Tesoro's Amanda Gehrich won both the 1,600 and 3,200 distance runs at the Orange County Championships.

Canyon's Baxter soars higher in highlight-filled O.C. Championships


MISSION VIEJO – Rachel Baxter was out shopping for prom dresses Friday night.

The Canyon pole vaulter — who bought a light blue dress, by the way — was trying to distract herself and avoid thinking about breaking her state record at the Orange County Championships on Saturday.

With a vault of 14 feet, 3 inches, Baxter validated her shopping spree and broke her record of 14 feet, 2 inches while taking first place at the O.C. Championships at Mission Viejo High.

“It was awesome, it felt like a good jump,” said Baxter, exhausted but smiling.

Baxter’s pole practically impaled her right side during the record-breaking vault. She threw some bandages on the bleeding wound and attempted to clear 14 feet, 6 inches, which would likely have qualified her for the Olympic Trials.

She couldn’t do it, but the state’s top pole vaulter will have several more opportunities this year at the Century League meet and CIF-SS playoffs.

“I was trying not to think about (my wound) too much. It did burn, it still kind of burns,” Baxter said. “ … I think I can really get (14 feet, 6 inches). That’s my ultimate goal.”

No. 1 Mission Viejo won the overall varsity girls meet for the first time since 2006, edging second-place Los Alamitos, 111.5-74.

The Diablos took first in just two events. Cierra Willians claimed the shot put crown with a personal-best throw of 41 feet, 5 inches, and the 1,600-meter relay team nearly broke the meet record in its win.

They had 12 other top-five finishers in 10 events to spearhead the victory.

“If you’re expecting to go out and (set a personal record), you’re going to press. I want us to go out and compete, get yourself in the top eight and score points for the team,” Diablos coach Chase Frazier said. “Everyone is gunning for that, every point matters. Individual effort brought together creates this, what you see here.”

Newport Harbor’s Emma Kratzberg starred on the track, winning the 100 hurdles and the 300 hurdles with a time 43.03 seconds — a personal and meet record.

She was expected to win those races, but not to beat Los Alamitos’ Ashley Willingham and Mission Viejo’s Kennedy Gillian in the 400. That’s exactly what she did with a time of 55.95 — another personal record.

“I’ve been training,” Kratzberg said. “I think people see me as just a hurdler, but there’s far more to me than that.”

Other results from the track included Willingham edging Gillian for first in the 200, Mater Dei winning the 400 relay, Rosary’s Becky Obinma winning the 100, Huntington Beach’s Cassie Durgy winning the 800 and Tesoro’s Amanda Gehrich winning both the 1,600, and 3,200.

In the field events, Los Alamitos’ Alison Parsons won the long jump with a leap of 18 feet, 9 inches, and her teammate Kallie Given won the high jump, clearing 5 feet, 6 inches.

Parsons placed second in the triple jump, while Woodbridge freshman Emily Garner won at 37 feet, 81/2 inches.

Esperanza’s Amanda Truong won the discus event with a throw of 138 feet, 3 inches.

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