Search:
BILL ALKOFER, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Canyon's Rachel Baxter, left, and Santa Margarita's Kaitlyn Merritt had a jump-off in the pole vault Saturday at the Orange County Championships. Baxter was the winner.

Baxter ends Merritt's reign in pole vault at O.C. Championships

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

MISSION VIEJO – If the uncommonly threatening skies did not grab the attention of the onlookers, then the excitement flowing from the west end of Mission Viejo’s stadium finished the job.

There in the pouring rain stood Canyon’s Rachel Baxter and Santa Margarita’s Kaitlyn Merritt. A clash of titans was about to take place as two of the state’s top-tier pole vaulters prepared for a rare jump-off Saturday at the Orange County Championships.

The rain intensified. Nerves were rattled as Merritt’s pole slipped through her grip on the first attempt to break the tie. A winner could not be determined at 13 feet, 6 inches. Both athletes missed the mark, extending the drama to the height of 13-3.

That’s where Baxter established a personal best, driving her wet pole confidently into the ground to overcome the barrier. After Merritt was denied, the Canyon sophomore was brought to a state of disbelief.

“I am so speechless. I am so happy,” Baxter said, stunned that she had defeated the three-time Orange County champion. “I was not expecting that.”

Pole vaulting is difficult enough in pristine conditions. Baxter recalled the nerve-wracking moments before making her final approach.

“When I was at the end of the runway and it was raining, I was nervous and kind of scared,” she said. “My grip felt good. It felt dry so I knew I could do it. I just trusted it.”

A historic season continued for Los Alamitos on Saturday. The Griffins’ girls team captured the school’s first county crown by dominating the track events.

“I’m proud of how we performed today,” Griffins coach Nathan Howard said. “We came in as either the favorite or the underdog depending on who you talk to. To come in and be who we are and show who we are, it’s just amazing.”

The Griffins defeated Mission Viejo, 83-72. Sara Limp won the 200, and Ashley Willingham captured the 400 - second fastest time in meet history - to score points in the sprints. From there, the Griffins turned to their strong relay teams to clinch the victory.

Anijah Green, Sara and Kenna Limp, and Willingham teamed to post the third-fastest 400 relay time (47.34) in meet history.

The 1,600 relay was the last event of the day, and it finalized Los Alamitos’ long-awaited triumph. Sarah Pisani, Brianna Taylor, Sara Limp, and Willingham contributed to the decisive race.

“We’ve been doing so well,” Green said. “We’ve broken records and become No. 1 in the nation for some of our relays. It’s just exciting being a part of this team.”

Tesoro’s Amanda Gehrich opened big leads in winning the 1,600 and 3,200. The Titans junior was named the girls distance athlete of the meet.

Gehrich, who set a school record with her 3,200 time of 10:32.56, said she is trying to build momentum heading into CIF.

“I’m progressing much faster than last year,” she said. “I’m running faster times. It brings me a lot of confidence heading into the postseason races.”

Canyon’s Alexis Turley-Young won the 100 hurdles in 14.76, but her pursuit of a multi-title day was derailed in the long jump. Lily Ebanks of Valencia surprised the field with a winning leap of 18-61/2.

Cypress’ Hilary Ojinnaka was a force to be reckoned with in the short sprints. The senior matched her personal record of 12.05 to take the 100. She finished third in the 200.

“I could have got out a little better on my first phase,” Ojinnaka said following the 100. “I know what saved me is my drive-out stage. I did good. I accomplished a lot.”

Rachelle A La Torre (Newport Harbor) won the discus (139-0). In the shot put, Ciera Williams’ (Mission Viejo) winning toss of 39-63/4 moved her to third in the county.

Huntington Beach’s Taylor Eddleman and Cassie Durgy scored victories in the high jump and the 800, respectively.

Dominique Ruotolo (Mater Dei) delivered a 37-6 to win the triple jump, while Newport Harbor’s Hope Bender finished in 43.39 to take the 300 hurdles.

***************

ORANGE COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIPS RESULTS
At Mission Viejo High

BOYS

Team Results
1. Woodbridge 81; 2. Dana Hills 78.5; 3. Los Alamitos 41.5; 4. Trabuco Hills 31; 5. Mater Dei 30; 6. Servite 29; 7. Esperanza 20; 8. San Juan Hills 20; T9. Valencia 19; T9. Mission Viejo 19

Individual Results
100m – 1. Patton (Woodbridge) 10.86; 2. Young (Woodbridge) 10.98; 3. Mitchell (Tesoro) 10.99; 4. Hernandez (Mater Dei) 11.17; 5. Diego-Williams (JSerra) 11.17

