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Warriors perform well at CIF track and field meet

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

Fallbrook High School’s track and field athletes didn’t win any CIF championships this year, but for the most part they performed to their potential at the CIF preliminaries and finals.

“It went very well for the ones that we qualified,” said Fallbrook head coach Marco Arias. “It was a good meet overall.”

The league champion in each event qualifies for the CIF preliminaries, as do other athletes with qualifying times or distances. This year’s CIF Division II preliminaries were held May 13 at University City High School. The athletes in each division preliminaries with the top nine times or distances in each event advance to the CIF finals, which this year were held May 20 at Mount Carmel High School.

With position being the criteria Fallbrook’s best performance at the CIF preliminaries was by junior Sammy Carmona, whose high jump of 6’3” placed second. University City High School senior Aaron Fruge had the best boys high jump height of 6’5”. A high jumper or pole vaulter has three chances to clear each height, and misses at that height or at lower heights are used as the tiebreaker. Monte Vista junior Dorian Filmore also cleared 6’3”, but Carmona was awarded second due to fewer misses while Filmore took third place.

“We thought he was going to be a state qualifier,” Arias said.

The athletes from all divisions combined with the best three times, heights or distances in each event qualify for the state meet as does any athlete with a state qualifying mark. Carmona had cleared 6’4” both at the Valley League meet May 6 at Valley Center High School and April 15 at the Jaguar Invitational meet at Valley Center High School. The Division II preliminaries meet was Carmona’s 12th of the year and his 10th in which he had cleared at least 6’0”.

Two boys cleared 6’5” at the CIF finals and three others had heights of 6’3”. A back sprain limited Carmona to a height of 5’11”, which shared sixth place among Division II boys.

Carmona had not competed in the high jump prior to this year. “He put himself at the top,” Arias said.

An athlete is limited to four events at a meet. During the season, Carmona also competed in the long jump, the triple jump, the 4x400 relay and the 100-meter dash. “He’s quite an athlete,” Arias said.

Other than the girls 4x100 relay which has four runners, the only CIF preliminaries events with more than one Fallbrook athlete were the boys pole vault and the girls pole vault. Both of the Khoury twins, who were juniors, cleared 10’9” in the girls pole vault with Maya Khoury being given fourth place and Sahara Khoury receiving fifth place. Maya Khoury also had a height of 10’9” in the CIF finals which gave her fourth place among Division II girls. An ankle injury limited Sahara Khoury to a height of 9’3”, which was eighth among Division II girls.

“They’ve been on the cusp of making big jumps,” Arias said. “They’ve got at least another foot in each of them for next year.”

Both Fallbrook boys in the pole vault preliminaries were also juniors. A height of 14’6” gave Aiden Bernier third place and a flight at the CIF finals. Damien Votaw cleared 12’0” and was given 13th place.

During the finals Bernier also cleared 14’6” for third place among Division II boys. Only one boy from another division had a better height, and Bernier was one of three boys from all divisions to clear 14’6”.

“He’s been jumping very well. I think if he continues his progression he’s going to make a run at the school record,” Arias said.

(Lane Votapka, who graduated from Fallbrook High School in 2005, cleared 14’11” during his high school career.)

During her junior year, Shea Morgan was on both Fallbrook’s track and field team and on the Warriors’ girls lacrosse team. She won individual league championships in the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash and a team league championship in lacrosse. The Valley League girls lacrosse coaches named Morgan as the league player of the year, and the Valley League track and field coaches selected Morgan as the female track athlete of the year.

“That’s amazing but not surprising,” Arias said of Morgan receiving league athlete of the year recognition in both of her spring sports.

The 2023 track and field season was Morgan’s first in the sport. “Athlete of the year for track was just an amazing feat,” Arias said.

Morgan advanced to the CIF track and field finals in both of her individual events. She was seventh in the 100-meter dash preliminaries with a time of 12.55 seconds, and her preliminaries time of 26.10 seconds in the 200-meter dash placed ninth. The girls 4x100 relay team of senior Kilala Stone, junior Jasmine Uresti, Morgan and senior Hailey Reed placed 10th in the Division II preliminaries with a time of 51.19 seconds. Morgan was eighth among Division II girls in both of her CIF finals races with times of 12.78 seconds in the 100-meter dash and 26.03 seconds in the 200‑meter dash.

“She’s just had an incredible season,” Arias said. “To make it into finals was just amazing.”

Drew Tegt closed out his high school career in the CIF finals. The senior competed in both boys hurdles races in the preliminaries. He had the 10th-place time of 15.88 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles but qualified for the CIF finals in the 300-meter hurdles with a 42.10-second performance which placed ninth. In the finals, Tegt had a faster time than two of the hurdlers who finished ahead of him in the preliminaries, set a personal record of 41.10 seconds, and gave Fallbrook seventh-place points for his finish among Division II boys.

“It was amazing for him getting to the finals, not just being there but being very competitive,” Arias said. “He didn’t have a coach for a long time, as far as technique-wise, until last year.”

Position points for team scoring gave Fallbrook’s girls a share of 18th place and the Warrior boys 20th place at the CIF meet.

Reed and Uresti both had 13th-place marks in individual events during the preliminaries. Reed totaled 31’1” in her best triple jump. Uresti completed the 400-meter run in 1:02.68.

The junior season of Abby Petersen ended in the preliminaries when her time of 2:28.02 in the girls 800-meter run gave her 14th place. The final high school race for senior Andrew Williams was his boys 100-meter dash preliminaries heat; his personal record of 11.18 seconds made him the 15th-fastest runner.

 

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