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Rische outlasts Merritt to repeat at CIF-SS Masters Meet
NORWALK - In their final competition before the state meet, Foothill senior Victoria Rische and Santa Margarita freshman Kaitlyn Merritt provided a tantalizing glimpse of what could be one the best competitions at next week's state finals.
Rische cleared a lifetime best 12-11 in a jump-off to win her second consecutive pole vault title at the CIF-SS Masters Meet on Friday at Cerritos College.
“This is something I’ve have been working for all season,” Rische said.
Rische, runner-up at last year’s state final, and Merritt, the freshman national all-time record holder and No. 2 in county history, traded impressive clearances before each failed to clear 13-2.
Rische won on a successful first attempt make at 12-11 in the jump-off and moved into fifth place on the county’s all-time list.
“I got to do the jump-off with Kaitlyn and I really enjoy competing with her,” Rische said.
Merritt was credited with a clearance of second place at 12-8.
“I’m excited to be a part of the state meet in my first year,” Merritt said.
Mater Dei senior Sara Greene and Edison senior Karen Snapper also advanced to the state meet.
Marina senior Laura Hollander will enter the 3,200 state final on the heels of another strong effort. She battled Simi Valley standout sophomore Sarah Baxter nearly stride for stride through the early portion of the race, eventually finishing second in a time of 10:17.28.
“I wanted to come out with a good time,” Hollander said. “The race felt a little harder than I was expecting it to, and I hope next week to throw all my marbles into having the best race of my season.”
Newport Harbor junior Paige Tennison (10:31.15) and Aliso Niguel senior Danica Wyson (10:39.99) also advanced to the state meet with lifetime-best times.
Mater Dei senior Kara Caskey will be the lone county representative in the discus, as she uncorked a throw 138-8 to finish second in the competition.
“My goal was to relax and have confidence in myself to throw that far,” Caskey said.
In the 800, San Juan Hills senior Chelsea Kruthers produced a lifetime best 2:10.41 to place third and earn an automatic spot in the state meet.
“I wanted to make sure I was close to where Amy Weissenbach and Savannah Camacho were and finish in the top three,” Kruthers said.
Irvine junior Sheba Terry qualified for the state meet in the 300 hurdles, running to a fourth-place finish in a lifetime best of 43.24.
“I really had to push it and was so glad that I was able to PR,” Terry said. “This is a really big accomplishment for me.”
Woodbridge senior Molly Babcock had the county’s top time in the 1,600, clocking a lifetime best 4:52.99 to finish sixth. Northwood sophomore Bethan Knights (4:58.14) and Marina junior Kylie Nishisaka (4:58.66) also qualified for the state meet.
Dana Hills junior Brenna Barker advanced in the triple jump, finishing third with a mark of 38-5½, while Orange Lutheran sophomore Taylor Saline qualified in the high jump with a clearance of 5-5.