Wednesday May 27 2009
Sprinters headline Masters track qualifiers
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
Holt, Crosta to battle again in 3200-meter run
The degree of difficulty gets ratcheted up another notch for local track athletes this week, as the top eight from last week’s divisional meet move on to the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters meet at Hughes Stadium Thursday and Friday. With the top athletes from schools large and small across the section coming to Sacramento, and the top three – plus any additional participants who exceed a very aggressive minimum state meet qualifying standard – advancing to the state championships, each runner must be at the top of their game. “The goal we set for the program all season is for our elite athletes to peak at the Masters meet,” said Roseville head coach Jeffrey Bailey. “You want your last race of the year to be your best race. If your best isn't good enough; then you can live with that over the off-season.” A number of Roseville/Granite Bay runners enter the Masters meet with a great chance at reaching the next level, with most of that success coming on the girls side. Oakmont sprinter Jazmin has a legitimate shot at advancing in four events – the 200- and 400-meter dash and the two sprint relays. “Jazmin Harper is running excellent 200- and 400-meter races and is continuing to better her times as the season progresses,” said Oakmont coach Mark Morrison. “Her dedication and work ethic give her a really good chance to advance to the State Meet in both of these events as well as the relays.” Harper is joined on both relay teams by Jenny Morrison, Harper, Alyssa Thurman and Tiara Keller. “The 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams are performing at an extremely high level,” Morrison said. “They are not about to settle in and become complacent with their current times though.” Keller is another interesting story at Oakmont, as the junior has also qualified for the trip to Hughes Stadium in four events. She will run with Harper on the Viking relays and compete against her at both 200 and 400 meters. It is very demanding and can be a lot of work, but Jazmin and Tiara are in excellent physical condition,” Morrison said. “Their bodies are trained and ready to respond to whatever demand is required to achieve their best marks.” Oakmont’s biggest local competition in the sprint relays comes from across town at Woodcreek. The Timberwolves 4x400 unit chased down Oakmont on the anchor leg to win Friday night’s divisional final. “The relays are really heating up and I am a little surprised at the amazing times we have been able to run at back-to-back meets,” Morrison said. “We seem to be progressing and getting ready to peak at just the right time. The competition is responding and serious rivalries are being established.” Maya Cabiness, Jacque Harvel, Hannah Hardy and Lauren Sederberg join forces on the Woodcreek quartet. “Two weeks ago we ran a 4:07, last week we ran a 3:58 and then we ran our 3:55 on Friday night,” said Woodcreek coach John Becker. “I look forward to seeing what will happen this week.” Roseville’s Kellyn Morning finished eighth in the divisional 100-meter dash, and will compete in that event at the Masters. Woodcreek hurdlers Kayla Kamaka and Jordan Hardy ran second and fourth at 100 meters in the DII meet, and both are two-event qualifiers to the Masters meet. Kamaka is also an accomplished pole-vaulter and Hardy finished fifth in the 300-meter hurdles. The girls 300-meter hurdles field for the Masters was altered drastically during qualifying at the DII meet at Bella Vista. One of the top hurdlers in the section, Roseville’s Stephanie Blumm, clipped a hurdle in the divisional preliminary and dropped to 10th, not even reaching the finals at the DII event. “We are still heartbroken and disappointed for Stephanie Blumm,” Bailey said. “She worked so hard to come off of a volleyball season knee injury and was really just starting to run the times we thought she was capable of. She is a hard worker with a strong support system, so we expect her to bounce back fully and be even stronger next season.” The injury also cost the Roseville 4x100 relay team a chance to run at the DII finals, and thus a spot at Hughes Stadium. “We really wanted those girls to get a chance to run at the Masters,” Bailey said. “Hopefully, we can take a positive lesson from this, that there are no guarantees, and it will push them all a little harder next season.” The distance runners from Woodcreek and Granite Bay also enter this week in solid position to reach the podium. The Grizzlies’ Christine Zavesky finished second in the divisional 1600-meter and enters Hughes Stadium on a roll. Zavesky also qualified in the 800. Woodcreek’s Courtney Crosta won the 3200-meter at Bella Vista, and will seek the section title this week. She should be chased by Granite Bay’s Brooke Holt, who pulled an impressive double at the divisional meet, qualifying to move on in both the 1600 and 3200. At the Masters, Holt will drop the 1600 and focus on the longer distance. “Brooke is a young sophomore and she will not double in the 1600 and 3200 at the Masters meet and will only run the 3200,” said Granite Bay distance coach Randall Sturgeon. “This was our plan all year - to double through the sectional and then drop the mile. Her goal is to make the state meet and break 11:00 at the Masters meet.” Oakmont’s Stacey Haack will compete in the 1600 after a seventh-place result at Bella Vista, while Roseville two-milers Shayna Powless and Catherine Crisp both qualified in the 3200-meter run. Granite Bay distance star Spencer Thibideau has battled back from multiple injuries to earn his spot, with an 8th-place finish in the DII 800-meter run, in the Masters. “We though his season might be over,” Sturgeon said, “but he battled back and got into pretty good 800 shape. He really is a 1600 runner running the 800 because of the lack of training this season. With another week's training he can come down another second or two and hopefully make the final and maybe make some noise once he is there.” Roseville sprinter Jordan Magnusson advanced in both the 100- and 200-meter boys races with solid runs at the Division II meet, but he will need to go to a whole new level to reach the top three this week. “The goal for Jordan is to run the best race he has run this year,” Bailey said. “Jordan ran 11.03 at SFL Trials; if he runs that this week, he has a shot. He is right in the mix in the 200.” Oakmont’s Morrison summed up the general feeling about the value to these young athletes in advancing this deep into the track season. With so many underclassmen among the qualifiers, there is great value in the experience as they look ahead. “If we are able to do our best and leave it all on the track we will have accomplished something to be very proud of regardless of the final outcome,” Morrison said. “While every athlete cannot move on the state meet, these experiences set the stage for next season and give our athletes a chance to see what it feels like to compete at the elite level. These are the experiences that reward their hard work, and keep their desire to succeed at a high level going strong.” The Sac-Joaquin Section Masters meet will be contested Thursday and Friday at Hughes Stadium, on campus at Sacramento City College. Half of the field events (preliminaries and finals) will take place Thursday beginning at 3 p.m., and preliminaries in all running events are set for Thursday beginning at 4 p.m. The remaining field events begin Friday at 3 p.m. and the running finals are all slated for Friday night beginning at 6 p.m. There is a $5 parking fee at Sac City, in addition to entry fees for the event itself. For more Masters meet preview information, see our separate preview story on the field events, and visit us at our Web site at rosevillept.com/sports. We will be updating our site with ongoing information on local athletes in pursuit of state track and field titles over the next two weeks.