200m – 1. Warner (Woodbridge) 21.75; 2. Young (Woodbridge) 22.39; 3. Galloway (Aliso Niguel) 22.48; 4. Douglas (Los Alamitos) 22.50; 5. Carty (Los Alamitos) 22.60

400m – 1. Warner (Woodbridge) 48.19; 2. Carty (Los Alamitos) 48.36; 3. Resong (Servite) 48.49; 4. Mitchell (Santa Margarita) 49.37; Atencio (Yorba Linda) 49.52

800m – 1. Tamagno (Brea Olinda) 1:52.33; 2. Heib (Los Alamitos) 1:55.31; 3. Lamberth (Canyon) 1:55.66; 4. Kossick (Edison) 1:55.71; 5. Burciago (Huntington Beach) 1:56.17

1600m – 1. Ogden (Dana Hills) 4:14.37; 2. Coppi (Dana Hills) 4:14.65; 3. Burkhardt (JSerra) 4:16.64; 4. Dunne (San Clemente) 4:17.69; 5. Cruz (El Modena) 4:17.77

3200m – 1. Gleason (Huntington Beach) 9:10.72; 2. Coppi (Dana Hills) 9:13.68; 3. Ogden (Dana Hills) 9:14.51; 4. Price (St. Margaret’s) 9:23.87; 5. Suarez (Santa Ana) 9:25.35

110HH – 1. Meech (San Juan Hills) 14.64; 2. Bayr (Dana Hills) 14.73; 3. Hurd (Trabuco Hills) 14.77; 4. Atencio (Yorba Linda) 15.00; 5. Sun (Woodbridge) 15.22

300IH – 1. Meech (San Juan Hills) 37.52; 2. Hurd (Trabuco Hills) 38.18; 3. Paton (Mission Viejo) 38.79; 4. Gomez (Los Alamitos) 39.08; 5. Sun (Woodbridge) 39.65

400 relay – 1. Woodbridge 41.75; 2. Mater Dei 42.82; 3. Santa Margarita 42.83; 4. Aliso Niguel 42.89; 5. Fountain Valley 43.68

1600 relay – 1. Woodbridge 3:21.05; 2. Servite 3:21.33; 3. Los Alamitos 3:24.55; 4. Dana Hills 3:25.83; 5. Western 3:30.35

HJ – 1. McCord (Sage Hill) 6-06; 2. Pounds (Cypress) 6-04; 3. Davis (Santa Ana) 6-02; 4. Beynon (Edison) 6-0; 5. Secrest (San Clemente) 6-0; T5 Kuehnel (Sage Hill) 6-0

LJ – 1. Harris (Orange Lutheran) 22-11.50; 2. Romero (Dana Hills) 21-11; 3. Robinson (Kennedy) 21-08.75; 4. Mitchell (Tesoro) 20-09; 5. Patton (Woodbridge) 20-07.75

TJ – 1. Robinson (Kennedy) 45-05.50; 2. Kappes (Dana Hills) 43-02.25; 3. Nesbit (San Clemente) 42-11; 4. Fimbres (Sonora) 42-10; 5. Patton (Woodbridge) 42-08.25

PV – 1. Newman (Trabuco Hills) 14-06; 2. Shank (Servite) 14-06; 3. Doerr (Trabuco Hills) 14-0; 4. Baxter (Dana Hills) 13-06; 5. Ridder (Dana Hills) 13-06

SP – 1. Coghill (Valencia) 61-02; 2. Osborn (Esperanza) 60-07; 3. McMorris 59-10.25; 4. Meyer (Esperanza) 53-11.75; 5. Smith (Mission Viejo) 53-02.50

DT – 1. McMorris (Mater Dei) 185-02; 2. Coghill (Valencia) 180-08; 3. Osborn (Esperanza) 175-04; 4. Wattenberg (JSerra) 172-03; 5. Parker (Dana Hills) 171-0

GIRLS

Team Results
1. Los Alamitos 83; 2. Mission Viejo 72; 3. Mater Dei 64.5; 4. Newport Harbor 56; 5. Canyon 45; 6. Santa Margarita 30; 7. Tesoro 29; 8. Dana Hills 28.5; 9. Fountain Valley 27.5; 10. San Clemente 27

Individual Results
100m – 1. Ojinnaka (Cypress) 12.05; 2. Limp (Los Alamitos) 12.22; 3. Turley-Young (Canyon) 12.44; 4. Ebanks (Valencia) 12.56; 5. Perez (Mater Dei) 12.60

200m – 1. S. Limp (Los Alamitos) 24.76; 2. Willingham (Los Alamitos) 24.82; 3. Ojinnaka (Cypress) 24.84; 4. Medley (El Toro) 25.14; 5. Gillian (Mission Viejo) 25.35

