At age 13, Kara Smith may be the youngest competitor ever to compete at the CIF State Track and Field Championships this week in Clovis. The Franklin High School freshman turned in one of the gutsiest performances of the Sac-Jaoquin Section’s Masters Track and Field Championships Friday night at Elk Grove High School to earn her that trip south.
About 50 meters from the finish of the girls’ 800 meter run, Smith found some extra energy to snake around three runners and finish in third place in the event.
|Franklin freshman Kara Smith
“I was a bit nervous at the start so when I started I just thought I might as well go ahead and try,” Smith said. Try she did running the 800 meters in 2:15.64.
That was good enough for Smith to qualify for a trip this week to Buchanan High School, site of the State Track Meet, which will get underway June. 5.
She’ll turn 14 in September, so next year she’ll once again be one of the youngest members of the Wildcat track team.
“I’m really excited I have made it this far,” Smith said.
The top individual performance of local athletes in the finals of the Section Masters meet, though, came from Cosumnes Oaks senior Natsumi Mcgee. She won the 200 meter dash, finished second to Pleasant Grove sophomore Rae’vyn Lawler in the 100 meters and was a part of the Wolfpack’s 4x100 meter relay team that placed third plus the 4x400 meter squad that took third.
That means she’ll be competing in four events when she arrives in Clovis this week.
Mcgee said the 200 meters was her best event and it showed by running the race in 24.90 seconds. Lawler’s time was 25.10 seconds.
|Mcgee crosses the finish line of the 200 meters
“I was feeling really good tonight,” Mcgee said. “I’m glad I qualified for state. That was my only goal.”
The 4x100 relay squad of Mcgee, Evy Banales, Imani Parker and Mishaye Venerable took the bronze medal with a run of 48.15 seconds.
Lawler, whose mother, Gaylon Ndia, was a track star several years ago at Burbank, was impressive in winning the 100 meters in 12.08 seconds. That wasn’t her fastest this year. She has cracked the 12-second mark on a couple occasions.
“I feel like I am getting stronger and I am so excited because this is my first year of running,” Lawler said.
She said she wasn’t much into track until she began watch Allison Felix videos.
“I watch her videos every time before I run, “ Lawler said. Felix won two gold medals and two silver medals in the 2012 Olympics.
Lawler thinks running in the state meet will be a real challenge.
|Lawler noses out Mcgee to win the 100 meters
“Even if I come in last place, it will be an honor to be there,” she said. “I am actually the first girl from Pleasant Grove to go to state.”
Equally as impressive on Friday were several members of Sheldon’s track team. Huskies’ 110-meter hurdler Jonathan Perry ran a personal best of 14.40 seconds to finish second and earn himself a trip to Clovis.
He was all grins afterwards.
“It was a really good race and I was lucky to be that close,” Perry said. “I sat a new personal record, represented my school and God.”
His Sheldon teammate Marcus Beloney was equally impressive in the boys’ 400 meters. He finished just behind Myles Ellis of Antelope. Beloney’s time was 47.68 seconds.
Oregon-bound 400-meter runner Cameron Stone, also from Sheldon, had to sit out much of the track post-season with a bad hamstring pull.
Beloney was a part of the winning 4x100 relay team from Sheldon. The others were Stephon Rhodes, Elias Brown and Erick Spivey. They spun the 400-meter track in a time of 41.91 seconds.
Pleasant Grove will send their 4x100 meter relay squad to State led by Lawler, along with Tori Davis, Ele Avery and Mia Daniels. They took gold at the Masters with their time of 47.72 seconds.
But, the one single performance that literally had the fans on their feet was the 3200-meter run by Davis’ Fione O’Keefe. From the gun she was well in front of the crowd. By the seventh lap of the eight-lap event, O’Keefe was lapping slower runners.
She sprinted the final 100 meters to the tape to set a new Section Masters’ meet record of 10:00.85, five seconds faster than the previous record set in 2008 by Lauryne Chetelat, also from Davis. O’Keefe’s performance on Friday was the third-best 3200 meter run in the nation this season.
Franklin’s 4x400 meter relay team of Smith, along with Cecily Montanez, Amari Smith and Tatiana Jimenez took first place at the Masters with a time of 3:50.92.
The Wildcat boys’ 4x100 meter squad also took a second place medal in that event. Their time was 42.90 seconds. Members of that team were Donny Terry III, Ugo Dike, Jordan Tillis and Jordan Booth.
In the field events Monterey Trail’s Amber Cook placed first at the Masters with a leap of 38 feet, 1.75 inches. Second was Amada Brooks of Franklin. Those two will go to State.
Franklin’s Phillip Fayne was second in the high jump with a leap of six feet, nine inches to qualify for Clovis.
Cosumnes Oaks’ long jumper Mishaye Venerable, who placed 11th last year at the State meet, once again qualified with a best leap of 18 feet, four-and-a-half inches.