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Track: Eagles split track titles with Wildcats

May 03, 2001|By JON HINSHAW, Sports Writer

It always seems the last day of the season is the most exciting for Imperial Valley track and field fans, and Wednesday's meet in El Centro between Southwest and Brawley Union high schools didn't stray off course.

On the girls' side both squads came in with 4-0 records with the Imperial Valley League crown on the line. For the boys, it was a chance for Southwest to claim a piece of the IVL crown by downing undefeated Brawley.

The Southwest girls' squad won a nail-biter by clinching a 65-62 victory in the meet's final event, the 1,600-meter relay. The Wildcats didn't go away empty-handed, however, as their boys completed their perfect season and grabbed a league title with a 71-53 win.

"Our No. 1 thing was that the guys needed to win for a piece of the championship," said Southwest coach Mike Becker. "That didn't happen, but it was nice that our girls went in undefeated and controlled their own destiny. At the beginning of the year we looked at the schedule and we thought it would come down to the final meet."

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Erika Holmes led the Southwest squad with four victories. Holmes won the 100 (13.34 seconds), 200 (26.9) and the long jump (14 feet, 11 inches). Holmes teamed with Jackie Gomez, Stephanie Conant and Monica Gamboa for a victory in the 400 relay in 52.3.

Gamboa won the 400 (1:03) and teamed with Tasha Ernest, Erika Talley and Denisse Moreno to win the 1,600 relay (4:20). The relay, in which the Eagles bested Brawley by 16 seconds, proved to be the deciding factor on the girls' side.

"I knew that if we were up by just a point or two or if we were down that the 1,600 relay would hurt us," Wildcat coach Don Biagi said. "We knew Southwest was faster than we were. I thought our team overall was ready to go, but a couple mental lapses and it turned into a hard lesson in life."

Jennifer Black contributed a win for Southwest in the 300 hurdles (50.05).

Brawley was led by Marquita Travis and Silvia Mendez with three wins each. Travis took the 100 hurdles (16.26), the high jump (4-10) and triple jump (33-11.5). Mendez won the 800 (2:30), 1,600 (5:42.7) and 3,200 (12:32). The Wildcats other two victories were in the discus with a toss of 104-3 and the shot put at 36-2, both by Cynthia Flores.

As the Eagle girls celebrated their fine season, the Wildcat girls still helped their male cohorts celebrate theirs.

Southwest's boys won more events but Brawley captured 18 of a possible 28 second and third places. Raul Cobian, Daniel Hernandez and Richard Encinas all claimed two victories to lead the Wildcats.

Cobian used his long stride to win both the 800 (2:06) and 1,600 (4:44), while Encinas captured the 110 hurdles (15.47) and teamed with Richard Santana, Marcus Torres and Daniel Hernandez to win the 1,600 relay (3:40). Hernandez helped capture the 400 relay with Marcos Torres, Bobby Myers and Marcellus Edwards in 45.65.

Brawley also got wins from Mark Martinez's shot put of 45-2.25 and Branden Wellcome's throw of 141-4 in the discus. Martinez's win in the shot put led a sweep for the Wildcats in that event and Wellcome's win was followed by teammate Jose Gutierrez's throw of 129.

"They really rallied around each other," Biagi said of his boys squad. "The shot put and discus were a close bunch on our end and those guys earned a lot of respect throughout the year. The points in every meet they provided led us all year and it provided us with great leadership on the team."

Jose Luis Salazar led the Eagles (3-2 IVL) with three victories and Terrance Johnson added two. Salazar captured the triple jump (39-10), the long jump (19-4) and the 300 hurdles (44.12). Johnson took the 100 (11.11) and 200 (23.06).

Southwest's other three victories came from Alberto Merancio in the high jump (5-2), Justin McCullough in the 400 (51.9) and Sal Acevedo in the 3,200 (10:37).

Both teams next compete in the IVL finals at 3:15 p.m. May 10 in Brawley.

Imperial at Calvin Christian

ESCONDIDO — The Imperial High School girls track team took second and the Imperial boys were third in a meet here Wednesday.

The girls finished with 94 points, second to Calvin Christian's 107. Calvin Christian also won the boys meet with 107, Bishop's was second with 83 and Imperial third with 76.

Melissa Gaston won for Imperial in the 400 (68.6) and Reina Velarde won the discus (84-4).

Gabriel Ibarra led the Imperial boys, winning the 110 hurdles (16.3) and the 300 hurdles (44.0). Mike Rodriguez won the 800 (2:15.7) for the Tigers.

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