400m – 1. Willingham (Los Alamitos) 55.74; 2. Gillian (Mission Viejo) 56.50; 3. Bender (Newport Harbor) 57.09; 4. Tuttle (Fullerton) 57.53; 5. Fan (Aliso Niguel) 57.61

800m – 1. Durgy (Huntington Beach) 2:11.76; 2. Grohmann (Fountain Valley) 2:13.83; 3. Bartello (Laguna Hills) 2:15.70; 4. Daly (Dana Hills) 2:17.37; 5. Camarena (San Juan Hills) 2:17.39

1600m – 1. Gehrich (Tesoro) 4:47.70; 2. Izzo (Los Alamitos) 4:55.27; 3. Brumley (Tesoro) 4:56.15; Carroll (San Clemente) 4:56.55; Sienski (Edison) 4:58.58

3200m – 1. Gehrich (Tesoro) 10:32.56; 2. Izzo (Los Alamitos) 10:42.67; 3. Carroll (San Clemente) 10:49.0; 4. Kaloroumakis (Dana Hills) 10:49.05; 5. Deitch (Capistrano Valley) 10:53.0

100HH – 1. Turley-Young (Canyon) 14.76; 2. Bender (Newport Harbor) 15.02; Kratzberg (Newport Harbor) 15.16; 4. Duarte (Mission Viejo) 15.17; 5. Teegarden (Mission Viejo) 15.59

300IH – 1. Bender (Newport Harbor) 43.39; 2. Kratzberg (Newport Harbor) 44.50; 3. N. Merritt (Santa Margarita) 45.34; 4. Teegarden (Mission Viejo) 45.42; 5. Duarte (Mission Viejo) 45.71

400 relay – 1. Los Alamitos 47.34; 2. Mater Dei 48.11; 3. Santa Margarita 48.23; 4. Cypress 48.48; 5. Mission Viejo 48.55

1600 relay – 1. Los Alamitos 3:55.74; 2. Fountain Valley 3:56.73; 3. Mission Viejo 3:57.30; 4. Mater Dei 4:03.97; 5. Dana Hills 4:05.22

HJ – 1. Eddleman (Huntington Beach) 5-06; 2. Given (Los Alamitos) 5-05; 3. Ruotolo (Mater Dei) 5-02; 4. Edgar (Santa Margarita) 5-02; T5. Kittelsen (Crean Lutheran) 5-0; T5. Brown (Mater Dei) 5-0; T5. Lang (Mission Viejo) 5-0

LJ – 1. Ebanks (Valencia) 18-06.50; 2. Smith (Mission Viejo) 18-03.50; 3. Turley-Young (Canyon) 17-11.50; 4. Ruotolo (Mater Dei) 17-05.50; 5. Moss (Mater Dei) 17-02.25

TJ – 1. Ruotolo (Mater Dei) 37-06; 2. Coley (Mater Dei) 36-10; 3. Duarte (Mission Viejo) 35-09.50; 4. Allman (Trabuco Hills) 35-06; 5. Turley-Young (Canyon) 35-02

PV – 1. Baxter (Canyon) 13-03; 2. K. Merritt (Santa Margarita) 13-0; 3. Caskey (Mater Dei) 12-0; 4. Kao (Dana Hills) 12-0; 5. Thomas (Santa Margarita) 11-06

SP – 1. Williams (Mission Viejo) 39-06.75; 2. A La Torre (Newport Harbor) 38-02.50; 3. McArthur (Dana Hills) 37-01; 4. Tuavao (Canyon) 36-07.25; 5. Uipi (Orange Lutheran) 36-04.75

DT – 1. A La Torre (Newport Harbor) 139-0; 2. Pedro (Trabuco Hills) 130-02; 3. Chronister (San Clemente) 126-04; 4. Gillis (San Clemente) 126-02; Tuavao (Canyon) 124-03


See archived 'Sports' stories »
 


Other Varsity coverage:
Inland Empire
Search Players


Football:

Santa Ana 14, Rancho Christian 52 - 01:01 4th QT - Completed

Football:

Calabasas 35, Capistrano Valley 14 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed

Football:

St. John Bosco 21, Mater Dei 14 - 00:33 2nd QT - Completed

Football:

Edison 44, La Mirada 24 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed

Football:

Burbank 21, Yorba Linda 31 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed

Soccer:

El Modena 2, Orange Lutheran 2 - 45:00 2nd Half - Completed

Basketball:

Eisenhower 28, Mater Dei 93 - 02:00 4th QT - Completed

Basketball:

Santa Fe 65, Foothill 53 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed

Football:

Valencia/Valencia 35, San Clemente 41 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed

Football:

El Modena 21, Yorba Linda 28 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed