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BILL ALKOFER, , BILL ALKOFER, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Los Alamitos' Sara Limp, right, is part of a strong sprints contingent that could help the Griffins win their first CIF-SS title in track and field.

Los Al, Santa Margarita lead charge into CIF-SS Finals

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Last month, the Los Alamitos girls track and field team won the Orange County Championships for the first time in school history.

The Griffins will be seeking another first today - their first CIF-SS team title.

Los Alamitos, which has set school records this year in every event with the exception of the hurdles, is among the favorites to win the Division 1 title at Cerritos College.

“I know we are one of the favorites to win CIF, but at the same time, we still have to perform,” Coach Nathan Howard said. “It’s easy to say that (we’re a contender), but the hard part is performing the way we have been the last few weeks.”

The Griffins’ 400-meter relay team of Ashley Willingham, Anijah Green, Kenna Limp and Sara Limp ranks ninth in the state this year, and Los Alamitos’ 1,600 relay team is eighth on the state leaderboard.

Great Oak, led by distance standout Destiny Collins (second in the state in the 1,600 and 3,200), is seen by many as the team to beat today.

Led by senior Kaitlyn Merritt, Santa Margarita’s well-rounded roster has the Eagles in position to contend for the Division 3 title. Merritt will be seeking her fourth CIF-SS title in the pole vault.

On the boys side, sprinters Gabe Warner, Scott Patton and Alex Young will try to lead Woodbridge to the Division 2 crown. The Warriors’ 400 relay, which includes Nehemiah Nash, is sixth on the state leaderboard.

In the boys pole vault, Marina’s Jett Gordon (Division 2) and Trabuco Hills’ Chris Doerr (Division 1) are among the top contenders to win their division.

The competitors today will also be trying to qualify for next week’s Masters meet, which is the qualifier for the CIF State meet on June 5-6 in Clovis.

“It takes a state-qualifying time to get into the Master’s meet,” said Howard, noting the quality and size of the Southern Section.

Orange County possesses the state’s top boys and girls milers. Brea Olinda’s Austin Tamagno ran a lifetime-best 4:04.59 at the Azusa Distance Meet of Champions. The junior could challenge the CIF-SS record in the 1,600 (4:00.83), set by Jantzen Oshier of Trabuco Hills in 2011.

For the girls, Tesoro’s Amanda Gehrich holds the top spot in the 1,600.


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