter dash, and 54.63 seconds in the 400-meter event.
“We’re super happy with that,” Ramirez said. “He’s just a natural.”
Schmitt didn’t qualify for the CIF meet but had the seventh-place time of 6:49.97 in the girls 1,600-meter race. The Bonsall girls were third in the 4x100 relay and fourth in the 4x400 relay while Bonsall’s boys finished fifth in the 4x100 relay.
The CIF Division III preliminaries were held May 14 at Mount Miguel High School. The athletes in each division preliminary with the top nine times or distances in each event advanced to the CIF finals May 21 at Mount Carmel High School.
McFarland’s time of 10:37.69 in the 1,600-meter race placed 12th. Lee scratched out of the 400-meter run, was disqualified for starting too soon in the 200-meter dash, and had the 15th-place 100-meter dash time of 11.63 seconds.
“Great first-time experience for myself,” Ramirez said of the season. “Overall, I had an amazing experience this season. I’m looking forward to the next one.”